From Clueless to Content Creator: Make Engaging Videos That Attract An Audience | Aaron Palabyab | Skillshare

From Clueless to Content Creator: Make Engaging Videos That Attract An Audience

Aaron Palabyab, Filmmaker and Photographer

From Clueless to Content Creator: Make Engaging Videos That Attract An Audience

Aaron Palabyab, Filmmaker and Photographer

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15 Lessons (50m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:30
    • 2. Class Orientation

      1:56
    • 3. The One Thing Your Content Needs

      1:54
    • 4. Identifying Your Value Proposition

      3:44
    • 5. Your Secret Sauce: Point of View

      4:43
    • 6. Fundamental Video Skills Overview

      1:50
    • 7. Gear & Tools: What You ACTUALLY Need

      7:01
    • 8. Planning and Pre-Production

      1:56
    • 9. Script Structure for Better Engagement

      4:16
    • 10. Top Tips For Shooting High-Quality Video

      5:16
    • 11. Secrets to Being Great On Camera

      3:51
    • 12. Top Tips For a Better Edit

      4:12
    • 13. Sharing Your Video and Building an Audience

      3:57
    • 14. Success as a Creator and Why You Don't Need a Huge Audience

      2:57
    • 15. Conclusion

      1:01
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About This Class

In this course, you’ll learn the most essential knowledge and skills to start making great videos of any type that can attract an audience--regardless of your filmmaking gear and experience. 

In over a decade as a professional filmmaker, I’ve obsessed over what makes for great filmmaking and content. Through analyzing great videos along with creating videos professionally for clients and for Youtube, I’ve been able to identify a handful of key elements that make for truly engaging content. These elements can be applied to any niche with any level of skill and experience to make better, more engaging videos.

This course is especially for creatives and hobbyists who want to be able to tell their stories on video more effectively with the aim of providing value and building a community around their work. Whether you want to make better vlogs, cinematic videos, reviews, tutorials, explainers, documentaries, or most any kind of video content and carve out your space in today’s competitive landscape, this course is for you.

In this, course, we’ll go over:

THE QUALITIES OF GREAT VIDEOS

  • The single crucial element every successful video needs to have
  • Identifying the value you want to bring--and why that is crucial
  • Why having a point of view is far more important than production value
  • What skills to work on and dive deeper into
  • Gear and tools - what you ACTUALLY need to invest in
  • Case studies in each lesson to illustrate the principles being discussed

PRE-PRODUCTION

  • Effective planning and pre-production and the impact it can have on your content
  • Practical video script structure for maximum engagement

PRODUCTION AND POST-PRODUCTION

  • Tips for shooting high-quality video
  • Tips for being great on camera
  • Top tips for a better edit
  • How to share your video and eventually build an audience
  • Success as a creator and why building a huge audience isn’t necessary

Video creators at any level can benefit from this course, whether you’re just starting out or have experience but need refocus on what really matters.

If you'd like to connect with me, feel free to reach out here:  InstagramYoutubeTwitter, Facebook, Tiktok

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Meet Your Teacher

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Aaron Palabyab

Filmmaker and Photographer

Teacher

I'm a filmmaker and a photographer specializing in travel-oriented content. I also work as a cameraman/videographer around the Philippines and the world.

Originally trained and working in film and commercial production, I worked as a director before branching out into new directions as my travels took me around the world beginning 2014. Since then, the work I've produced from travel and expanding my practice have brought multiple international awards and recognition for both my photography and film work.

Currently, I'm focused on developing content for my YouTube channel and pursuing freelance directing and camera work.

Alongside my own professional and personal work, I'm also pursuing an internat... See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Introduction: Have you been wanting to get into video content but been intimidated by the whole thing? How do you even get started much less stand out? I'm here to help. My name is Aaron Palabyab, and I've been a filmmaker for well over 10 years, starting off in indie films, then directing TV commercials, and now doing my own content on YouTube. Through analyzing what makes great content and insights gained from making both YouTube and client videos professionally, I've been able to identify a handful of essential elements that make for great watchable content. In this course, you'll learn principles and techniques that you can immediately apply to your content no matter your level of experience or the gear you own. We'll begin with figuring out what unique value you can bring to your audience which is the key to everything. Then we'll talk about what skills and tools you'll actually need to achieve your goals, so you can dive deeper into them as you like and only spend time and money on what you actually need. Next, we'll go over useful production tips from my experience as a professional to improve the quality of your content. Finally, we'll discuss ideas for how to increase your chances of being seen by your target audience and ultimately what success as a creator means. This course is designed to be full of practical and widely applicable knowledge to help you get ready and eager to share your gifts with the world through video, and my hope is that it'll get you excited to make more and better videos and have fun in the process. Sound good? I'll see you in the course. 2. Class Orientation: Your class project will be to use what you've learned to make a short engaging piece of content for your target audience. I recommend the length of between two and eight minutes, or a set of videos, if you're doing Tiktok style content. You can use the following prompts to start in your video, or if you feel up to it, make any video you want. Travel vlog, take us to a place you love. You can go somewhere epic, but it can be as simple as your favorite park or a cafe. Let us experience through your eyes what you love about it, sights, sounds, smells, everything. Day in the Life vlog. Show us what a day on your job or imagine things at home is like. Think about focusing on things that might be unique about your day-to-day or on your way of using your skills and experience to solve a common problem. Review. Tell us what you love about a favorite product or gadget you use every day. How-to/tutorial. Show us how to do something you're really good at. Process. If you're a creative, artist, or craftsperson, document and share the process of creating your work. Montage. Show us the beauty of something, a place, a process, a work of art, anything using beautiful shots and music that create a distinct mood. You could use whatever gear and software or apps you have available to you right now and don't be afraid to make mistakes. It's crucial not to overthink this or be held back by perfectionism. You will naturally get better with every video, and that's a promise. To guide you through this process step-by-step, I've included worksheets with recaps of key concepts and relevant deliverables so you can focus on one aspect of your work at a time and build up to making a great video. Don't forget to share your work so I can give you helpful feedback, and this will also encourage your fellow students at your level to share their work. I'm excited to see what you can do, so with that, let's move on to the first most important lesson. 3. The One Thing Your Content Needs: A good piece of content fundamentally needs one, and only one thing. Fortunately, it's something that anyone at any at any level of experience, at any budget can provide with some thought and work put into it. That one thing is value. Just like anything competing for people's time and attention, your content from the level of individual videos to your entire channel or page, needs to have a unique value proposition. Whether it's education, entertainment, or inspiration, your content needs to provide a specific benefit for a specific person that needs it. This value can be as simple as five seconds of entertainment, your cat doing something adorable, or it can extend to hours on a deep interview. The key is to know even before you roll the camera, what the value is that you want to create, and for whom, and then build your channel or personal brand around communicating that value. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience. What would make you click on a video, watch it to the end, and subscribe for more? You build an audience around your work by providing value consistently so that people keep coming back for more. Find the intersection between what you're passionate about, and something a group of people really want or need. Here's the good part. For many, if not most types of content, the camera you're using or software you're editing with, has little to nothing to do with delivering the value. Focus your energy on figuring out what that value is determined by some combination of your interests, knowledge, talent, and resources. In this lesson, we learned that value trumps all when it comes to good content. In the next lesson, we'll work on identifying yours. 4. Identifying Your Value Proposition: In the previous lesson, we learned that value is the fundamental quality of all good content. In this lesson, we're going to work on identifying ideas for your unique value proposition. You probably already have one and you just need to hone in on it to be more effective. Broadly speaking, I would say that content falls into one of three value categories; information, entertainment, and inspiration. The point here isn't to categorize for its own sake, but to narrow down the primary value of your content. Under information, we have a wide range of content like reviews, travel guides, tutorials, health and nutrition, news and analysis, etc. Entertainment is even broader; cat videos, most TikToks, daily vlogs, comedy, ASMR, even people eating and sleeping, anything that helps people pass the time, basically. I categorized under inspiration content that seeks to create a positive emotional impact and makes you feel good, from motivational and self-help to videos that showcase the beauty of nature, guided meditations, and the like. You've probably figured out by now that all great content has a combination of all of these three. You want a reviewer that's not just informative, but also engaging. You want tutorials not just to teach you something, but to inspire you to actually try it, and you want to travel vlogs that don't just inspire you to go somewhere, but also teaches you how to get there and what to expect. So where do you primarily fall within these three categories? Try to answer these following questions to help figure that out. I've included a worksheet with them so you can use it to flesh out your value proposition. Do you have a unique talent or an uncommon expertise or passion for something? That's usually the best place to start. You don't have to be an Olympic gold medalist to be special. The amazing thing about the internet today is that you can build an audience just by being very relatable and sincere. Are you a combination of things that we don't usually see? A pianist who races mountain bikes, a flight attendant that plays the cello, a dad of two boys who's great at cooking and comedy. My point is, you may not know it, but there could be something in the mix of your daily life that could be really interesting for other people. So don't think about being the best, think about being the only or one of the few. On that note, is there some aspect of your daily life that would be enlightening to share? If you live somewhere people have never heard of, have a job that isn't well-represented online, or just have a lot of insights or humor about problems that people deal with every day, then you have something worth sharing I bet. One great example I've come across is a popular YouTube video where a Russian couple from a small town just shows what their supermarket is like and they make fun of everything they see. You can also ask yourself, what is the content you've been looking for, but can't find? What if it's up to you to make it? As others have said before me, make the content you want to see, because chances are other people feel the same way. Use the worksheet now to come up with ideas for your main value proposition, then pick the one you like best and see yourself sticking with for awhile. Based on that, come up with ideas for your first five videos, five videos because if you chose well, you shouldn't run out of ideas and you should be excited to start making them. In this lesson, we worked on your content's main value proposition. In the next lesson, we're going to talk about why we need you to make your content and why your unique take on things actually really matters. 5. Your Secret Sauce: Point of View: We've established how essential it is to define what value you're offering with your content. But surprisingly, what you say is only half of the equation. Through watching many different kinds of content, mostly on YouTube, but also on Netflix, TikTok, and everywhere else, I've learned that this makes or breaks content. Point of view. But Aaron, you asked, "Didn't you say value was the one thing? How come there's a second one thing?" Well, I'd say that value is the minimum requirement. But nowadays, in virtually any niche, you won't be the only person making content about that. We need to double down on being and communicating ourselves, because while information can be copied, your personality is the one thing that nobody can do better than you. This is what I meant by not thinking about being the best, but thinking about being the only. Think about it. With virtually infinite options, why do you follow the creators you follow instead of all the others who do the same thing? Why is say, Johnny Harris' take on Russia, so much more engaging than that of the evening news? Why are CaseyNeistat's daily vlogs so watchable, but those of his copycats, not so much. Why do I only trust James Hoffmann to teach me about how to brew coffee? In every case, I would say that it's because of each creators distinct point of view. Not just what they say, but the places they go, they're shooting and editing style, their choice of t-shirt and typeface, basically everything that shows you how they see the world. Point of view in this specific definition is more than just your opinion. It's the lens through which you allow the audience to experience your world. We love the creators we love because we enjoy experiencing the world and their passion through their eyes. That's why we don't mind spending so much virtual time with them. That's also why shows like anything Burnt and Ugly Delicious on Netflix are so engaging because you just get a wide variety of expert and interesting points of view, along with the mouth-watering shots of food. Even if you're only looking for information, it's always more engaging to get it from someone with some personality. Because without a point of view, you may as well read a Wikipedia article. As a viewer, I want to spend my time with someone I like and trust, and people win me over by being sincere and of genuine help. You figured out the help part by defining your value proposition. Now, add your authentic voice conveyed not just with your words, but everything that people can see, hear, and feel in your content. In the worksheet for this lesson, we're going to dive into figuring out what makes your authentic voice and your unique point of view. Try to think about these things to start with. Your life story and how this has shaped your beliefs and interests. Think about how you got where you are today, and how that relates to your passion for your chosen topic. You don't necessarily need to tell your audience about all of this, but it'll help clarify your thinking about why you do what you do. This is why draw my life videos are so effective for so many creators, because knowing their story brings us closer to them and creates a feeling of trust and closeness. Your personality. It doesn't matter if you're bursting with energy like Peter McKinnon or you're just laid back and chill like MKBHD. As long as you do you and embrace that fully. It's not about trying to live up to some on-screen persona, but think about it as welcoming people to your world in an authentic and open way that allows them to connect with you. Now, I know there's a certain kind of person, because I am that person, who's afraid of injecting their personality in videos for fear of being judged or disliked. While this is totally understandable in the world we live in, it's also a bit misguided. Because by withholding your personality, you're taking away the one thing that makes your videos unlike anybody else's. One last important thing, be assured that this is a constantly evolving process. I had some very well-defined ideas written down from my channel identity, value proposition, and target audience that have now drastically changed because of things I've learned and feedback I've gotten over years of making content, and that's okay. You can pivot after trying something for some time and it really doesn't work. Don't be afraid to experiment, stay open, and have fun with it. We've covered the biggest most important questions to answer, to be able to make great content. Now, let's get down to brass tacks. What gear and skills do you actually need to make great content? On to the next lesson. 6. Fundamental Video Skills Overview: In this lesson, I'll go over some essential skills to get better at making video content. You'll be able to learn some of these naturally as you make your first videos and then dive deeper into each skill according to your needs as you continue to create. First is how to shoot video. You want to learn good composition and how to read and work with light. Learning basic camera settings will give you more control over your image. You also need the basics of good audio. Alongside those, what can really make a difference in your shooting process is learning how to shoot with the edit in mind. We'll go over that and all my other tips for shooting in Lesson 10. Next, if you plan to be in front of the camera, you need to work on your on-camera skills. Now I know some some make this look so easy and natural, but trust me, there's nothing that feels easy and natural about this at all. But anyone can get better with practice, and I'll give you some tips in Lesson 11. After shooting comes the editing. While a lot of people are afraid of this part, this is actually where so much of the magic happens. Think of shooting as going to the market to buy ingredients. You need to do it right to get a good result, but nothing's going to happen until you get in the kitchen. That is the editing. You want to learn how to cut a video that gets and holds attention. I'll give you my top tips for that in Lesson 12. Then, after all of that hard work, you need to make sure people actually see your video, so you need to learn the art and science of sharing your content to make sure it gets noticed. That's our topic in Lesson 13. That covers some of the most essential skills you need to make good content today. Have fun with this. Obsess over the aspects you like the most and learn as you go. In the next lesson, we're going to talk about everybody's favorite but overrated topic, gear. 7. Gear & Tools: What You ACTUALLY Need: Now I want to do a deep dive into a way to think about gear and other investments, so that they can enable us to deliver maximum value while not being a massive drain in our time, money, and other resources. To figure out what tools you really need, I invite you to consider the following. What kind of content are you making, and for whom? What return on investment can you expect? What are other things you might invest, not just money, but also time in to create more and better content. The truth is there is no best camera or any piece of gear for every single person. What gear you need is actually a function of your niche. For example, there are so many successful huge travel vloggers and daily vloggers here in the Philippines that continue to use just their smartphones and action cameras. The reason for that is that the main reason people watch them isn't for their raw production value. People watch them because of their personalities, their points of view, the interesting things that they do, and the places they go. Again, it boils down to knowing the value that your audience is seeking from you. In fact, these days, low production value and "amateur" editing, are even seen as markers of authenticity. Going basic can even really work for you. Another benefit of using a simple setup is it's usually light and conspicuous and easy to use, allowing you to shoot more content in more places with less effort. Besides, practically speaking, the vast majority of your audience are going to be watching it on their smartphones too. As much as I love shooting, making stuff in 4K, it's a very small percentage of my audience that actually enjoys it at that resolution. One important caveat here though is that shaky shots are really a no. They make even short videos hard to watch. If you are going to use a smartphone or action camera, it's good to use one just from the past few years because almost all of them have great stabilization. Some good examples that aren't even brand new would be the GoPro Hero7 Black, which still would be the GoPro I would recommend, and the iPhone 11. Now, of course, some types of content do call for higher production value and better cameras. Some of these include the photography and video niches, tech reviews, things related to visual art and aesthetics, and cinematic videos. Audiences here expect the higher level of quality, so your choice of camera and other gear does matter. You know where to start. Generally, I would recommend recent mirrorless cameras from Sony, which is what I use, Fuji, or Canon. It's also true that the amount of care you put into crafting your videos adds a level of credibility to your work. Better looking and sounding videos are more likely to have a wider appeal because, I believe, of the effort implied in their creation. But still, the difference between shooting on a decent mirrorless camera and a cinema camera costing 5-10 times as much, is really only marginal to the audience at the end. In contrast, investing time and effort in good scripting and thorough research delivers tremendous value to the audience without having to spend a cent. To illustrate my point, let's look at two very different but highly effective examples from the same niche. Let's talk coffee. On one hand, we have James Hoffmann on YouTube, and on the other we have Dan McLaughlin on TikTok. You can pause the video now to check out their work, then come back for my discussion about them. On the one hand, we have James Hoffmann who makes some of the most consistently good coffee content on YouTube. His videos have amazing sound and lighting, which compliments his deep dives into coffee science and reviews of some of the most premium coffee gear on the market. Clearly, he's using a great microphone, which really goes well with his soothing British accent. He's using fairly large lights and the quality, but affordable set of cinema cameras, although, he didn't start out that way. Taken altogether, everything here conveys class, authority, and dedication to the craft of making great coffee. But even so, I think that what makes his content so good, is his personality combined with the ungodly amount of work he puts in behind the scenes to test things and give us Expert Insights. It's just that the aesthetic quality of his videos is so high that many of his fans, judging by the comments, don't even drink coffee. This is what high production value married to high-value information and a distinct point of view can do. Now, we have Dan McLaughlin on TikTok. His mission is to take the elitism out of enjoying great coffee. Just as with James Hoffmann, the medium here is the message. His anti-elitism message calls for a low-tech, relatable style. All the content is quick to the point and very accessible, and it's all shot and edited right on the TikTok app. It's also content that I come back to over and over, just like with James Hoffmann, it's high value and engaging. The point I'm trying to make is that the value of your gear does not in any way directly translate to the value of your content. On that note, let's go to question number 2. How much money do you think you're going to make, if at all, from your content? Because if you're doing this for your business or to help your career, then you owe it to yourself to be practical in your investments. I would say that you should make the best content you can with either what you already have, or what you can reasonably afford, and then grow gradually from there because nothing will stop your creative energy faster than being in a hole of debt that you can't pay off. Furthermore, the truth is that most professional gear will not make your life easier, but rather adds layers of complication to your workflow. They're usually bigger, heavier, take time to set up, and are more complicated to use. There's fewer automatic features to save you from mistakes. There will be more stuff that can break and harder to find parts with your people that know how to fix them. High-resolution, more advanced cameras could multiply your need for hard drive space and computing power, many times over. Find the sweet spot of something good enough to get the results you want and gets you excited to shoot, without overburdening you with complexity and expense. The point is the solution is rarely, if ever, adding more or throwing money at it. I suggest focusing your resources on things that can amplify your content's value the most. Some examples. For informational videos, invest your time in research and writing solid scripts, and your money in say, books and courses to shore up your knowledge. For entertainment and inspirational content, constantly creating and refining video ideas and staying up to date with trends you can jump on, only requires investing time and effort. For travel vlogs, obviously, invest your money in trips, and your time on good editing. I hope I've helped open your mind that there's so many ways to use what you've got or spend very little to help increase the value of your content. If you eventually do well, then you can buy as many toys as you want. In this lesson's worksheet, I've included a handy flowchart to help you think about what to invest in depending on your niche. With that out of the way, let's start making a video. 8. Planning and Pre-Production: I know you're dying to jump in front of the camera and start rolling. But if you want to make really great content, it's worth the time to do some basic preparation. You don't always need a whole script or draw a storyboard like we do in professional production, but the more work you do before you roll the camera, the easier your job will be when you do. So what are the things we need to plan? Start, of course, with your video's main value proposition. This will keep you focused on what to invest the most time and effort in. If this is for YouTube, this early, already have solid ideas for a catchy title and thumbnail. This is crucial and we'll discuss why later. Next, a script, outline, or simple talking points. Plan how your video will flow from start to finish, both visuals and sound. The format I like to use is a two-column AV script, and I've included an example with this lesson. We'll talk about how to structure your scripts in the next lesson. A shot list. This is one of the most helpful things you can work on because it'll make you pre-visualize the whole video before you shoot. Think of it as a verbal storyboard, a written version of your final edit. This will ensure you have everything you need for your edit, as well as cut down on time shooting unnecessary shots. I've included an example for you to follow and adapt. If your shoot is going to be time-sensitive, you can take the shot list and convert it into a schedule. Trust me when I say that putting in the work to prepare makes shooting both more efficient and enjoyable, and you will thank yourself in the edit for getting everything you need and less of stuff you don't. As a bonus, you'll save brainpower on your shoot for more spontaneous ideas and to have fun with these. For your easy exercise in this lesson, just go back to the list of video ideas you prepared earlier and pick the one you want to work on first. In the next lesson, we're going to structure these into an outline or a script. 9. Script Structure for Better Engagement: You've probably experienced clicking on a video and clicking off just a few seconds later when it was clear that the creator was just going to ramble. Let's avoid this pitfall by making a proper script or outline. My advice is to think of your video as a gift to your target audience. Let them get what they want in a timely and enjoyable manner. Do that consistently and they'll just keep coming back for more. I suggest following something like this practical and simple script structure for better engagement. We start with the beginning. Tease or preview the main value of your video and drive curiosity to watch the rest. Some ideas. For a tutorial, tell them what they're going to learn. A travel vlog, tease some of the most gorgeous shots or a memorable moment or misadventure from the trip. A cinematic video usually starts with a stunning montage or something that really sets the mood. For a review, hint at your main impressions of the product and or at the burning questions you're going to answer about it. For humor, just setup wherever the joke is right away, don't waste time. For all of these, bonus points if you're able to do the Hollywood thing of setting up something at the start in a not so obvious way and then giving it a really cool or funny or surprising payoff at the end. Now, should you have an intro? It depends, just make sure you're not driving people away with a long pointless intro. I'd suggest to keep it short and centered on your value proposition, introduce yourself and why the audience should trust you. What I like to do for my motor vlogs, for example, is to integrate my intro logo and theme music into a teaser trailer for the rest of the video. My intro is different every time, but the branding and vibe is always the same. Which brings us to the middle. Basically get to the point, deliver the value you promised in as engaging and complete a way as you can, simple as that. Keep it meaty and interesting throughout. Ensure this by working on your script or outline and revising it until it's both as informative and tight as you can make it. My approach is to just generally write everything I have to say during a big old brain dump and then revise repeatedly until I've cut out all of the fat. In film school they taught us to "kill your little darlings." So don't get too attached to anything you write or even shoot, so that you can only leave in the best bits that really deliver the goods. Your audience and engagement stats will thank you for it. Then the end. Round things out in a satisfying way. If you set something up, pay it off now, make sure you fully delivered on what you promised. If you've done your job with the middle, this is your chance to make a lasting impression that will leave the audience both satisfied and hungry for more. For tutorials, you can recap the key lessons and show impressive examples of what results people can achieve with what you've taught. For review, give a clear final opinion and recommendations to the audience and tell them who the product is really for and whether they should buy it. A great way to end travel vlog is with a beautiful shot or montage at the end of the day or the trip that sums up the feel of the experience along with your final impressions of the place and information on how others can visit. If you've done something emotional, give the audience time to recover and gently send them off. For motivational videos, a powerful quotable parting shot to send the audience on their way is great. If you're doing a series of videos, you can tease the upcoming episodes to make sure that people come back for more. This is also a good place to ask your audience for their questions, reactions and feedback, and the usual calls to action like, like and subscribe, follow you on social media and how to find out more about the topic you just talked about. Remember if you got them to watch until the end of the video, you have a greater chance of them sticking around, so why not ask them to? Bonus tip. If your video is structured well, it'll be easy to divide into chapters in your YouTube description box. This is another way to add value for your audience and shows you respect their time. I really appreciate this when videos go over 10 minutes. In this lesson, we learned the way to structure our video in a way that maximizes engagement. Now for your exercise, it's time to make your outline script and shot list. Once you're ready, come back and in the next lesson, we're going to shoot some video. 10. Top Tips For Shooting High-Quality Video: In this lesson, I'll give you my top practical pro tips for shooting good video. Number one, shoot with the edit in mind. Constantly visualize how and where each shot is going to be used in the edit. Imagine how one shot flows into the next, and the beginning, middle, and end of every segment. This is how creators like Jesse Driftwood have such amazingly seamless edits. Frame rate. You can choose whatever looks best to you. Personally, I'd advise shooting and editing in HD at 24 or 30 frames per second, or 25 if you live in Europe, for your talking heads. Then you can shoot 60 frames per second for your B-roll. This gives you the option to use slow motion to make your B-roll more stable or stylish or to prolong moments that need emphasis in the edit. Shooting talking heads. For composition, leave ample head room. Use a tripod to keep the camera stable and your hands free. Try to position the lens square to your body, not looking up or down. Aline the camera just below eye level and position yourself either in the center or about a third to the side of the frame. Don't be too close to a wall behind you as this makes the shot look flat, and you want to avoid having a black flat background. Give depth to a shot by creating separation between you and your background and you can also do this with lighting. You can shoot in 4K to give you room to crop and recomposing the edit without losing any quality when you edit in HD, this effectively gives you a two-camera setup. Focal length. I'd go for a focal length of about 50-85 millimeters full-frame equivalent. That's medium telephoto, and it gives faces a realistic flattering appearance, shoot too wide and you have to get close to frame half body and this creates unflattering distortion on the face. The camera will be a little far from you at this focal length, so it's best to use an external microphone and maybe an external recorder, which could be your phone. Shooting good B-roll. Avoid shaky and out-of-focus shots. Use a tripod or other stabilizer to keep the camera steady or at least tuck your elbows in like this. If you have a smartphone or touchscreen LCD, you can tap on the subject to make sure it's in-focus and exposed properly. Make sure every shot has a clear in-focus subject for a sufficient amount of time, because each piece of B-roll is meant to illustrate a specific point. Shoot a few seconds of heads and tails to give space to cut in the edit. It's also good to be deliberate about choosing whether to shoot static or moving shots, and wides, mediums, or close-ups depending on their purpose and pay attention that all the shots can flow together. Easy pro lighting tips. Don't shoot with the light directly behind you, it makes it very hard to balance the exposure. Of course, don't shoot in a place that's too dark. Generally, the light looks best when it's about 45 degrees above and to the side of your face to give a good contour, that's called Rembrandt lighting. It's almost always better to use soft diffused light than hard direct light unless you're trying to do something really dramatic for cinematic purposes. Another reason it's good to shoot away from a wall behind you, is so that your key light doesn't spill onto the background, making your shot look flat and creating distracting shadows. Use window light. As you can see, you don't always need a studio, using a large window with some diffusion can really look a lot better than small budget lighting setups. I mainly use the light from my bedroom window over here, and while it's not as consistent and limits my shooting time compared to a studio, I think it looks way better than the standard basement studio look at zero cost. Open shade is also a great choice, especially when you're on location. Shoot at golden hour. If you're outdoors, shoot when the light looks best in the morning or in the afternoon. Avoid shooting with the sun directly overhead when the light is harsh and casts ugly shadows under the nose. Record good audio. This is just as if not more important than making your video look good. If you don't have an external microphone yet, then project well and try to stay relatively close to the camera, but I really suggest you get one because it's going to make a huge impact at relatively low cost. An inexpensive Lavalier mic like this sounds much better than your on-camera mic and allows you to compose shots freely. Pick a place that's not just quiet, but has minimal reverb, although a lot of times most rooms will require some level of treatment. Monitor your audio at least during setup and make sure to do a sound check. After your first take, make sure to listen to your audio to make sure it's good before shooting the rest of your video. You can use an external recorder for even higher quality and more flexibility. Set your levels manually and try to hit between minus 12 and minus 6 on the meters during your sound check. Then some editing apps will allow you to sync your audio and your video with a single click. Backup your footage, please. At the end of the day, it's good to backup your video somewhere, even if you plan to edit on your phone. You don't want some accident or technical glitch to waste an entire day's work, especially on a professional job. These tips should help you get started in shooting better video. In the next lesson, we'll talk about how to start getting more comfortable on camera. 11. Secrets to Being Great On Camera: In this lesson, we'll go over some tips to help you get better on camera. Number one is that it's really all about practice. You just have to get used to it. I think most of us are really self-conscious, and we have in our minds this imaginary audience that we're really afraid is judging how we look and sound. But really, anyone you see who's any good at being on camera got that way because they put in the time, usually, years of practice so start practicing. Even go so far as to actually record yourself being on camera so you get used to being on camera, so you get used to watching yourself on playback and to get an honest assessment of where you're at and see what you have to work on, and you don't have to put this in any video in public, it's just for your use so you can improve. It helps not to focus so much on imagining how you look and sound but on how valuable to your audience what you're saying is. Pretend you're talking directly to someone who will really benefit from what you're sharing. For more great tips on being on camera and vlogging in public, I suggest you check out these videos from Sunny Lenarduzzi. A lot of my points come from her as well. Over time, you'll notice that not only are you getting more comfortable on camera, but your unique voice really starts to shine through. This is actually, for me, one of the most fun parts of charting your journey as a creator, watching your old videos and seeing and hearing the difference in your literal and figurative voice. Number two is that perfection is overrated. As with everything else in the creation process, worrying about perfection will just mess with your head and keep you from trying things and getting anything done. Progress is better than perfection. Unlike in the old world of TV where you always had to be perfect, creators today use their quirks and bloopers conveying personality, adding humor, and just being overall more relatable. So just script well then do as many takes as you can until you get it right or until you get each segment separately correct. You don't have to start from the top every time because number three, editing is your friend. Even the most experienced creators only seem perfect in their videos because they edited out all the bad stuff, and for all the really amazing, great takes you see on camera, there's probably 3, 5, 10, even 20 bad takes that they had to throw out. In this lesson, don't forget to share your work so I can give you some helpful interests, resources, and knowledge. So just focus on getting each point across reasonably well and then splice together all the good parts in the edit. You can cover up the seams with appropriate b-roll to minimize jarring jump cuts. Number four, use voice-over. This saves so much time and energy. Instead of trying to say everything perfectly on camera, what I usually do is I say the start, it may be the end and one or two key middle points if at all, and then just read the rest of the voice-over covered by appropriate b-roll. To do this, make sure you plan exactly what parts to say on camera and shot list the necessary b-roll to support the points being said off-camera. Make sure that your delivery and projection still sound natural and close to your on-camera spiel. Number five is have fun, because you transmit to the viewer the energy that you feel. You've got to slow down, breathe, and smile, even laugh at yourself, like I'm trying to do right now, but kind of badly. Go, Erin, go. It really helps out when I talk to myself, like this. I really feel much more loose, even though it's silly. Yes.From experience, you come off on camera as having about half the energy that you actually feel. So certain people with personalities like mine that aren't too energetic have to push it a bit more than comfortable, but it's going to come out good on camera. These tips should help you get more confident and comfortable being on camera. Now let's move on to the edit. 12. Top Tips For a Better Edit: It's time to edit your video. This is where so much of the magic happens, so we should learn to enjoy it. Now, I know that for many creators, even experienced ones like me, this is the most intimidating part of the process. Let's go over some tips to make this as manageable and fun as possible. Learn keyboard shortcuts. When editing on a computer, taking a few minutes to learn the keyboard shortcuts of your editing software will make your edit all much faster, it'll change your life. Organize your footage. If you've shot a lot and are editing on your computer, organizing your footage can make editing a lot more manageable. Group or tag your footage so you don't have one big mess of footage to sift through. Organize it in a way that's useful for you. For most people, grouping their footage by what segment they're meant to be used for would be most helpful so you don't waste time looking through all your footage when all you need is just the part you're working on. Editing timeline settings. Make sure your timeline is set to the same frame rate and resolution that you shot in. Otherwise, you could run into some weird technical problems or your edit could just become really slow. Study the greats and the not so great. Look at how your favorite videos and even movies are cut together. Pay attention to shot length, pacing, choice and placement of B-roll, how each scene flows to the next, even graphics and text design, and music and sound design. Also note the typical video length in your niche. These all vary widely across different platforms and types of content, so it's great to get a good idea of what works where. At the same time, think of the videos you click off of and what mistakes they made and try not to make the same ones. Keep it interesting. Cut out parts that feel repetitive or dragging regardless of how hard you worked to shoot them. Keep things info and action-packed. If segments get too short, you can always bring them back. The aim isn't to make the shortest video possible, but to give the right amount of time for every segment so that it feels complete without overstaying its welcome. Pick great music. Taking the time to pick high-quality, appropriate music for your content will supercharge your edit. It makes figuring out shot pacing a lot easier. You can check out this tutorial by Johnny Harris, which explains a great way to think about how to use music in your videos. You can look into services like Epidemic Sound, Soundstripe, the Musicbed and more that offer quality unlimited music for your content at a reasonable price. YouTube Audio Library gives you a lot of options for free, although not at the same level of quality. I suggest you do this early in the edit process and don't rush it because picking great music will inspire creative edits. How to export your video. Most editing apps now include presets for uploading to YouTube, vertical videos, and more. I suggest you stick to these unless you're advanced. These will usually use the H.264 codec and these days, H.265 as well. To clear up a common misconception, it doesn't actually matter whether your file ends as a.mov or as a.mp4. These are just containers for the underlying codec, which is usually H.264. Bonus tip, and this is actually really important. Just trust the process. When you look at your raw footage, it might be pretty hard to imagine it taking shape as a great video in the end, but experience has taught me that even the most massive mountain of footage yields the chipping away at it over time. I've learned to trust that the process takes my crappy weird first draft into at least a decent video in the end. Trust the process and your ability and just revise it as many times as you need to until it's good. If you're really not sure how it's going, get feedback from people whose opinion you trust, especially someone who might be part of your target audience. You don't need to follow exactly what they say, but it's helpful to just get perspective on your work. More often than not, they'll help you realize that you're actually on the right track. Those are my tips for helping your edit become more manageable, effective, and fun. In the next video, let's talk about how to get your video finally seen by the world. 13. Sharing Your Video and Building an Audience: We spent the entire first half of this course figuring out the value of our content and for whom it is. Hopefully, this work we did should make it really clear that our work has a target audience and we just have to figure out how to reach them. We can start with, who is your target audience? This is fundamental because you don't want to try to please everyone. Identify your target audience and speak directly to them. You'll never avoid haters and mean people entirely, but by focusing on a core audience of your people, you'll minimize having to deal with unpleasantness. A lot of creators these days might say that your thumbnail and your title are the most important parts of your video and this seems to be true these days with the algorithm prioritizing click-through rate, or CTR, which is basically the number of people that see your thumbnail and click through to watch your video. In order to honor all the work we've put in in creating our video, we have to make a title and thumbnail that will make people more likely to click on it. On YouTube, create titles and thumbnails that are short and intriguing. Always try to answer the question of why would somebody click on this amidst all the other recommended videos. If you're going to resort to clickbait, at least make sure that your video delivers on what you promised. I like to design my thumbnail in a small magnification in Photoshop to preview how it'll look at the right size. I suggest studying examples from big creators in your niche to get a variety of ideas for how to do this well. What are the potential keywords someone searching for your content is likely to use? Now we're starting to get into the algorithm. Basically, you want to start off making videos that don't have to compete with the biggest channels and millions of other videos so that you have a chance to be noticed and build authority in your niche. Then search those sets of keywords on YouTube and Google. You'll want to find keywords for which there's a good balance between people searching for it and relatively low competition. The inexpensive TubeBuddy plugin, not affiliated, offers a tool that does exactly that. Don't just rely on the algorithm. Find your target audience wherever they may be online or offline, but don't be spammy. As a rule, give before you get. Offer value instead of just seeking attention. Adapt to your platform. A video that works on YouTube doesn't work at all exactly the same way in Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok. If you're posting across different platforms, study the differences between what content works where and re-edit your work to deliver value on each. Not just use it to link back to your YouTube channel. Remember, this is a long-term process. The goal isn't actually for one video to go viral. First, this almost never happens anyway and second, it's not what you actually want. Having one video go viral will pressure you to make that same video over and over. The bad news is that the work that you care most about is almost never the work that will get the most views. I think what's more desirable and sustainable is to gradually build up a body of work and grow and evolve over time along with your audience. In this course, we've put in the time to identify our value and target audience, and that really is the key. The rest is just consistency and persistence. Now if something doesn't work over time, it's good to set aside your ego and try to figure out why. You should feel free to experiment with different approaches and while you're small, it's much easier to try and mix things up while you're not beholden to the expectations of a big audience. Now analytics may be helpful at times, but be careful not to focus too much on the numbers because they really never tell you the whole story of how you're growing as a creator. I would say focus on the big picture. There's no one tactic that's going to bring in the traction you're seeking. Just consistently deliver value over time and let the rest take care of itself. Before you go, let's have one last important talk about what success as a creator means. 14. Success as a Creator and Why You Don't Need a Huge Audience: We need to talk. The truth is, very few of us will ever hit a number like a million subscribers or maybe even 100,000. If we define success as a creator in terms of those metrics, the vast majority of us are going to end up disappointed or burnt out. But don't get me wrong, that's not a reason not to create. It's just, that's not the reason to create. We just actually need to change our expectations for what success as a creator looks like long-term. The first thing we need to get out of the way is that if you're doing this for your ego, no amount of views will ever be enough. If you're doing it for money, honestly, there's so many more reliable ways to make money. I think that what most of us who are on this path are seeking is a way to live that's aligned with what we really value, it makes us feel alive. In concrete terms, yes, that means that our content creation is self-sustaining. That is, it makes money. But the good news is that that's possible even without a huge audience, but not with AdSense revenue alone. There are lots of better ways than AdSense to monetize directly and indirectly, and they all boil down to getting your videos seen not by millions of people, but by enough of the right people, people who'll care enough to spread the word about you, buy your products, support you in membership sites, or hire you. If you're aiming for sponsorships, remember that what the sponsor is paying for isn't a big audience, per se, but a highly engaged audience, an audience whose trust you have earned, and make sure that as you grow, you never betray the trust of that audience for short-term profit. Monetizing sufficiently still boils down to delivering value, but this time, in a way that amplifies what you deliver for free enough that people are going to be willing to pay for it. If you think about it that way, that will save you from the stress of trying to chase numbers for their own sake. Look up Kevin Kelly's 1,000 True Fans essay to get the definitive piece on this idea. Now, it's totally normal to feel discouraged when you upload for months, even years, and it doesn't seem to gain any traction. I'd say it's more the rule than the exception. During this time, and in fact, during the whole time, I'd advise to focus on the value you're getting out of the process itself, like how you're learning and growing with every video, how you're making stuff you genuinely love and care about no matter how many views it gets, instead of just being a mindless consumer. Now, don't get me wrong. It's good to aim high. Big goals inspire big actions but don't get so attached to the results that it causes you to give up when things don't go the way you expected in the time you expected it to. Keep putting in the work and eventually, you will get noticed somehow. Anyone can succeed at this if they have the endurance. 15. Conclusion: Congratulations, you've made it to the end. You've made a video and shared it, and that's no small feat. Pat yourself on the back because that's awesome. You also have a better idea of what to look into to further improve in this endlessly interesting craft of making videos. Over time, you'll find you'll naturally get better at delivering value each and every time so that your audience keeps coming back for more and you don't stop having fun doing it. If I could leave you with one last tip, it would be, stay humble and hungry to improve and to contribute. Even if you do hit a million subs, keep learning from creators ahead of you, at the same level as you, and even behind you. I am looking forward to seeing your work and helping you along in your journey to becoming better content creators. You can also find and connect with me on my social media listed here. Thank you so much for taking this course. I really appreciate your time. I hope it enables you to make the impact you want to make. Until the next, enjoy the process and keep creating. Peace.