Start-to-Finish Video Blog Recording

Marshall Rimmer, Filmmaker

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13 Lessons (35m)
    • 1. Preparing to Record

    • 2. Planning out a Script

    • 3. "Free" Video Cameras

    • 4. Professional Video Options

    • 5. Lighting

    • 6. Audio

    • 7. Performance Tips

    • 8. Visual Tips

    • 9. Audio Tips

    • 10. Recommended Softwares & Basic Approach

    • 11. Single-System Software Tutorial

    • 12. Double-System Editing Technique

    • 13. Exporting & Uploadting


Project Description

IMPORTANT Introduction

Hey everybody! Thanks for taking my class. Before you begin, I'd like to give you a little background on this course. It originally was geared toward Skillshare contributors but has evolved to incorporate all Video Blogs.

Please don't be thrown off by some of the video content which specifically refers to creating Video Lessons for Skillshare. All of the content is still entirely applicable to basic, everyday video blogs.


Getting Started

  1. Secure a Location
    • The best locations are indicative of your brand
    • Consider the audio of a location in addition to the visuals
    • If you're borrowing a location, communicate clearly with the owner and be resepectful of the place.
  2. Script your Blog
    • Bullet-point scripts allow for natural dialog
    • Script out the entire blog so you're able to find the best structure

Recommended Equipment

  1. Secure a Camera
  2. Secure Lights

    Paper Lantern
    ​Lantern Cord
    ​Clamp Light
    ​Mic Stand
    Dimmable Daylight Bulbs
    Power Strip
    Extension Cord
    Dimmer Switch

    • or purchase a complete Lighting Kit
    • You want to make sure that the color temperature of the bulbs match any existing light in the room.
  3. Secure Microphone

    If you decide to use professional equipment, I advise that you rent a microphone from a local rental house. Before you do so, determine your camera's audio inputs (XLR or Mini). Consult with the rental house to determine which microphone is right for you. Make sure you get any necessary cables.

    If you decide to use a separate recorder such as the Zoom, keep in mind that you will need additional SD cards.

The Shoot

  1. Shoot Your Video Blog

    You have your camera, mic, lights, and location. Remember that your performance needs to be engaging and honest. Use a bullet-point script and rehearse! But don't stress out too much. There's always editing!

Editing and Publishing

  1. Edit your Blog on Adobe Premiere 
    • Sync audio if necessary
    • Exclude mistakes
    • Trim the fat
  2. Export your Blog
    • The video file should be under 500mb
    • Export at a resolution of HD720 if necessary

Detailed Notes

  • Unit I Cheat Sheet

    Preparing to Record

    Energy is important when recording Video Blogs. You must be engaging enough to keep an audience's' attention for the duration of the blog.

    SHOW, don't tell. Brainstorm ways that you can illustrate your blog. If you ever have the question, "Will this story be boring if viewers don't SEE an example?", chances are that it will. Find a way to show your words.

    When picking a location, find one that's indicative of your content. Ask yourself, "What location will reinforce my brand?" If your blog is nebulous in nature, find a location that is not distracting. Stay away from noisy patterns and clutter. Find something simple, but not a boring white wall.

    Planning the Script

    Always outline your "script". Create detailed outlines instead of verbatim scripts. This will allow you to be more natural on camera. Support your bullet points with illustations or stories so your lessons don't contain too much forgettable information that blends together.

    Rehearse. Rehearse. Rehearse. Did I mention that you should rehearse? The better you can perform while recording, the more headache you will save yourself while editing. Don't feel the need to be 100% perfect, but don't ramble or meander while recording your lessons.

    Be visual. Use props if possible. Illustrate your points if you can.


  • Unit II Cheat Sheet

    The video cameras on our phones, tablets, and computers are much higher quality than you would think. These cameras are perfectly fine to use if you don't wish to rent (or buy) professional equipment.  As long as there is much light in the room (with no harsh shadows), the video quality will turn out fine. Remember to steady your phone on a countertop or tripod. HOWEVER, the catch with laptops, tablets, and phones is that the audio quality is still terrible. In order to have listenable audio, You MUST use a separate microphone even if you shoot your blog with an iPhone.

    Remember that the cameras on most phones and computers auto-color and auto-expose. Make sure your frame is brightly lit and well-balance.

    If you're using the camera on your phone, shoot landscape and not portrait.

    Before you record your blog, test the compatibility between your video camera and your intended editing software.

    Even the cheapest professional camera is fairly expensive. If you are looking to use professional equipment, you can rent or borrow the equipment for just a fraction of the cost.

    Bad audio will ruin your video blogs. Even if you are recording with an expensive camera, it will have a low-quality microphone.

    When purchasing a microphone, it is vital that you figure out if you need to purchase any additional cables (typically XLR to XLR or XLR to Mini) in order to connect the microphone to the camera or recorder.

    The Zoom Recorders have good microphones built into them and don't require an additional microphone plugged into it.

    Light with China balls to lessen any harsh shadows. When purchasing these lamps, remember to also purchase a cord set and bulbs that match the color temperature of the room. "Soft White" or "Bright White" are used for standard indoor lights. "Cool White" is used to match most fluorescents. "Daylight" is used to match sunlight. Purchase 100W to 200W depending on your ideal price point. If desired, replace other bulbs in the room to perfectly match the color temperature.

    Another lighting trick is to record near a window, with the light brightening up your face, but not directly hitting you.

    When the production is invisible, video blogs are most effective.


  • Unit II Vocab

    Microphone Vocabulary

    • Shotgun: Highly directional mics that typically sit on top of your camera and plug into it directly.
    • Lavalier: Small microphones that clip on to one's clothing to allow for a hands-free performance.
    • Single-System recording: A setup that involves the microphone being plugged directly into the camera.
    • Double-System recording: A setup where the audio is recorded into a seperate recording device and then synced to the video footage during editing.

    Video Camera Vocabulary

    • DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex): A digital camera that allows for still photos as well as video.
    • Post: Short for "post-production", typically refering to the editing process.
  • Unit III Cheat Sheet

    Performance Tips

    If possible, shoot some test footage to see how you come across on camera.

    Don't use jargon. If you do, include a vocabulary guide in the Additional Resources.

    You have more innate energy when you stand. However, if you need to sit because it's better for the location or framing, keep proper posture.

    Have a friend help direct you and give a more objective viewpoint.

    Visual Tips

    Think about framing. It should encompass all the action necessary. Video Lectures may be close-ups, but Video Workflows need to be wider so the action is included.

    Be at least 4 feet from background to avoid shadows and (depending on your camera) to throw the background slightly out-of-focus.

    Make sure your subject is in focus

    The subject should be brightly lit with no harsh shadows.

    Audio tips

    Redo a take if a large truck or airplane go by.

    Place the microphone as close as possible without being in frame.

    If you're able to monitor audio levels through the camera or recording device, the audio should peak at -6dB. Don't allow audio to be recorded at such a high level that it sounds distorted. If possible, have someone monitor the audio for distortion. Record a sample and play it back to see if it was recorded correctly.

    Use a single-system setup instead of a double-system if at all possible.

    Sit in silence and listen for hums and buzzes. Turn off AC!

  • FREE editing softwares

  • Windows Movie Maker Instructions

  • iMovie Instructions

  • Adobe Premiere Instructions

  • Final Cut Instructions

  • Avid Media Composer Instructions

  • Unit IV Cheat Sheet

    Recommended Softwares & Basic Approach

    Professional Editing Options:

    1. Avid Media Composer ($1000)
    2. Adobe Premiere ($240/yr.)
    3. Final Cut Pro ($300)

    Hobbyist Editing Options:

    1. iMovie ($15)
    2. Windows MovieMaker (free)

    Exporting Specs

    • Each video file should be under 500mb
    • Export at a resolution of HD720 if necessary
    • Export as a .mp4, .mov, .avi, or .flv
    • Export audio levels that peak between -6 and -12db


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