My video shooting secrets revealed

My friend Craig Hadden over at RemotePossibilities (lots of 'i's in possibilities, aren't there??) asked about how I shoot my videos. Instead of just replying in the comments where not many people would see it, I've decided to reveal my secrets here. I've learned a lot about videos over the last 4 years and I'm still learning so I'm happy to share some things that work for me. The following will also work for anyone else but you do need to play around and find what works best for you, especially when it comes to style.

Anyway, here's my reply to Craig...

Scripts & Transcribing

Yes, I script everything beforehand. I found that when I used to do it without a script, the entire process was unorganised. Although I knew what I wanted to say and had that prepared, it wasn't as polished.

I used to have the videos transcribed afterwards, but found that unreliable and way more time consuming. So I went to writing everything out beforehand.

And when I say everything, I mean everything. None of what's been said in my videos from the last several months hasn't been scripted.

Teleprompter or Autocue, as they say in the Queen's English

I've used my iPhone as an autocue, or teleprompter as we North Americans call it, and I've also tried some of the DIY autocue devices. The recent James Bond video was shot using my iPad placed under my camera on a tripod as the autocue and a CD case placed at a 45 degree angle over my camera lens.

I then covered my camera with black card to block out light that would reflect and make it difficult to see the iPad's reflection in the CD case. Then I turned on my teleprompter app, started the camera, waited for it to focus, and away I went. You can search online for DIY teleprompters. I used the following as inspiration for my setup:

Cheap and Easy Teleprompter for Videobloggers

FilmTaped : 5 Dollar Portable Teleprompter

Getting the Two Camera Effect

Most times, I will shoot the video twice; once from further away and once up close. Then I edit them together to create the two camera effect. I could only do this with a script. It's also the technique used by the TV and movie pros, as they always shoot the same scenes multiple times. For the Bond video, I only shot the video once. Luckily, my camcorder shoots in high quality HD so it's easy to zoom in during editing without losing any picture quality.

Video Pacing & Colour Correction

I actually cut out parts where I've taken super-long breaths just to keep the pace of the video somewhat high. I've done some basic colour correction to give the videos a nicer look, rather than just using the video straight from the camera. Just doing simple colour correction will help make videos look immensely better.

Sound

Sound is critical. Most important, in fact. I always record my audio separately to get the best sound. My camcorder (an old Canon HF10) doesn't have great audio input hardware. Even connecting a mic directly to the camcorder doesn't work well. So I use a Zoom H1 and connect an Edutige ETM-006 lavaliere/lapel mic to it. I've also used my iPhone and an Edutige EIM-003 with great success, too.

Background Music

All the background music in my videos recently have been made...by ME! I was tired of searching for music so decided to use GarageBand on my iPad to create the music, instead. I've loved the results and have so much fun making the music. It only takes about 10 minutes to make a piece and it's something unique and something I don't have to worry about copyright or anything.

Hope that helps! Can't wait to see your videos!