Filmmaking For Content Creators: Shoot Engaging Videos On Your Own | Aaron Palabyab | Skillshare

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Filmmaking For Content Creators: Shoot Engaging Videos On Your Own

teacher avatar Aaron Palabyab, Filmmaker and Photographer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Class Orientation


    • 3.

      Gear: My Setups


    • 4.

      Gear: For Your Needs & Niche


    • 5.

      Vlogs & Reaction Vids


    • 6.

      Travel Vlogs


    • 7.

      Advice, Reviews, Tutorials, & Explainers


    • 8.

      Tiktok, IG Reels, & Cinematic Films


    • 9.

      Planning for Solo Creators


    • 10.

      Setting Up a Simple Home Studio


    • 11.

      Solo Shooting While Traveling


    • 12.

      File Management for Editing


    • 13.

      How I Approach an Edit


    • 14.

      Qualities of a Well-Edited Video


    • 15.

      Parting Thoughts and Encouragement


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About This Class

In this course, you’ll create a short, high-quality video using practical tips proven processes from my experience as a professional filmmaker. You’ll learn how to be an efficient, and well-prepared solo filmmaker whether it’s for your own content or professional work!

Drawing on over ten years of experience and trial and error as a professional filmmaker and content creator mainly working by myself or in small teams, I’ll show you how to:

  • Choose video, audio, and other gear to get everything done on your own while balancing cost, quality, ease of use, and mobility
  • In-depth breakdowns of several content types and how to approach them as a solo filmmaker
  • Plan your solo shoots
  • Set up a simple home studio or shooting nook to enable yourself to shoot quality talking heads by yourself
  • Approach solo shoots while traveling
  • Do file management in preparation for a good edit
  • Approach an edit from start to finish

This course will arm you with practical knowledge that is relevant to today’s creators, yet is often overlooked in formal film education. Building on my previous course, “From Clueless to Content Creator,” this course will further demystify the process, share proven experience, and empower the student to shoot high-quality videos on their own.  These skills will also provide a strong foundation from which to grow as a filmmaker and video content creator in any niche.

This course is for beginner and intermediate video creators alike. Beginners will be armed with a full set of skills and knowledge to get started, while intermediate creators will find a lot of useful tips and insights on solo filmmaking.

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

Meet Your Teacher

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Aaron Palabyab

Filmmaker and Photographer

Top 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 international art practice as part of Kometa, a collaborative duo with Polish ... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hey, there. You want to make better films but having trouble because you don't have any help? Well, I'm here to show you how even the crewless can make amazing videos with a combination of fossil planning, the right tools, and focusing your efforts. My name is Aaron Palabyab, and I've been a professional filmmaker and photographer for over a decade now. I do a lot of work requiring me to be a one-person crew while still delivering professional quality for both clients and my own content. The main thing you need as a solo filmmaker is focus. You can't have everything, but you don't need it. By focusing your efforts only on what you need to achieve your goals, you can get the job done. We'll begin with how to choose the right gear to get everything done on your own while balancing cost, quality, and ease of use. Then, I'll take you through in-depth breakdowns of several content types and how to approach them as a solo filmmaker. Then we'll go through my entire process comprehensively from start to finish, along with my best tips to help you become a highly capable solo creator, learned from many years of study and trial and error. We'll go over how to plan your solo shoots to be both efficient and effective. From there, we'll go into how to set up a basic home studio or shooting [inaudible] , and then I'll walk you step-by-step through my shooting process on the field. Finally, I'll take you through my workflow for file management and approaching an edit. If you've taken my previous course from clueless to content creator, you'll recognize the fundamentals that I'll be recapping in the beginning. Then, we'll move on to brand new material that takes you through my actual process in depth. There is so much material in this course that I've never shared before anywhere else that I hope it will serve as your virtual apprenticeship with me in video production. I'm really excited to share all of this info with you because I wish it had been around when I was just starting out. I'm confident it'll give you the reassurance and knowledge that you need to level up your videos, and open those doors that only great video can. Excited, to dive deep into it? I'll see you in the course. 2. Class Orientation: [MUSIC] Your class project will be to apply everything you'll learn here to make a video with a reasonably professional level of video and sound. I encourage you to try to make a video with a combination of talking heads and B-roll of about 3-10 minutes. Here are my suggestions : a channel trailer or introduction video to present your content's value proposition and attract your target audience; a tutorial or review shot in your home or home studio; a travel vlog with good B-roll; a mini documentary about your favorite cafe, restaurant or other neighborhood establishment. You'll follow the complete process for solo creators outlined in this course from choosing your gear, pre-production, shooting, and editing. Don't worry, you can definitely start with whatever it is that you have right now. In fact, I encourage you to check the project description for my recommended gear and software depending on your level. I give feedback to all projects as my schedule allows so please don't miss this chance to get a professional perspective on your work, which is really worth the price of this course on its own. I'm looking forward to seeing your work. With that, let's move on to the first lesson, how to pick the gear that's right for you. [MUSIC] 3. Gear: My Setups: [MUSIC] Let's start with all the most commonly asked questions by new video creators, which is, how do you pick the right gear? What gear do you use? Now a lot of more experienced creators like to say, myself included, "That your gear doesn't matter." But that's not entirely true because the gear you pick has a huge impact on your workflow, and your workflow is one of the main things that determines your ability to deliver the quality you need as a solo filmmaker. So how do you pick the gear that's right for you? The main thing to address when selecting gear is balancing between three things: cost, quality, and ease of use. Being a solo filmmaker is really a matter of trade-offs. For example, the more expensive the gear you buy, the more advanced it will be, and generally, the better the quality of your video and your audio. But more advanced gear will usually be less convenient and more complicated to use. This is changing rapidly as technology advances, but generally, it still holds true. So to illustrate my point, let me take you through a few of my setups that I use for my personal content and professional work. First, my iPhone 12, completely bare, straight out of pocket with no extra accessories. With this setup, I can shoot anywhere, anytime, be ready to shoot in seconds, even in the rain. This setup is so easy and fun to use and allows me to capture the moment exactly as it happens with minimal fuss. It can even shoot up to 4K 60 frames per second out of the box. That's something I'd have to pay thousands of dollars more to get on bigger cameras. At the same time, the stabilization on the device allows me to get beautiful shots while moving with little effort. I love it as a tool for my personal work, and the same goes for my GoPro here seven black for motor vlogging or situations where I need it to be rigged to a vehicle or other moving objects. For most beginners, I suggest starting out with a good smartphone or action camera setup so you can focus mainly on your core value delivery. More on that later. You can also add in a good full-size tripod or a small one like this and definitely a good phone mount if you're using a phone, like this one from Ulanzi, and make sure you get a mount that can do both vertical and horizontal to give you the versatility you need to be able to create content for different platforms. From here, we move up in quality and size to larger cameras, which are larger mainly because they have larger imaging sensors. Larger sensors usually means better video quality. The common formats we see in order of increasing size are the one-inch sensor, the micro 4/3 sensor, APS-C or crop sensor, and finally, full-frame. There are even larger sensor cameras like medium format, but they're mainly used for photography, so we won't cover them here. So moving up a number of levels from my phone is my main workhorse camera for many years, my full-frame 35-millimeter Sony A7 R2 with a vlogging mini shotgun microphone attached. This is a special microphone called the Deity V for Duo, which picks up the audio both in front and behind, allowing me to talk behind the camera as I'm demonstrating something. So this is my main vlogging setup. With this, there's a massive step-up in quality, as you see here. The main benefit of this is that high-quality increases your chances of appealing to a wider audience, particularly on YouTube where high production value is one way of standing out. But this additional quality does come with some trade-offs. Compared to my iPhone GoPro, I'm not as confident bringing this out just anywhere because number 1, it's bigger and heavier, you have to get out of the bag. It attracts more attention, which can be an issue in some places. Then it takes more time to make sure I get the settings right. Finally, although the camera itself is okay, most of the accessories are not weatherproof. So that's a number of additional things to think about that could really get in your way compared to shooting with this. To me though, it's worth the trade-off most times because the video just looks great and my audience appreciates that. To further upgrade the setup, I use my tripod to get stable shots and even shots of myself. In professional situations, I also use my gimbal to get the smoothest possible shots, but for personal content, I never use it anymore. Finally, this is me on the field shooting with my Sony A7 R2 full-frame camera on a slider with an electronic motion control module. Look at how clean and buttery smooth the resulting shot is. To be honest, it's quite subtle and takes so much more work than just using a tripod. But if maximum quality for professional applications or to stand out is what you need, this is a setup you can consider. However, it is very tedious and time-consuming to setup as a solo filmmaker, not to mention having to drag it along with me outdoors where I shoot most of the time. Most of the time I just leave it at home because it makes shooting less fun with all the complication, at leaves me with less time to get all of the other shots I need to tell my story. That's an overview of my setups and how I think about what gear to use. Here's a recap of the various gear setups that I mentioned here along with some additional details, you'll find a copy of this slide as well as all of the upcoming recap slides for each lesson in the project resources accessible in the sidebar of the desktop version of Skillshare. If you're using the app, just make sure to open Skillshare on your web browser on your computer. In the next lesson, we'll focus on you and your needs so you can choose your gear. [MUSIC] 4. Gear: For Your Needs & Niche: [MUSIC] Now that you've looked at a few different examples of gear setups, how do you choose exactly what you need? Let's start by trying to answer these three questions. Number one, and this should be very familiar if you took my previous course, what is the value your audience is seeking from you or that you're offering to your audience? If you're on YouTube, for example, there's a good chance having better production value will benefit you, but only if and when you're already well-versed in delivering your main value to your target audience. For more on that, checkout my previous course, From Clueless to Content Creator, here on Skillshare but I'll illustrate some points here. If your niche is, for example, tech reviews, then you know the main value you're delivering is good insights about tech, informative visuals, and good shots of the device. If you're a blogger with a following, you're mainly sharing personality and slices of your life. Ask this question for whatever your particular niche may be, what are the main shots you and other people love and expect to see in your kind of content? Thinking about all those things, what gear is going to enable you to deliver the value the most while not getting in your way for being too complicated? If your main value comes from your personality and the interesting things you do and the places you go, then capturing immediacy is more important than pure video quality. Trust me on that one. This is why many big vloggers and all Tiktokers use just their phones. Less expense, less complication, but total focus on the moment and on your reactions. The main point is this, don't sacrifice your ability to capture your story or your message in pursuit of pure production value alone. Unlike professional film-making, even the highest production value without a good story and your unique voice does not do very well on YouTube and social media in general, and that's a good thing because there's more room to stand out without professional experience. Now if you're already a pro at delivering value, which I hope you are, if you took my first course, then you can afford to invest the time and the money in using more advanced gear to elevate your content above the rest. Just remember, no matter how good your production value, never to lose the authenticity that makes all great content stand out. Anyway, you can always mix and match setups according to the situation. If you watch my vlogs lately, some of them are shot entirely on my GoPro and iPhone now, while most are shot using a mixture of my bigger cameras, drones and iPhone or GoPro for certain moments to emphasize their immediacy and capture my reactions. Of course, all the practical considerations aside, the last important question is, what do you want your content to look and feel like? What is your goal for your work? Creating content for social media is essentially a hobby, no matter how much money you make from it, so you should enjoy what you create and the process of creating it. If you want to be able to produce content as beautiful as that of your heroes, then, of course, you should aspire to be able to use the gear that will enable you to do that. Just don't get caught up on spending so much money on gear because you want your creation to be sustainable and going broke or going into debt to get great gear might not be such a smart idea. In any case, to help you out, I've included a gear selection flowchart in the course materials, which you'll recognize from my previous course. Here's the lesson recap. In the last two lessons, we learned the importance of picking the right gear and the impact it will have on your ability to deliver the quality you want as a solo filmmaker. With that big question out of the way, we can get on to the actual work of making great videos. In the next lessons, we'll go in-depth into different types of content and my suggestions for what to focus on for each, so that you can concentrate your efforts and focus your energy on what's most important to your work. [MUSIC] 5. Vlogs & Reaction Vids: In this and the succeeding lessons, we'll go over many different types of content and my suggestions for what to focus your time and energy on for each so you can manage your limited time and resources as a solo filmmaker but still make great content. Remember, the harder you work, the fewer trade-offs you'll need to make for quality. But the actual trade-off is possible burnout in the long run as we are seeing with many large creators. Quality isn't free and what you don't pay for in money, you are paying for in energy and life. Now let's talk about each of these major types of content and my suggestions for what to focus on for each, starting with vlogs and reaction videos. The most basic version of a vlog, as I see it, is the conventional day-in-the-life vlog. The value being delivered here is a glimpse into what makes your life unique or interesting and sharing your personality which is why this format is so effective for celebrities and people with unique jobs or lifestyles. Think of these as the digital equivalent of hanging out. That's why seemingly boring vlogs posted frequently can still work if curiosity is high for what you do. This content lends itself best to basic setups like a smartphone or an action camera because these prioritize immediacy and give a sense of realness, of authenticity, of being unedited. Especially for public figures who are often presented in a very curated way, the stripped-down look of smartphone and action cam footage actually adds to the value of the content. Excessive effort to look good might actually be counterproductive. On that note, even though this is the easiest way to start, I wouldn't really advise this format to start with as a beginner because it's hard to gain traction in the algorithm and elsewhere this way. You have to create curiosity about yourself first. Now, if you have a certain really unique personality this can work so the only advice I can give is to be really real, to be 150 percent authentic, and yourself. In any case, it's a fun exercise to do stuff like this. Now, even though this format lends itself to basic video quality, I'd still advise to put some time, money or effort in good audio. Get a decent vlogging mic such as this Deity D4 Duo which, again, records from the front and from the back, super handy, or my favorite microphone, what I'm using right now to record this, the rode Wireless GO II. It's super compact, super versatile, and already comes in a pair. You can research more about it on YouTube. For solo creators, this is probably the easiest, most basic kind of content to make. You can shoot nearly the entire video with just a camera on your face with little to no B-roll, B-roll meaning supporting shots that you can cut away to. For that reason, it can be a foundation for other types of content such as reaction videos. Reaction videos are a big genre on YouTube and elsewhere just because it feels so good to share the love or to share in a trend of reacting to something that's really interesting in some way, whether it's really funny, really gross, or just really well done. It's just natural for us to want to participate, to feel part of a community that enjoys and appreciates what you appreciate. The best part is, these videos are relatively easy and super fun to make on your own. Of course, the key to a reaction video is total candor, being in the moment, and reacting honestly. You want to be able to react to something watching it the first time. You want to come into it cold so that your reactions are totally real. Now, a lot of creatives use nice cameras for this in order to stand out amidst all the other reaction videos but the essence of a reaction video is your reaction, nothing fancy required. All you really need to make a reaction video is having something to say so have something to say. This is why the most effective and popular reaction videos are done either by experts in a related field towards being reacted to like this adorable video by the Fairy Voice Mother reacting to Leave The Door Open, and by people with charismatic personalities of all different kinds, which you can see a lot on traditional media. Of course, they may add very popular videos on channels like React. Here's the lesson recap. That covers some of the most basic foundational types of content that are easy, fun, and accessible to make and will be a really good training ground to do more complex types of content, such as the topic of the next chapter, my personal favorite, travel vlogs. 6. Travel Vlogs: [MUSIC] In this chapter, we'll talk about travel vlogs. Now, I have a lot to say about this because most of my content revolves around travel. The point of a travel blog, as I see it, is two-fold. First, it's to take the person on a vicarious trip, to give them the feel of the experience, whether they plan to visit or not. Second, it's to give them the information they need so they can be prepared to go there and figure it out whether or not it's for them. You need to get great footage of the place and the experiences you're having in it, along with authentic, in-the-moment reactions to the best and worst parts of the experience. There's still the fundamental aspect of realness that we talked about in the last chapter in vlogs. But with an added element of visual interest, you definitely need to shoot some good B-roll of the place you're visiting. Capture some instant-worthy compositions or memorable things. Let's take one example. If say, you're visiting a beautiful beach in the Philippines, my home country, you have lots of beautiful surroundings and a very relaxed atmosphere. Here, you'll have a lot of time to react all you want, shoot great B-roll, even aerial and time-lapse, and have plenty of time left over to enjoy your vacation. You can do fun things like sailing or paddle boarding or jet skiing. You should action camera to capture those as well for a good mix of more worked-out setups and in-the-moment shots. In these more easy-going travel vlogs, you have a lot of opportunity to inject a lot of personality, humor, and insight. To see what I mean, check out this piece from vlogger Damon Dominique. It's a fabulous example of content that combines the best of talking to the camera vlogging, travel vlogging, and more formal documentary style film-making into something so unique, entertaining and endearing. Creators of any level can learn a lot about the possibilities of solo content creation from this guy. In a similar vein, a food trip vlog has enticing shots of food and your reactions to eating them. Here you want to combine various elements to give the audience a virtual taste of the food. Be very expressive on camera. Describe what you're eating well, take really nice close-ups of the food, and then don't forget to add in establishing shots of the restaurant. You can also consider chatting with the chef or servers to get some extra insight. Now, this is a category where you can be very successful as a solo creator. To see evidence of this, just check out all of Mikey Chen simply dumplings channels. It's just simple production value, but all tied together by his passion, his similarly bottomless appetite, and genuine curiosity for food. Now on the other end of the travel spectrum, there's outdoor adventures somewhere isolated doing an extreme sport and that's a different type of shooting. Typically, your camera here will just be along for the ride and you won't have as much time or space to set up anything fancy. In general, you'll want to record more of your reactions and what you're seeing from your point of view to give a literal first-person perspective. Having a stabilized phone or action camera is definitely the way to go here since you'll be moving around a lot oftentimes in the elements. These are things like hiking, climbing, bicycle, or motorcycle riding, and pretty much any extreme sport. As a solo creator, you won't have a second camera mount to give you those Red Bull action shots, but you are perfectly capable of delivering immediacy, sharing something that probably most of your viewers have never seen or experienced themselves. You can set up your tripod or join together a shot of yourself. But this usually works only if you have lots of time and space and aren't in a group, you need to keep up with. That said, some of the top travel creators now have made their name capturing incredibly beautiful cinematic footage completely on their own while on rugged outdoor adventures. They are redefining the possibilities for what it means to be a solo creator right now. The big name in this niche would have to be Kraig Adams, who's built a huge and dedicated following by popularizing the silent cinematic solo hiking film. Drew Simms has elevated it even further doing the same for overlapping chips in his Jeep Wrangler with solo setups that just boggle the mind. Then there's these usually Asian silent outdoor vloggers such as Japanese creator their Morirone who's long, slow, peaceful, silent camping videos are a big hit. Now while I had many of you, I'm sure I aspire to make this quality of content, what you need to know is that it takes a tremendous amount of time, effort, not to mention fitness and it will definitely get in the way of the actual travel experience because you'll be mixing work and play. See what I mean, just look at all of Kraig Adams' montages of him hiking all the way back to the camera. I don't suggest you start out doing this. This is something I really suggest you build up to over time as your passion, filmmaking ability, and just obsession with quality push you to be able to put in this kind of effort. Here's the lesson recap. In the last two lessons, we broke down what makes for great vlogs, reaction videos, and travel vlogs all of which share an emphasis on in-the-moment reactions. In the next lesson, we'll talk about how to make more informational types of content. 7. Advice, Reviews, Tutorials, & Explainers: In this lesson we'll talk about how to make great informational content namely, as I see it, advice, reviews, tutorials, and explainers. These types of videos are usually made with a talking head on a tripod not hand-held like a vlog, and relevant B-roll, and infographics. First, advice videos. This is the most basic type of informational video. It's just you talking in front of the camera sharing something useful. These run the gamut from videos that cover nutrition and health, social media tips, inspirational content, and many more. It's not as detailed as a tutorial, and it's mainly just a lecture on camera. It can cover any topic you're an expert on or just passionate about. You can make the entire video of just you talking, and as such all you need is a decent place to shoot, a good microphone, and your script or talking points. This is super doable for a solo creator, very easy to edit, and a great way to practice being on camera. I suggest putting in a few moments of useful B-roll to smooth out your edits and add visual interest. One big tip I can give is to use a camera with a tilty flippy screen like this one, or an external monitor so you can check your composition, how you look and whether or not you're actually rolling. Because I've done long spills, expended all this effort too many times it turns out that I wasn't rolling, or my head was cut off, and things like that. Now let's talk about reviews. For reviews you need a decent quality, well-lit talking head with good sound, and combine that with relevant, clear, appealing B-roll of the product being reviewed. These are also very doable for a solo creator. For most things, the easiest way to make them is to have some home studio setup. We'll go over how to set one up in a later lesson. The essential elements to have in a good review are, accurate information, useful insights, and good B-roll that shows off the product being reviewed and its various components and features. In this way, reviews are an all-around type of content that require you to have a good script, do behind the scenes research and testing, speak well on camera, and know how to shoot both good talking heads and B-roll. These are doable despite all of the work, because unlike travel vlogs, for example, you have all the time you need and you're only dealing with yourself, and an object in a more or less controlled environment. For that reason, reviews are a great exercise for any solo creator looking to work on their all around film-making skill. I'd advise you try it out. Now let's talk about tutorials or online courses like this one. In terms of production, these are another step up but in a different way. This time you need not just to talk on camera, but be able to explain and even document an entire process to teach someone something from editing in photoshop, brewing a coffee, changing a tire to baking a cake. Like a review, you'll spend a lot of time talking on camera and gathering relevant B-roll to illustrate your points. But here there's a greater chance you'll need to shoot it in chronological order if you are documenting a process or creating something. But just like a review, you'll be shooting on your own in a controlled environment with virtually unlimited time. Again, it's all about just putting it together shot by shot. Speaking from experience, creating tutorials or an entire Skillshare course or two is a great way to practice not just your shooting and on-camera skills, but your overall ability to present information in a digestible, helpful way. Additional elements that tutorials might require are screen recordings if you're teaching how to use a piece of software or an app, and infographics to illustrate your point or emphasize key parts of the process. These require extra time and using other software, but nothing you can't handle as a solo creator. For a great example of effective voice only info content, checkout brand new creator pixel leaves on YouTube. She literally just started with no film-making background, but her content is already polished and so high-value for its target audience. She achieves this with clean cinematography shot completely on iPhone and with a cheap ring light, good audio, with a cheap mic, great art direction, and most of all, tons of super useful insights and examples. Swing by her channel for inspiration on what a complete beginner with lots of passion for their topic and initiative to learn can do. Now let's talk about explainers. Explainers can be as simple as advice videos with you just talking on camera the whole time, and be as complex as the beautiful animated videos of Kurzgesagt are way up there combining live action, animation, infographics and effects like Johnny Harris's genre defining work on his channel and invokes borders. I have to tell you upfront not to compare yourself with Kurzgesagt, Johnny Harris and these top creators because they employ entire teams working countless man hours. This is not an achievable level of quality for a solo creator. Let's focus on the aspects that we can achieve to still create great explainers. What are these elements? I would say they are deep research, good writing, and illustrative visuals. Now if you're really passionate and knowledgeable about your chosen topic, these first two should come relatively easily. When it comes to the visuals though, which can admittedly make or break an explainer video, there are lots of tools you can employ to do it well without too much effort. If you're already handy with After Effects in motion design, then you have a big advantage. But if like me, you aren't, then you can use photographs and B-roll, whether original or stock from services like story blocks, static infographics made in any presentation app like Keynote, and pre-made customizable animation templates that a lot of companies sell. These all require extra time and effort to create and render especially in the case of animations. But I've used them myself to create animations that are above my pay grade. One of my favorite free tools when I need to map animation is Google Earth Studio which is free. Using a combination of these, you should be able to craft a pretty fine explainer, but you'll only need a lot more time and effort than an edit without any graphics. Here's the lesson recap. In this lesson we broke down the essential elements of informational videos, ranging from super simple advice videos, to highly complex animation and information field explainer videos. In the next lesson, we'll round it out by covering the newer kids on the block, which defy convention, namely TikTok and IG Reels, and way on the other end of the spectrum, traditional cinematic videos. 8. Tiktok, IG Reels, & Cinematic Films: [MUSIC] In this lesson, we'll go over the convention defying New Kids on the Block, TikTok, and IG Reels, and way on the other end of the spectrum, traditional cinematic videos. We'll talk about how a solo creator can be successful at creating either one. Let's start with TikTok and IG Reels. As a filmmaker from a traditional background, I used to be completely dismissive of these, along with a lot of people, especially my age. But after looking into it, I am not genuinely fascinated by TikTok videos. It truly is an evolution of filmmaking and it shows what happens, so it becomes fully democratized and freed from all the old rules and conventions of filmmaking. As such, I consider it as a showcase of creativity for the new solo at home creator. There's a hilarious video by comedian @bennymofodavis on TikTok, check it out first. What he just talks about how TikTok doesn't conform to any of the rules and expectations of traditional production value. You don't need props, wardrobe, a script or even a good camera. You can even use your cell phone's low-quality front camera. You can create a scene with as many characters as you want and play them all yourself. You can film any situation you want without any production design in your messy living room, just by acting it out. All that matters is that your content is super entertaining, relatable or interesting and TikTok will give it the chance in the algorithms sometimes with huge numbers. My viral TikTok kit is a simple no cuts clip of my girlfriend driving my Jimny through some gnarly terrain. That's it, look at those crazy numbers. A quick additional note that I wasn't able to include in the main shoot because of lack of time. The thing about IG Reels as opposed to Tiktok is that IG Reels lend themselves more to the kind of clip you just saw that I had on TikTok, which is short captivating or super interesting clips. In the travel spaces would be typically a single short, almost too short, clip of a really cool destination or activity you can do in a certain destination. Usually, it's just something really snappy also or clever or funny, and that can work well on IG Reels. While this admittedly hurts coming from a traditional filmmaking background, it also makes sense because TikTok and its clone IG Reels has become the for-the-people, by-the-people platform. It's a place where actively trying to make things look too good is beside the point. It's the most authentic platform or at least it feels that way sometimes to a fault. Clearly, TikTok and IG Reels are a great place for a solo creator without any filmmaking background to flex their creativity and even reach an audience. It's all you, your personality and all shot on your phone. The quality of your content on TikTok depends mainly on your script, how well you come across on camera, and your ability to use its myriad built-in features such as filters, text, sound, and music and, so on. I would actually encourage you even if you have no plans whatsoever of growing a following on TikTok to check out the popular content there, especially in your niche, because it could be the source of so many ideas that have never even occurred to you. You could even really find yourself there, find where you belong as a creator, who knows? As with all of the types of content we're discussing, it could be a great exercise trying to make one yourself. Now, way on the opposite side of the spectrum is what I would call cinematic videos, which I used as an umbrella term for films made according to the traditional aesthetic and technical criteria of filmmaking. These include narrative films, beautiful montages, documentaries, experimental and art films, series of various types, and the like. The other kinds of things you would watch on Netflix, Apple TV Plus, HBO, etc. These, of course, are some of the most challenging videos to make for a solo creator since traditional filmmaking has always been done with a crew. You will require a lot of planning, some pro gear, and perhaps most of all, time. I think it's great to aspire to include the qualities of these films in your work to elevate them above the rest. These qualities include: a well-structured narrative that evokes emotions, beautiful cinematography edited together seamlessly, perfectly used music, multiple layers of subtext, great acting, and the like. How do you get this level of quality as a solo filmmaker? Well, with study, practice, decent gear, lots of preparation and lots and lots of time invested in every part of the process, from pre-production all the way down to distribution, to getting people to see your work, to getting your investment to pay off. Now this is something I think that you should build up to overtime as it may be overwhelming for beginners to try to do this. For amazing examples of cinematic videos done by solo filmmakers, checkout the aforementioned hiking films of Craig Adams, the crazy effects driven work of JR Alli, and then you can check out early episodes of Johnny Harris' Vox Borders series on the Vox YouTube channel when he was still doing it mostly on his own. I humbly submit my own travel vlogs that skirt the line between vlog and documentary. You have a big advantage here if you're good at After Effects, but again, it's not necessary. The important thing is to tell a compelling story while adhering to the discipline of traditional filmmaking. Here's the lesson recap. [NOISE] That caps off four jampacked lessons on content for solo creators. The objective of starting off with these was to get your creative juices flowing within a more defined set of criteria to hopefully make this whole process a lot less overwhelming. For your exercise now I invite you to think of three or more ideas for single pieces of content, whether in the categories I mentioned in Lesson 2 or a combination or a completely new one, if you can think of one. Start imagining how you're going to prepare and execute them. In the next lesson, we'll go over a solo creator centric process for preparing your shoots for maximum results. [MUSIC] 9. Planning for Solo Creators: [MUSIC] As a solo creator, you want to do everything you can to manage your workload while at the same time achieving a level of quality that makes it look like you have an actual team. So instead of distributing work to different people at one time, think of yourself as distributing your work to multiple instances of yourself over a period of time. The one you working intensively on one task at a time consecutively can almost simulate having a whole team and the key to achieving this is simply planning. While just winging it could work, you can save a lot of time and effort by working things out well in advance for your shoot and your edit. Here's a process you can adapt for planning your solo content creation. Step 1, create your content plan. Don't just aim to make one video. Come up with several concepts relevant to your niche and channel value proposition and then schedule some proposed upload dates. Once a week is a decent pace for a YouTube creator whereas most other platforms where content isn't evergreen require more frequent posting. Now, this is helpful in two ways, on an overall level, it sets a direction and a commitment for your channel which is essential to grow, and second it helps you to batch plan your shoots which can save a lot of time and energy. Step 2, write your scripts and shot lists. For each of your video concepts, write down a full script or at least relevant talking points. Check my previous course from clueless to content creator on Skillshare for tips on how to structure your scripts. What is particularly helpful for solo creators is to work out in advance which parts you're going to say on camera and which parts you will cover with b-roll and then mark those in your script by highlighting or putting in bold the parts you'll say on camera. The rest can easily be done on voiceover so you don't need to memorize them. I suggest doing your intro and outro on camera along with certain key points that need your face and personality to emphasize it and then for points that need to be illustrated with visuals, cover those with b-roll. If you want to go the extra mile you can create a shot list which you can either match up perfectly to your script using a two column script format shown here and download the bold in the project resources, or you can simply list down the general shots you want to get. You only need to be as detailed as the complexity of your content calls for. The advantage of creating a detailed shot list as we do in professional film is that it allows you to allot the amount of time necessary to get different kinds of shots of different complexity, and allows you to have an overview if you have all the shots you need to tell your story completely. If you just say need a close up of a device, you can finish that in five minutes at your house. But if you want to shoot an aerial shot of your vehicle in the mountains followed by a time lapse of the sunset, then you'll be able to plan ahead to invest the time you need to get those shots right and be sure you've packed all the gear necessary. It's in this management of limited resources to get the best results that your creativity and determination as a solo creator can shine through. Step 3 is to batch schedule your shoots and to stretch your content. If you're wondering how some solo creators can pump out content so consistently, it's because they don't make the content in the same week that they publish them. Particularly if your content is informational in nature and not dependent on being absolutely current, you can plan to shoot several pieces of content in one go in your home studio. Have all your scripts and shot lists ready and see how much you can squeeze into one day of shooting, maybe three even up to eight episodes all in one day. Now, this will entail a good deal of time and energy up front but generally you just set things up once and then roll and shoot the rest of the day. From there, it's just scheduling the release of your content which you can automate using YouTube Studio, Facebook Creator Studio, and other third party apps. This is super useful if you aren't a full time creator, if you have a day job and you're only doing this in your spare time. Now, one pro tip I can give when doing batch shoots is to change your wardrobe and or styling for every episode to maintain the illusion that you've shot this all separately. You can even apply this batching concept to travel vlogs by separating one trip into several episodes depending on one topic, and you can even stretch the content further by making separate edit downs from the same material. For example, if you're somewhere for three days, you can make a vlog about destinations A and B in one 15 minute vlog covering the first two days, and maybe day 3 in destination C was memorable enough to make one whole separate vlog. Then you can squeeze up another piece of content by creating something like a 5-8 minute travel guide from the entire trip featuring on the highlights and information and this will help appeal to audiences that don't have the time or interest to watch the whole half hour of your two episodes. Then going even further, think about how you can re-edit and re-purpose your content to work on several different platforms. Study what works on each platform from YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram stories, and the like to see how your one shoot can be stretched to a variety of content to reach different audiences making your solo efforts go a long way. A good example I can give is how MotoGeo does his videos. He has one main long cinematic motorcycle travel vlog and he follows that up with a shorter review of the motorcycle he used. Occasionally he'll release a shorter derivative video such as a GoPro onboard riding video, a single segment from a longer vlog that can be a hidden YouTube search and the like. In this way, he maximizes the massive amounts of footage he and his camera man shoot while traveling. In this lesson, you learned an approach to planning your content to maximize your efforts as a solo creator. I invite you to follow the process now step by step adapting it to be as thorough or simple as you need for your content. In the next lesson, we'll discuss how to set up a simple home studio or shooting knock for your talking heads. 10. Setting Up a Simple Home Studio: In this lesson, I'll share some pointers on how to set up a simple home studio or shooting nook. A home studio can serve as the bedrock of your content creation and empower you to shoot a ton of content in the most convenient way possible. As you can see, I've got a pretty simple home studio setup. I'll share principles and techniques on how to maximize a no to low-budget home studio setup. There are three things to look into to create a good home studio or shooting nook. Good production design, good light, and good sound. Production design refers to how everything that's on camera is going to look in terms of your space. You want to set it up such that it has visual appeal, a measure of depth, and so that it conveys something about your personality or brand. The easiest way to do this is to pick a spot in your house or apartment that's already relatively well-designed, as most of us who are in the creative field will do. A big bonus if it's already well lit by windows. That will save you a lot of time and effort. Your main setup will involve just moving some furniture around. An external monitor or a camera with a tilty flippy screen is essential in being able to properly set up and run a home studio. If you have neither of these things, check if your camera brand has an app that enables monitoring from your phone. Compose your shot at the proper distance, usually showing about half your body or a little less. In professional filmmaking, were thought to be extremely finicky about everything that appears on camera. Employing a little bit of that discipline can really help elevate the quality of your talking heads. Pay attention that there's nothing overly distracting or messy in the frame. From there you can add or subtract things and move them around until you get the result you like. Again, it's essential to have an external monitor of some sort. The technique I use to save a lot of time and effort is to shoot with a 50-millimeter prime lens that blurs my background significantly. The individual objects don't matter as much as their overall color and arrangement. That results in my talking head looking pretty clean with minimal effort, but you will need a camera with good auto-focus for this. On that note, you want to position yourself a little bit of a distance away from your background as this depth allows you to have that background blur, the shallow depth of field, as well as reduces the amount of shadows being cast by your light onto your background. Let's move on to lighting. For most beginners, I would really suggest aiming to use window light, which is what I use for basically this whole course and all of my talking heads. The fact is that the very large soft light you get from a window with some light curtains is impossible to replicate with anything but the biggest professional lights. But of course, the main disadvantage is that lighting conditions will change throughout the day and with the weather, so you won't be able to shoot 24/7, unlike you would be able to do with artificial lights. However, what I don't like about artificial lights is that stock YouTuber basement look which isn't bad, but I want to go for a different look. If window light isn't an option, you can offer these inexpensive, super versatile LED video lights. They run on batteries, they even come with a built-in remote. They are perfect for solo creators. This is the Yongnuo YN300, and it's such a full-featured, affordable light. You can do daylight balance, warm, and even RGB with various built-in lighting effects. These small LEDs are such a game changer and I wish they had been around when I was starting out. You can leave them in your studio or even take them anywhere with you. You don't even need a dedicated light stand for this, as you can mount them on any tripod which has an Arca-Swiss mount, which is the standard mount for semi-pro and pro photo tripods. You will, however, need two or three of these to have a proper studio lighting setup with no natural light. If you need a bit more power, you can also opt for its bigger brother, the YN 600, which is also super portable and still runs on the same Sony NPF batteries. The good news is, if these are still out of your budget, there are even cheaper versions of basically the same thing, although I would get the best ones that you can afford without spending too much. Just know that if you want to shoot a wide shot that looks like it's in the daytime, you pretty much can't do this with small lights. You need either natural light or really big lights that require lots of crew and modifiers. You may be wondering if you can just use household fixtures like lamps to be able to light your talking head. The answer is not really. Because you want to be able to use high-quality consistent light that doesn't flicker and has high CRI. In the case of this light, you can switch between daylight, which is about 5600 Kelvin, considered white light, or tungsten, which is warm light, or about 3200 Kelvin. This gives you reliable repeatable results without any flicker. Otherwise, you will get either mixed white balance or flicker, which tends to look weird on camera. You can, however, use these households fixtures as design elements in your background. Both window light and small LED lights are a great option to allow you to shoot detail shots for your B-roll, for your reviews, and tutorials. Window light gives good general illumination. You can just place an object in the light and go in close, while a small light is easy to set up wherever you need it, to light say, products and small objects. The approach we use to light talking heads is called the three-point lighting setup, consisting of a key light, a fill light, and a backlight. Sadly, we've run out of time to include that in this course, but there are some great YouTube tutorials that you can look at to learn basic three-point lighting. The third thing you want to achieve is good sound. This is both the most important and most challenging thing to achieve without a proper setup. Let's go into it. First, you need a decent microphone. These days, any cheap lavalier mic like this is more than enough for most beginning creators. This is preferable to the camera's built-in mic or even the on-camera shotgun mics because you can't match the crispness and clarity of having the mic next to your mouth. These can be wireless, like this Rode Wireless Go 2, or have long cables that allow you to set a good distance from the camera. This is essential because you want your mic as close as possible, while the camera needs to be a little bit of a distance away from you to have the most flattering angle. The next thing you need to do is to minimize the noise and reverb in the room, start with turning off any sound emitting devices or appliances, like electric fans or even air conditioners. These will be silent to your ears but will be audible in a recording. Although admittedly, I have mine on because it's just too hot here in the Philippines. Most people think that it just needs to be in a quiet room to record good sound but as you can hear, there's also the issue of reverb or echo to deal with. Many beginning creators make the mistake of recording sound in the bathroom. But you want to be able to avoid recording sound too close to large hard surfaces, like these tiled walls, even the floor or a table or even the monitor in front of you because you cannot remove this in post. All rooms ideally need some level of treatment. Check out this great tutorial by Curtis Judd on how to use sound blankets to treat the room. If you need to DIY everything, you can try a few different things. You can try say hanging blankets or even rows of clothes somewhere nearby. A rod might be able to help, heavy blackout curtains like I have here will be able to help a little bit, but mainly what I do is just, I use a good mic, try not to speak too loud that my voice reverberates through the room, and I try to just sit away from the walls and other very large hard surfaces. Don't forget to do a soundcheck and listen to playback on good earphones to make sure your mic and room are all set up properly and that you're not missing any other sources of noise. If you have noise-canceling headphones, this is the time to use them. If you have the space and budget and don't mind lifting heavy objects, consider getting a Century Stand or two, to give you a lot of options in your lighting and sound setup. C-stands are highly versatile and robust stands used in professional production that you can rig up in countless ways. Once you have everything set up, then you can start rolling and knocking off your shot list in manageable chunks, making sure to skim your takes every now and then to make sure you have good composition and that you're still recording good sound. Having your script ready and broken down into which parts you'll say on camera, and which parts will be done on voice-over will be really helpful here. I hope you took the time to do that. In terms of approach, I suggest you finish all of your talking heads first and you can even do your voice-over by keeping the camera rolling while you read the script, as I'm doing with this course, with my script hidden away somewhere nearby. This does take up more space than recording audio, but it's very convenient in terms of the edit. Then once you're done with all the talking heads, you can start moving cameras around to be able to shoot your B-roll. Here's the lesson recap. That about does it for our lesson on how to set up a simple home studio on little to no budget. In the next lesson, I'll show you my approach to shooting on the field. 11. Solo Shooting While Traveling: [MUSIC] Let's talk about how I approach shooting solo while on the field and traveling. Preparation here is key, because you need to be your own crew and your own backup while traveling somewhere potentially far away. Before setting off, I always go through a checklist of everything I'm going to need for a shoot. I use Evernote, but you can use any note-taking app. First, I create a master list of everything I need to pack for a certain trip. For example, here is my road trip packing list. Then what I do is I copy and paste this onto a new node specific for my trip. I add and delete items as necessary depending on the trip. As you can see, I have my things to pack all organized and worked out in a lot of detail, because in the rush of packing and preparation, it is so easy to forget something small but super important, like a battery charger. This is so important to have to re-emphasize this. Don't leave home without freshly formatted cards. This can turn into a nightmare where you either run out of space, or you don't know which files on that card have been backed up or not, so you can't delete it, and so you will be one memory card short and all of those kinds of issues. Always, start with fresh memory cards when you're going on a trip. Next, of course, have your script or shot list printed already on your phone. Of course, while traveling, you can't predict exactly what will happen. But the important thing is to have a general idea, a general plan that will guide you in terms of what to look for, and this will actually free up energy to be more spontaneous to the inevitably unexpected opportunities that pop up during a travel shoot. Now, how do I approach shooting? When I arrive at my locations, I'm not in a rush to immediately shoot B-roll, although I will want to get my immediate reactions to what I'm seeing. I want to have a look around first, especially if I didn't have a chance to sculpt beforehand. I want to be able to figure out the different opportunities. I'll note the different locations where I can shoot different parts of my plan, or my story. I'll look at the direction of the sun to see if there's any good light that's worth waiting for later in the day. Also, since I'm traveling, especially if it's personal work, I don't let the shooting get too much in the way of my enjoying the place. As the day goes on, I'll be trying to get captivating shots for my intro, finding things people in situations that are interesting that I can react to, and of course, capturing my in the moment reactions to them. Another thing to be mindful of is how you can keenly transition from one scene to the next. Whether with the techniques such as an in camera transition or a piece of B-roll, on on-camera spiel to lead us into the next situation, a voice-over, etc. Then as a trip winds down, I'll start thinking about creating an appropriate ending to the vlog. Many times I've already shot my closing spill, then had something amazing happened after it, and that's totally fine. I'll just shoot your ending. It's best to be open because the best adventures are always the ones where something unexpected happens. Those stop rolling when things start not to go according to plan, because these are the best moments. Now in terms of how I actually use my gear, I'll usually start shooting first on my iPhone and 12 because I'll still be moving around a lot, and I'll still be discovering all the possibilities of the place. Of course, I'll make sure to get my reactions, but at the same time, this phone doesn't get in the way of my experience too much yet. Once I'm settled in, that's when I bring out the bigger guns, my full-frame Sony camera with the front and back vlogging mic. Using this, I'll be able to get stuff like detail and close-up shots, especially of food and different details of the place, and just so I have a good mix of whites, mediums, and close-ups to keep my edit interesting and visually beautiful with the bigger camera. Here's a tip, for wide shots in bright sunlight, a good smartphone like the newer iPhones, can take the place of a mirrorless camera, and few people would notice. But when it comes to close-ups like portraits and food shots where you want a blurred background, larger sensor cameras still give much better results. When the light starts to drop, then smaller cameras are no match for a good large sensor camera with a wide aperture lens, anything from F2.8 and wider when it comes to video. If time and energy permit, I'll put my big camera on a tripod so I can get great shots of myself in the surroundings. These are some of my favorite shots to make, and I was inspired by Craig Adams to shoot in this style. These are great for solo creator because it simulates having a camera man, and provides a visually pleasing break from all the vlog, selfie and handheld shots. [NOISE] I make sure to have my microphone on for the shots to preferably with a wind screen, so I can use the ambient sounds recorded while filming. Each clip effectively gives me a few minutes of quality background sounds that I can use to create atmosphere and smooth out cuts in the edit. This is also when I launch my drone and shoot my time-lapse shots. Moments like this of being in one specific beautiful place for a time, or where I gather most of my beauty shots, that I can then use throughout the edit. As a rule, always aim to shoot more than you intend to use. You'll have options in the Edit. You'll never know how inspiration may strike, and what visual poetry you might find as you review your footage in the days and weeks after a trip. If it feels like you could use it, just shoot it. Memory is cheap nowadays. Just remember though, that the more you shoot, the longer it will take the sieve through in the edit. It's good to achieve a balance. When traveling by car or even motorcycle, especially by yourself, then you have a lot of opportunity to shoot wherever inspiration strikes. My photographer explore series on YouTube is all about this, where my friend Angela or travel photographer and I go off the beaten path in search of little-known views. Having a car means you can have all your gear ready to deploy wherever there is a beautiful view to be had, and you can take your time. Remember, taking time is the true key to getting beautiful shots. Then at the end of the day, I always make sure I backup my files to one or two hard drives, and put away and protect my memory card if possible, and slot in a new one for the next day. The latter is especially important for drone shots, because you never know when a flyaway might occur. Here's the lesson recap. That's a comprehensive walk-through of how I approach shooting while traveling. The truth is there's no hard and fast rules to this, and I'm constantly changing my approach depending on the results I get and even my mood. But regardless, I showed you how I think things through and hopefully, you can pick up some valuable principles and ideas that you can apply to your own travel shoots. In the next lesson, we'll take all of this footage and I'll show you how I organize and prepare files for a big old edit. [MUSIC] 12. File Management for Editing: In this lesson, we'll go over how I offload and manage files in preparation for an edit. This is key to be able to have a smooth and organized edit. The first thing we need to do is dump the files from the memory card to the computer. I advise that you do this in two separate places. For example, your computer's internal drive and the separate external hard drive. Personally, what I do is I backup the files on two identical external hard drives and then make another copy on an external solid-state drive called an SSD for short, to take advantage of their faster speed for a smoother edit. I don't use the internal drive on the computer that much because video files can fill up this precious space really quickly and you need a lot of space on your internal drive to maintain the performance of the computer. Also, don't use the memory card, your SD card for long-term storage of files, because the cost per gigabyte on one of these things is so much higher than a conventional spinning hard disk drive. It's just not a good use of your resources. In terms of backing up your files, remember the old saying that two is one, and one is none. Speaking from experience, hard drive failures are rare, but there's a 100 percent chance that they will happen sometimes for no apparent reason. Don't be that person who is left in tears after their files just disappear forever. A corrupted or damaged hard drive is almost always going to be unrecoverable, and if it is, it's going to cost a lot of time and money. While it may be expensive upfront to have a second hard drive for everything, it will save you a lot of expense and heartbreak in the long run. Most modern computers will have fast solid-state drives or SSDs as their system drives inside, and these will give the best performance for editing. The trade-off though is that the price per gigabyte compared to conventional spinning hard disk drives is much more expensive. You only want to keep your projects on your internal SSD temporarily. What I use, as I mentioned earlier, is this one terabyte external SSD, which gives me a good balance between speed and cost per gigabyte, because the internal SSD, while really fast, is super expensive per gigabyte compared to this, but also faster than the cheaper storage on a conventional spinning drive. It's also more durable for travel because you don't have the actual spinning disk inside. Given all of that, here's how I actually manage the files. First of all, I create the folder in my backup drive with the date and name of my shoot. I'll create folders with the name of the camera as I shot with, say A7C then A7RII, then iPhone 12, my drone, and any other shots from additional sources. I'll then copy the main media folders off my memory cards wholesale to make sure I don't miss any files and place them in the correspondingly labeled folders in preparation for the edit. I'll also create additional folders for other files I'll be creating. VO for voice-over, music, stills, and exports for my final rendered files. The advantage of organizing on your hard drive is that it makes it easy to organize once you're in your editing program. I'll use Premiere Pro to show how I organize my files in the actual edit since this is one of the most commonly used applications. But the principle should apply to whatever software you're using. Let's create a new project, making sure to place it in the same folder as the video files and then name it accordingly. Now let's pick our scratch disks. This is where Premiere will store the files it will work with and create during the project. You can make this the same as the project, but I prefer to have a separate folder in a separate hard drive or the same hard drive, because these are temporary files that are meant to be deleted as soon as I'm done with the project. This also means that whenever I use my backup software to backup the project, it won't copy these space-consuming temporary files. Then I'll just drag the folders from my hard drive into Premiere Pro, let it process them, and Premiere will reflect how I've organized them in my hard drive. I'll create a folder called sequences where the various sequences, that is the actual edited video projects will live. Then I'll create the main sequence for my project. From here, you're ready to start editing. Here's the lesson recap. In this lesson, you learned how I prepare an organize my files in preparation for an edit. Good organization right from the beginning will go a long way to making your edit more manageable and we always want to do that as much as possible. Let's get to the edit on to the next lesson. 13. How I Approach an Edit: [MUSIC] In this lesson, I'll show you how I approach an edit. Now take note that this is by no means meant to be definitive or the best workflow. But the objective is to show you how one professional, me, does it to be able to demystify the process and allow you to figure out what works for you, so let's get into it. I'll usually start with laying out all my footage in the sequence in chronological order or in the script order. Once it's all laid out like this, I'll basically re-watch all of the footage from start to finish or at least skim it. This is where a lot of the ideas will start to emerge about how I'll be able to put this all together. I'll be on the lookout for different ways to tell the story and things like B-roll that might be useful in ways that I didn't expect while I shot it. This part is really where you should be open. You shouldn't be too concerned about cutting things out except the most unusable parts, because this is really where a lot of your ideas will emerge. Don't judge it just yet, just watch it all through. From there, it's really as simple as just going through it over and over from start to finish, cutting and rearranging things, and waiting to see what further ideas emerge as the story really starts to come out. Trust me, that happens every single time. I'll do this until the edit is as tight, meaty, and polished as it can be, or until the deadline comes. I've just actually finished this massive four-episode docu-series edit, with four cameras and a separate sound recorder. In the beginning, I didn't know how I was going to get through this by the deadline. But after getting through it, the process turned out to be no different. I started with just all of the footage laid out on the timeline, and I just started cutting it without judging it or worrying about how it was going to turn out. I just worked on it until I had a basic assembly of the story that I could watch over and over. I based the skeleton of it on the soundbites that contain the meat of the content and on key visual moments in the footage. Then what magically happens every single time is that with every succeeding pass, the story becomes really clear and you just hit this flow where the ideas come, and you see what feels right in terms of the edit. You just have to trust the process. Then once we have the cut locked in, more or less, that's when I work on either doing or finalizing the music, the sound design, color grading, any other special effects and animations, and things of that nature. It's still a lot of work and time, but it's honestly simpler than it looks in terms of the process. Just so you know, all of these different steps, the music, the color grading, the actual cut, the sound design, the sound mix, the animations, in the professional world, each one of these is handled by a separate dedicated professional. As you can imagine, this can take a lot of time, and really, it tends to be a little bit tedious in terms of just trying to finish something quickly. But you, as a solo filmmaker, you don't have to worry about that. You're not accountable to a client most times. You can just do this all as you need for much less time and money. Then just to wrap things up, once the video is done, I export it for uploading online in the H.264 codec. Here are the settings I use for HD, and here are the settings I use for 4K. If you're uploading a vertical video, you can use the same bitrates as HD, but makes sure you're using the vertical aspect ratio. You can click here to make sure your source matches your output. Remember that it doesn't really matter whether the file ends or.mp4. Premiere Pro will export the file in.mp4, while FCP 10 will, but the underlying encoding is broadly the same and will be viewable and uploadable anywhere. I will export this file into my Exports folder that I prepared earlier, and then go to Photoshop to create my thumbnail, either from a photo I took or from a frame from the video, and from there, it's ready for uploading. Here's the lesson recap. That's an overview of the nuts and bolts of how I approach an edit. In the next lesson, we'll go over the actual art of editing and what to look for in terms of having a good editor. [MUSIC] 14. Qualities of a Well-Edited Video: [MUSIC] In this lesson, we'll go over some of the qualities I look for in an edit and some tips on how to achieve them. Above everything, I want to edit a video so that it delivers the maximum amount of value in the right amount of time. I want to cut out any and all parts that don't serve up any kind of visual, informational, or entertainment value, making it as tight as possible and as filled with value as possible, but no tighter than that. This will only live in the best parts and your audience will appreciate that. Now, what is the right amount of time? The right video length depends on your type of content and your target audience. You usually want to go shorter when trying to reach a general audience, but have more leeway for long videos with a dedicated audience for your channel or niche. Next, I want my cut to feel as smooth and polished as possible while conveying as much meaning or information visually as possible. This means, first of all, that I'll focus on finding B-roll that artfully or appropriately supports whatever is being said or the story being told. That's one and then two, I wanted to be able to use B-roll to smooth out as many jump cuts as possible. Although these days jump cuts aren't as much of a big deal, it's just having too many of them is a little bit jarring to the viewer. But more than just covering up jump cuts and making transitions feel seamless, the true aim is to use visuals and audio to convey some kind of subtext, mood, or story-telling point. This is what I think we mean by cinematic, when a video packs not just visual beauty, but is also ripe with meaning. I don't always manage to do this, especially for simple vlogs, but it's always a goal to have these deeper moments that all add up to making a video feel very cinematic. These small details all add up to become greater than the sum of their parts to make your video feel very well-crafted. Now, let's be honest, it's not a requirement at all to be successful and to build a great community on any of the social media where you might share your video. But it is personally very satisfying to achieve and there is an audience that really appreciates the extra effort and skill that goes into it. I can recommend you check out the tutorials of Brandon Li on YouTube and on his actual online film school to get deeper into the art of editing as this guy is a master. If you really want to get advanced at filmmaking, especially for travel, he's a good resource to find. Now, you may be wondering, do you need to have some genius idea worked out beforehand to achieve this level of artfulness in your edit? Well, the good news is my experience is, not at all. Most of my best editing ideas and cleverest editing moments have almost all come not from pre-planning, but rather organically from the process of working on the material over and over and over. The work itself is what inspires ideas, along with the familiarity I have from spending so much time on it. As with any form of creativity, you have to trust the process. It is the discipline that repetition that brings forth great ideas. But of course for very technical and novel executions, you do have to bake this into your pre-production and editing to make sure you have all the elements you need to pull them off. Another question you may have, how do I know that a video is done? I'd say that's usually a balance between when a video needs to be published and just trying to make it as good as possible. I have enough experience to know the minimum level of quality I'm aiming for and honestly, each one of us differs according to our needs and what our audience expects. My best advice would be, do what feels good for you and then see how your audience responds to it. It's this dynamic process of learning between you and your audience, which is one of the best things about posting on social media. Now I'm guilty of spending too much time on editing a video, but that's just because a lot of my personal satisfaction comes from taking a piece of content from good to great, hopefully. I'll spend hours in an effect that maybe nobody will ever know this or comment on, but it's okay because it's just for my personal satisfaction and practice at the craft. Here's the lesson recap. In the past few lessons we went over how I approach an edit from start to finish and learned about some of the more subtle aspects that can add up to make a video feel very well made. With time and application, you should be able to have the confidence not only to make your first video, if you're making your first one, but to challenge yourself to step up your quality in every aspect of filmmaking. But before you go, I still have some final words of encouragement and insight to share with you. [MUSIC] 15. Parting Thoughts and Encouragement: [MUSIC] Congratulations for making it to the end of this massive course on solo film-making. I hope this deep dive into my process has given you a lot of useful insights that will help you grow into a confident and skilled filmmaker. If I could leave you with one last piece of advice, it would be to take your time, learn as you go, and keep making awesome videos that you will love. Most of your growth as a filmmaker will take place not from watching this course but from the practice of creating again and again. Don't be too pressured about how one video performs no matter how hard you worked on it. Remember that you have an unlimited number of them in you. I hope my course can serve as a guide and source of encouragement no matter where you are in the process. Appreciate too that when you can do it all on your own, you don't need to wait for anybody's permission to make great videos. Make stuff, shared it with your audience, learn from them, and repeat. Whether or not you aspire to work with large crews one day, these skills will serve you well and possibly even open up professional opportunities for you. If you enjoyed this course, by the way, do leave a good review because it really helps. Don't forget to follow me here on Skillshare for course updates, promos, and the like, and do get in touch with me on social media displayed onscreen now. Please share your projects so you don't miss the chance to get a thoughtful professional perspective on your work as my aim is not to criticize but to help you be the best creator you can be. Thank you so much for investing all this time and effort to take my course. I appreciate you and your desire to make great work. Until the next, my name is Aaron Palabyab, and I'll see you on the interwebs. Peace out. [MUSIC]