The Poor Mans Guide To Rich Looking Videos

The Poor Mans Guide To Rich Looking Videos

The Poor Man's Guide To Rich Looking Videos
Hey, nice camcorder .​
And I​ hear you have a​ computer, too .​
Guess you're in​ the​ video business!
Ah, but it's not that simple .​
As many would-be photographers can tell you, it’s not the​ gear that defines quality; it’s the​ person using the​ gear.
Oh, you knew that.
Okay, what if​ I​ were to​ offer you, say, $5000 to​ do a​ history of​ my life? Would you know what to​ do? Can you visualize the​ end result? or​ do you just hope that the​ button marked Ken Burns Effect will save your rear-end?
Sound cynical? Guilty as​ charged .​
But the​ proliferation of​ inexpensive, decent quality video gear has convinced many a​ consumer they can do their own business videos or​ wedding videos, and​ many a​ prosumer to​ make the​ fulltime leap into self-employment.
So here's my offer .​
Read the​ next five paragraphs or​ so for​ my video school in​ 5 minutes or​ less, and​ you will be one small step closer to​ telling a​ compelling story, no matter what that story is.
starting now!
1) Create an​ outline of​ your project .​
What do you envision it​ to​ be? Despite all the​ hype about interactive and​ non-linear media, storytelling is​ linear .​
The human brain wants a​ logical flow, and​ when it​ doesn't get it, it​ gets distracted.. .​
starts daydreaming.... .​
zzzzzz .​
So, even before you start shooting or​ editing, plot out your story .​
Let's say that you're doing a​ video for​ the​ engagement party of​ a​ couple who are getting married, and​ you want to​ tell their life stories .​
Here's a​ typical outline:
Parents wedding
Birth of​ children
Children growing up
High school or​ college years
Some recreational high points in​ their single lives
The magic moment--couple meets
Couple together
Couple gets engaged
Reprise of​ earlier shots (let's audience know its ending)
Finale text, logo, Congratulations and​ picture of​ the​ happy couple.
2) Acquire the​ raw material .​
We haven't even TOUCHED a​ camcorder yet .​
You can't really know how this story will feel and​ what supplementary shooting you'll need until you know what raw material you'll be working with.
Think inside the​ box .​
If you look at​ a​ yearbook and​ just take a​ picture of​ the​ yearbook, you've missed the​ story .​
Your stars are featured in​ that world.. .​
get close-ups of​ pictures from the​ book, pepper that with ads of​ Pepsi, Coke, Hostess Cupcakes, the​ cast of​ Saved by the​ Bell-- whatever they were into at​ that age.
Important: check for​ existing audio or​ video recording of​ your stars, not just still pictures .​
8mm film, old Betamax tapes, whatever .​
This can add a​ treasure trove humor and​ expression .​
Plus, vintage audio of​ voices long gone can bring the​ crowd to​ tears.
3) New Section? New Music .​
Your outline pretty much tells you how often to​ change the​ music .​
Whenever the​ era or​ subject changes, use a​ different piece .​
It helps us understand the​ era, it​ lets us know we can move on in​ the​ story from what came before, and​ it​ tells us how to​ feel .​
In other words, vary the​ music according to​ the​ emotion, and​ consider your audience .​
It doesn’t all have to​ be hip-hop or​ electronica .​
Something warm and​ fuzzy is​ often more appropriate.
4) Ditch the​ special effects .​
Transition effects were developed for​ scene changes, and​ the​ most powerful one is​ still the​ dissolve .​
Page turns, circle wipes, shatters, and​ other planet of​ the​ cheap special effects stuff will drive an​ audience to​ distraction-- away from your story .​
You're not the​ star, your subject or​ client is.
5) Shoot for​ the​ editor .​
There are basic rules of​ editing, but what they come down to​ is​ this: long shot, medium shot, close-up, cutaway .​
When you're shooting footage of​ the​ happy couple in​ the​ rose garden, we want to​ see the​ garden, them, their faces, their hands (and a​ close-up of​ the​ wedding ring, and​ some signage telling us they're in​ the​ rose garden .​
Oh, a​ close-up or​ scan of​ their newspaper wedding announcement is​ nice, too.
Is it​ time? Put your pencils down .​
Follow these rues and​ pass to​ the​ next level of​ video storytelling!
Good luck.

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