The Foundations of Great Video | Rob Glass | Skillshare

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The Foundations of Great Video

teacher avatar Rob Glass, BBC-trained video journalist

Watch this class and thousands more

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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.

      The Most Important Thing


    • 3.

      The Snag


    • 4.

      The First Strategy


    • 5.

      First Strategy Demonstratrion


    • 6.

      The Second Strategy


    • 7.

      Second Strategy Demonstration


    • 8.

      The Third Strategy


    • 9.

      Third Strategy Demonstration


    • 10.



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About This Class

Do you find the prospect of making a video daunting? Do you break out in a cold sweat and you're not sure why?

Rob Glass spent twenty years breaking out in these cold sweats. And he got tired of it. So he had a good old think about why this was and came up with these Video Foundations - some clear thinking that means every video project from now on will be a joy and not a tribulation.

So whether you are brand new to video-making, armed only with your smartphone (hello by the way, you are the future!) or an established video-maker who still somehow has a feeling of dread when a new project presents itself, check out this free twenty minute course and let Rob sweep all those nagging doubts away.

Meet Your Teacher

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Rob Glass

BBC-trained video journalist


Hi! I'm Rob. I've been working in broadcasting for twenty years. During my time as a BBC television presenter I was acknowledged as one of the most creative practitioners in the UK. I found my niche as a video journalist, single-handedly filming and editing features for BBC News. I also spent time as a trainer, showing other BBC journalists how to create independently too. In 2004 I set up Coracle Films so that I could help organisations beyond the BBC communicate using video. By producing over 1,500 features for broadcast I saw that the most powerful kind of video revolves around storytelling. Seeing stories going untold, I grew passionate about sharing this power. Now, thanks to the ludicrous simplicity of the iPad and iPhone, I'm... See full profile

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1. Hello!: Hello, I'm Robert, and I'd be making video for very, very long time. And I've been showing other people how to make video for themselves for nearly as long. Now I've found the best way to approach this is to just take a moment and build up some rock solid foundations that will normally support us in everything we go on to do. That's what this course is all about. That's why I've called it foundations. Now these foundations are built up of, I think, three strategies and I'm actually employing all three strategies right now. So if you're still engaged with this video, then we must be doing something right. This course squeezes 20 years of experience into 20 minutes. In all of the tutorials, I do all the work. You won't have to lift a finger. Although if you decide to join me later for my boot camps, that my friend will change. But for now, all you need to do is sit back and relax. But perhaps my most persuasive argument if you've joined me on this course, is it's free. You could start now. I'm ready when you are. Right. 2. The Most Important Thing: My first foray into this world of video was as a television presenter. I was of all things and weather presenter. Back then to make a video, all you needed was a job in broadcasting 0 and that broadcast and needed to own a television station. But my goodness, how times have changed. Now anyone with a smart phone can broadcast to the world saying whatever they want, talk about a video revolution. But interestingly, the most important thing about video, I think stays the same. You see, I don't think it's about the cameras or the lights or the microphones, you know, these just keep reinventing themselves year-by-year. I mean, they played their part. But the most important thing, which is always stay the same is you, the audience, because you see if you disappear, if you lose interest and fade away. And I'm left here, all alone, doesn't matter what camera I used or light I used or didn't use or what microphone I use because nobody would notice all that effort I went to would have been a complete waste of time and money, money. Worst of all, all the stuff I wanted to tell you remains untold, so ultimately have failed. But here's the exciting thing when we realized that the audience is the key. When we start to think about the video we're about to make in terms of what the audience wants. You know, what will make them happy, what will make them want to stay. Then, you know, all that confusion that tends to surround video in the first place. When we think about the audience, that confusion just tends to melt away. And we can concentrate on what we came here to do in the first place, which is tell people stuff. 3. The Snag: So you want to tell people stuff. You want to use video to tell them and the audience is the most important thing. This is all going very well. But there's a huge snag these days. There are billions of videos out there all clamoring for your attention. Why should anyone choose to stay with yours? And we can't ignore this because this question of should I stay or should I leave is a question your audience will inevitably be asking themselves sometime within the first, second or two seconds, maybe three. So you've already asked yourself that question of whether you should stay or leave this video and happily for me, it appears you've decided to stay so far. But you don't just ask yourself just once. You continually ask yourself that question throughout the duration of the video. So this is what we're up against. It's not a question of, you know, should I buy a more expensive camera or more expensive light or a different microphone? It's how do I get the audience when they ask themselves that question? Sure, I stay or should I leave? To stay? That's the problem. The solution, I think comes in three strategies or tactics, and I'm using all three now. So as you're apparently still with me, must be doing something right? Our first tactic hopefully gets our audience when they ask themselves that question, should I stay or should I leave? That gets them to stay. A second tactic gets our audience to keep deciding to stay. And our third tactic has the potential to stop our audience asking themselves that question altogether and stay for good. Which is what you've done. 4. The First Strategy: Our first tactic then involves employing good manners. Now, race with a spoon, summed up the effects of good manners perfectly. She said, Good manners are a kind of passport. If you have good manners, you can go everywhere and people are glad to have you around. People glad to have us around. In video terms, that's gold dust. But when it actually comes to video, It's a little bit more subtle than just saying please and thank you in the holding doors open for people. And in video terms, good manners really means recreating how people see the world this way they feel at home and they want to stay, which of course is the name of the game. So, for example, if I were to consider my faithful typewriter, my eyes and my brain would all clumped together cleverly and give me an image like this. So that's what our audience sees when they're considering the typewriter. Conversely, if I was to use the camera on my smart phone, it doesn't really care what the audience thinks. All it does is, is trying to do what you tell it to do. And if we don't give it any instructions and we might end up getting something like this. Good manners then is making sure that the video we capture is so well considered that it matches the way our audience sees the world. This way, as Reese puts it, they are glad to have us around. Now I think when we perceive the world, it actually happens in three waves. First of all, we've got the eyes, then we've got the logical side of the brain, and then the creative side of the brain all kind of pulling together. Let me explain what I mean. When our camera's shaking around, it makes our audience feels sick. And if you think about it, even when you're out on a job and your heads juggling around, even then you give yourself a steady picture, so they're looking for any excuse to click away. So instead of shaky pictures, we have steady pictures, and that makes all the difference. Thank you very much, Mr. Stevens. See yourself out. Don't slam the door on the way out. It makes the camera go. Because so now we've entered the realm of very, very, very bad video manners. Where to start. So I'm out of focus and badly lit, and I think the colors a bit wrong. And that's definitely not how we experience the world. So it's not an excuse for our audience to leave happily with these kind of things. It's, it's very easy to fix just the pressure of the finger. And that should be it. Magic suddenly are slightly wrong. We're, we're kind of leaning a little bit, no matter how you look at things, your brain always gives you a level shot. So we need to emulate that when we're trying to engage with our audience. Of course, that's quite an easy fix to oh my God. Yeah. There we are. Now we're getting somewhere. There's one thing I'm not doing and the camera kinda want you to, it's urging you to. It often gives you this option. I'm not zooming in very slowly on new because it's a bit like being at a party and and standing on a skateboard or someone pushing you towards someone way too close. It's a bit worse bit strange, weird. We don't zoom in our heads, we do something a bit different. We're talking about that more when we talk about stories, but we don't zoom. So that's another thing. And lastly, is we keep our shots wide. Excuse me. Hello Rob speaking. Hi, Instagram. Yeah. Yeah. I I know you have vertical video and I know that matches the way your phones sometimes held, but not all the time. But like I'm saying, I'm trying to get into the mind of the audience. That's the most important thing as I keep telling you, the audience's eyes are wide apart and, and we experienced a worldwide. So that's why i've, I've Hello. That's why film wide. We're never going to agree on this one. So good manners when it comes to video are first of all, getting the camera to copy how the eye sees things. Getting shots in focus, lit well, sometimes called exposure, and getting the color right, sometimes called white balance. The second wave of good manners then is appealing to the logical side of your brain. I think it's on that side. I'm making sure the shot is level, making sure it's steady, making sure we don't do any unnecessary zooming. And we're going to film why. However, there's a third part of this, the creative side of your brain, your, your inner artist. And what I've tried to do here is to arrange a shot that that's balanced and in harmony. And part of that I suppose, is helped making sure the shot his wife. So it's three parts then peels your logical side of the brain and the creative side of your brain. Excuse. Hello, Prof. speaking. I'll hire Instagram. Yep. Oh, vertical. You say? Yeah, yeah. Why is that then? Yeah. What about the eyes? No. 5. First Strategy Demonstratrion: So when it comes to video, people are glad to have us around because we demonstrate good manners in three areas. We make sure the audience's eyes are happy. We make sure the logical side of their brain is happy and then the creative side of their brain is happy. But when this actually comes down to getting your shots, I think those three kind of elements come together in kind of one organic mush. So the typewriters, the center of my attention, this is what I want to capture. And so the first thing I do is, is cater for the creative side of the brain. I tend to get the balance right first, make sure I'm going to be able to get a shot and then I go for the eyes with a smart phone. We can do this in just one touch. It goes from a sort of amateurish shot. I mean, this could flicker in and out and the colors could change in. The focus could change unless we do something, unless we take control. And it's just one touch wonder. So press and hold on the center of attention. And what happens is as the camera suddenly locks itself so that the focus is set, the exposure is set, and the colors are right as well. You can just change the lighting. I don't think it's a little sunshine on the side of my my box there. You can just brush up and down if you just wanted to adjust the lighting slightly and it'll stay where you are asked it to. And the last thing is the logical side of the brain. You'll notice I've already set it up wide and framed it nicely. I'm not zooming. It's all about holding it steady now. So I tend to cradle the phone in one hand, hold it with another one with a finger ready to press Record. Get it, get it balanced again nicely. I've gone back for the creative side, and now I'm ready to go. Sometimes you can kinda lock your arms in to kind of give yourself a steadier shots. So if I just press record, then finally, I'm getting the shot in the same way that the audience would experience it in the world. And that obviously makes them happy to stay, which is the whole point. 6. The Second Strategy: Another way we can overcome our audiences ridiculously short attention span is every few seconds we reset it by changing shot and that's sort of reset our audience's attention timer. Got a bit of a problem here. I've actually run out of shops. I can cut too. I'm using a kind of video ingredient at the moment which some people call a talking head. And that's because you can see my head and it's talking. But the good news is, this is just one of what I think are perhaps seven different sorts of ingredients. So we can keep chopping and resetting the audience's attention by using a variety of these ingredients. Here's another example, graphics, or sometimes called a slide, see how your attention has been reset. Then we had our talking heads, of course, that was me talking, could be you talking, sometimes called vlogging or presenting. But then of course, it could be someone else talking, often, cutting down what they have to say to their best bits. Sometimes called soundbites. It's just a glorious manifestation of what's possible in everybody. Then we've got perhaps my favorite ingredient, shots of other stuff happening. In my ideal world, everyone would call the shots stuff happening, but the industry prefers to call the shots cutaways. There's also what I'm doing now, narrating much easier than presenting I find because I can read it from a script so the pressure's off. Another ingredient is capturing the stuff we see on our computer screen, very useful for explaining stuff. And finally, sometimes divides opinion. We have music. So instead of just using one chunk of video which is likely to test the patients of any audience. We can create our video masterpieces by using a variety of these ingredients which will keep resetting our audience's attention just when we think it needs resetting. Also showing them the things they wanted to see. Just when they want to see them. That's better. 7. Second Strategy Demonstration: When it comes to sewing together our video ingredients, there's no escaping it. We're going to need to do some video editing. Luckily these days you can use the smart phone you did your original filming with and that will video edit for you as well. Ludicrously straightforward and intuitive. Let's not dig into all that just now that instead, let me, let me give you a flavor of video editing. In fact, let's turn it into a challenge. Can I so together my favorite three ingredients, which would be a talking head, a cutaway and narration. And can I present that to the waiting world in what, two minutes? Start the clock. Time to get my talking head. Press and hold and record. Look into the camera so I'm engaged with my audience. And then say something, I'm welcome to my bench, which is the home of my lovely little orange typewriter, which I picked up in a charity shop. As pretty quick. Now let's get that cutaway shot. Just a little bit brighter. Okay, Alright. Hold it still probit. That's good. One more cutaway, I think because the audience that we wondering what I typed. Fine, that's all the filming I wanted to do. Now it's time to, So these together add a bit of narration in my favorite little video editing app on a smartphone. Kenny master. First of all, let me get my talking head in some waffle at the beginning. I think let's cut that out. There we are. So when did I mentioned my typewriter? Because that's when the audience would want to see that shot. Lovely little ordinary about there. So I have my lovely little orange typewriter in about there. Yet that's coming a bit small. Let's make that full screen. Maybe just drop that sound. Let's tidy that up a bit and bring in the other cutaway. Okay, so finally, I want to add a bit of narration just under that final shot. So let's set that up. The thing I like about it most is the letters aren't quite even. Typewriter around the key. Trim off the excess, pop it into position and exported to the waiting world. Finished. Welcome to my bench, which is the home of my lovely little orange typewriter which picked up in a charity shop. The thing I like about it most is the letters aren't quite even a typewriter and a key. 8. The Third Strategy: Let's have a quick recap. We want to tell people stuff. We want to use video to do this. And the audiences, our chief concern. Now I think the audience wants one of three things. Or often than not, they'll want information, facts and figures or tutorials showing them how to do stuff. Sometimes they may just want to capture a performance, art, dance, music, sport, capturing the moment and force so you can relive one of life's highlights again and again. Lastly, and by no means least Lee, they might not admit it, but your audience wants you to tell them a story. People love stories, they crave them. In fact, nothing prompts positive action better than a well-chosen and well-told story. Three distinctly different types of video then information, performance, story, all engaging with the audience in their own unique way. Knowing there are different ways to say the stuff you want to say means you have much more control over holding your audience's attention. 9. Third Strategy Demonstration: So three different types of videos and all of these different genres, if I were to ask you, which is the most powerful form of communication and has been to at all remember time. You'd of course a story. If I were to ask you which one connects with its audience on an emotional level and prompts people to take positive action. It of course, say a story. And if I were to ask you which one stops people thinking about leaving when they're watching. You could of course say a story. I'm a huge fan of the power of stories. What I love most, perhaps as with my smartphone, using them to capture these really pure stories and all the good they often do. But here's the weird thing. If I was to ask you now, what kind of video are you thinking about making? You probably say, well, actually rob was thinking about making an informational video about pivot tables, spreadsheets. And I'd go, Yeah, I don't blame you. I'm so often in the same boat, I am giving you information now it's not always all about stories. Or is it you're still watching now, aren't you? You've watched this whole module, you want to watch it to the end. Why is that? Well, it's because I've combined the two. I've combined storytelling with information. They don't have to stay apart. You can combine the two. And throughout this module, I've actually been telling you a story. In a nutshell, stories have a beginning, a middle and an end, and a hero, and some conflict. Now I made you the hero of the story. And in every story the hero wants something. And in your case, it was to make engaging video. And then every story is something is stopping them getting what they want. In our case, it was the realization that our audience has a very short attention span. So as a hero, you set out on this journey of discovery, learning three tactics to keep our audience engaged and along the way, appreciating the role of storytelling in our video making. So that's why you're still watching now? Yes. I've given you the information I wanted to give you, but I've wrapped it all up in a story combining the two, they don't have to stay separate. And like all good stories, I need to tie up all the loose ends now with my conclusion. 10. Conclusion: So the audience is key there, brutally honest, tempted to leave any stage so to keep them engaged, we employ three tactics. Good video manners. That means well shot video. Using these good manners and a variety of ingredients. And being aware of the genre of video we're making. What we have here. I think there's a framework from which any video you want to make can be made. And this video will do its utmost to engage with your audience. If you'd like to look in any more depth, some or all of the elements of these foundations then do please join me for my video boot camps? Now then, right at the start of all this, we said Hello and I said we've got something in common, haven't we? We both want to tell people stuff and we want to do that in order to make some kind of positive change. Well, thank you. You've now heard the stuff I wanted to tell you, and I'm hoping this will in some way help you make your videos more engaging and hit the target and make the change you were hoping for. And then in that way, I've made the positive change that I wanted to make. So we're win-win situation. So thank you for hearing me out and I wish you all the very best with that change. You're about to make.