I’ve been running video training workshops for over 4 years now… and I’ve learnt a lot from giving them. My Mobile Video Made Easy workshops train everyone from journalists, communications teams and the self employed business person to the occasional video maker in the social media department how to make good quality videos on their smartphone.
What I’ve learnt is that often, people make the video production process very hard on themselves, so they end up losing a lot of time, and a lot of confidence, while gaining a lot of frustration.
So, I came up with these three mottos, or pieces of advice, gleaned from my years of tight deadlines, especially in television news, but also in live radio production.
- KEEP IT SIMPLE. This is a really important thing to remember for the absolute beginner, but also for those in a bit of a hurry managing their busy lives, who want to make a video quickly. Keeping it simple means (a) saying one message, (2) a few scenes only and (3) not trying too hard, or making it too complicated. In the early days of my workshops, I remember doing training in Galway, with someone who had a drama background; he decided (I hadn’t developed this advice then!) he wanted to make a video with a number of action scenes, from different angles, and with a long script. This was not only going to take forever, but was going to take up a lot of memory and battery on the phone – in other words, too complicated. So keeping it simple is essential on a number of fronts – the main one being that you gain confidence more easily if you start with a simple video, and use my tried-and-tested Four Shot Formula.
- WORK WITH WHAT YOU HAVE. So the day is dark, the room is noisy and the background is not great. What do you do – wait until the sun comes out? ask everyone to leave the room? and find a different venue? Maybe… I always say to people doing short videos of events: work with what you have i.e. don’t seek perfection, but make the best of what you have. So get some daylight light into the shot, (you might be waiting quite a while for sunshine in the winter…) and ask your interviewee to move to the best spot you can find; do ask the people there to be quieter OR go to the quietest part of the room. Life is never going to be perfect, really. But getting equipment such as a clip on mic makes a huge difference to the sound, and working with what you have is the way to go. If you wait for the perfect conditions, you might never make that video and the moment will be lost.
- CUT YOUR LOSSES. This is a great phrase an Editor I worked with used all the time – especially around 5.40pm for the Six One News on TV… when she called to ask what progress was being made on the lead story for the Six One. In other words, get the hell out of that edit suite and get the story on air. Missing a slot, or a deadline, is not something you want to be known for. I find that often clients take a lot of time recording way too much material and spend ages choosing which shot to use, when they don’t need to. So cut your losses means give yourself a deadline, a cut off point for finishing the edit and getting it to your audience, whether it’s a small one or a giant one.
- FINALLY. Just do it, Get out there and remember- the four P’s: Prepare. Plan. Produce. Practice.
AILEEN’S NEW ONLINE COURSE – MOBILE VIDEO MADE EASY – is going online on November 19th – with a special offer now open – CLICK HERE to find out more.