So many people are trying to start using video more in their business and marketing. They’re right to do it, too. Video is the fastest growing medium for marketing right now, and it’s not likely to slow down any time soon. So here’s what I tell people who are looking to get started in video production.
Watch the video for this article on YouTube.
I’m going to say something bold and possibly unexpected, but just hear me out, ok? What you need to get started in creating videos isn’t gear.
You need to start training your eyes to see like a video producer.
Look around right now. Do you see anything worth making a video about? No? Creatives are always seeing more in their surroundings. So video creators are going to see more than others.
Being a video creator is like being a great chef. Great chefs understand the basics of food and they are always thinking about how to combine ingredients and techniques to make something new or better. They just see things differently.
Like video creators, it’s not because they have magic eyes or super-human powers. They’ve actually trained themselves to look for certain things. The aren’t just using their eyes to keep from bumping into things. They use their eyes to see potential.
Video Ingredients – Potential
I once read an interview with the music artist Bjork. If you’ve ever listened to her music or seen one of her videos, you understand that, whether you like her music or not, she is incredibly creative.
In the interview, she said something like
Anyone who can’t walk into any library, open any book, point to any word in the book and write a song about it is a coward. – Bjork
I was challenged. She saw potential for songs everywhere and relentlessly (and bravely) plunged ahead.
If you want to get started in video production, you can do yourself a lot of favors by challenging yourself like that. Look around again. Pick one thing you can see and imagine a video telling its story.
I’m currently looking at a set of earbuds. I can think of the life of those earbuds. Starting out brand new, still in the store, waiting to be bought. Then being purchased and used. I can think of ways to instill the excitement of being freed from the packaging and hearing music for the first time.
The life of a set of earbuds in my home involves lots of time in pockets, some great tunes, some hard conversations. Eventually, earbuds get lost or broken. and their story ends.
Even while I was writing this, I was thinking of shot lists, plot-lines, tension and release, lighting, music, perspectives, and color.
That’s what video people do. They mix the ingredients to capture attention, provoke engagement, and tell stories.
If you weren’t doing that, it’s totally fine. It just means you need practice with the ingredients.
Video Ingredient – Perspective
There’s a memorable line from the animated movie Ratatouille. In it, food critic Anton Ego says something important about his work.
Mustafa: Do you know what you would like this evening, sir?
Ego: Yes, I think I do. After hearing a lot of over-heated puffery about your new cook, do you know what I’m craving? A little… perspective. That’s it. I’d like some fresh, clear, well-seasoned perspective. Can you suggest a good wine to go with that?
Perspective is a funny word. It means representing something accurately, like drawing two-dimensional objects from a specific place, but also it means giving your personal view of something.
What I’m talking about is the latter. How you see things is unique to you. When you add that to video production, it gives you an amazing tool. Your unique perspective will constantly inform your work.
Perspective also gives you something else because you can always change your perspective. If something isn’t interesting, all you really have to do it look at it in another way. Get closer, move up or down, change the angle. Do whatever it takes to make your subject stand out.
Bonus tip: go to the camera, don’t bring the camera to you.
A lot of people see something interesting, take out their phone and just start shooting. Using perspective means looking at life in new ways. So instead of bringing the phone up to your eyes, take your eyes up or down to where the phone is. Shoot from the hip, literally. Try looking at things from the ground up.
The point here is to change your perspective and find the best shot.
That’s how video producers train their eyes.
Video Ingredient – HSL Elements
Maybe you’ve played around with graphics software before and know what HSL is. If you haven’t, here’s a big help for learning new video ingredients. HSL stands for Hue, Saturation, and Luminance. Those are the most basic ingredients of video.
You can break everything we do down into a hue (how red, green, or blue it is), it’s saturation (how vibrant or muted the colors are), and its luminance (how light or dark it is). When you start playing with HSL you’ll learn how each of these ingredients effects visuals.
Some videos use bright colors to imply life and energy. Some videos use muted colors and shadows to create a more ominous feel. As a video creator, you get to decide what you want and how to get it into the camera.
It really is that simple. And, at the same time, it really is that complicated. But it doesn’t have to be that hard. Deciding what you want to do in your videos is the harder part of the work. Getting it ready to view is actually the easier part. That’s why video producers always make more than videographers.
I hope this has been helpful. My next post on How to Get Started in Video will dive into how to capture images and make all the technology work for you.