Get An Idea
Look around in your life. Inspect everything. Pick a random object and write a story about it. I’m going to use my latest video as an example. I had a wind up rat that I wanted to use for at least one of my videos while I was still in Michigan. The first things that came to my mind were: Run away! That rat is scary and gross! Try to kill it?
I built off of that. You don’t have to restrict yourself to objects or what the song is literally about. You can base your video off of your favorite adjective, weather, or color. It doesn’t matter; you might not even use your original idea in the end. This exercise is just for inspirational purposes.
- Pick a random word.
- Write down the things that pop up in your head that correlate to that word.
Draw A Storyboard
I like to write down the basic plot
and, maybe, some shots that I definitely want in my video. Then, I take a new piece of paper and draw a bunch of squares with two lines under each square. I like to write what the characters are saying or a description of the shot on the first line, and the music and sound effects on the second.
Envision how you want your video to play out and draw the important shots. They should be scribbles, not pieces of fine art! Draw well enough so that you’ll understand what you wanted to do later. If you thought of an extra shot that will make your movie better, just draw it after the shots you’ve already drawn. When you are done with your storyboard, number all of your shots in order.
If you want to be more organized: on a new piece of paper, write down the shots that could be taken all at once. You’ll save time that way by not going back and forth between locations.
- Write the plot with one paragraph.
- Make a storyboard from that plot: draw the shots and write down what you want for the audio.
- Group similar shots together.
- Write all the details down inside a list.
Shoot The Footage
If you need a someone to hold your camera or want to have more people in your movie: ask your friends/family if they want to help you and when they are available. Tell them what you want from them clearly. Send them the plot of your movie. You could also go online and ask total strangers, but I wouldn’t advice that.
Go to the location of your choice and start shooting! Bring your storyboard and grouped shot list, and keep track of what you did by putting marks on the shots you’ve completed. It usually takes me an hour of shooting per minute of the video after the editing.
- The light source should come from behind the camera.
- Use the rule of thirds and different kinds of shot types.
- Eliminate dead space, i.e. when you zoom in on someone, get rid of the space behind, above, and below them.
- If you don’t have a tripod: widen your stance and put your elbows against your body.
- Avoid doing too many pans; they get annoying when overused.
- Have a buffer of about three seconds before and after each shot.
Those were all just pointers. You can go do whatever you want; it’s your video after all!
- Get a person if you need one.
- Go to the location of your choosing.
- Keep track of what shots you did.
- Look at the pointers to make the shots better.
Gather The Audio
Watch your footage at least once through and write down what kind of vibe you get from it, then find some free music on a website like the ones in the YouTube library! I keep track of what music and effects I want with paper and pen; it’s easier for me that way; I like crossing things off physically.
I don’t always use all the music I’ve gathered. Better safe than sorry! But don’t spend too much time on searching for music; it’ll drain your energy.
If you have rhythmic banging (for an example: watch my rat video) in your video, it makes it look way cooler when you have music with a beat that goes along with the rhythm of the banging. Of course, there’s also a wide variety of genres to choose from!
- Watch through your musicless footage.
- Decide on what kind of music you want for it.
- Look up free music and effects, and download them.
- Keep track of the audio by writing down which track is for what part of your video.
Put Everything Together
Cut all the stuff out you don’t want! You don’t have to use all the footage. If you don’t think it works, don’t use it! Play around with it!
You can either start with putting in the audio first, and then layering video on top of it. I usually like this approach better; It’s fun cutting the video according to what the lyrics say and the beat. Or you can start with the footage, edit it completely, and then cut up the audio underneath. I usually do it the first way. But as you can see here, I had a lot of fun with this new approach of layering the music under the already fully edited movie.
In the end, nothing matters. Make something out of nothing; the artist makes what the artist sees.