Video Editing

5 Simple Video Making Tips for Beginners

November 23, 2021

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Article by Colette Nichol, Solo Filmmaker and Story Strategist

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Looking for some video making tips for beginners?

Let’s get this done! If you’re ready to improve your cinematic video skills and get started with some video making tips for beginners, then keep reading. I’ve got 5 simple tips that will boost your video creation skills. I went from being a terrible video maker to being a pro solo filmmaker, and I KNOW that you can too!

Looking for some video-making tips for beginners? You’re in the right place! Let’s get you started.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Pay attention to your lighting and get enough light.
  2. Choose a great-looking set or background.
  3. Pump the tunes!
  4. Get better at editing!
  5. Upgrade your editing tools.

You’ve been messing around with video for a little while now.

You have a few finished videos to your name, and you’re comfortable enough with the whole process that you’re ready to up the ante and start producing videos that look closer to what the pros are producing. If you need some video-making tips for beginners, I’m here to help you.

It’s not that difficult to improve your videos, but many people never take the time.  Since you’re reading this, you must be committed to giving your audience the best possible quality you can. 

Nonetheless, we’re going to take baby steps. 

I’m not going to throw you into the world of crazy high-tech audio-video production.  But I’d like to introduce you to a few simple things and a couple more complex things that will make your videos 100% better. Right, let’s review how you can start getting videos that look more like the pros: 

RELATED POSTS: Cinematic Lighting for Filmmaking

5 Video Making Tips for Beginners

I’ve got five main tips for you that will help your video making go from beginner to intermediate.

5 Video Making Tips for Beginners

Video Making Tip 1: Pay attention to your lighting and get enough light.

 Most videos are not shot with enough light, but you don’t realize that because you’re using your iPhone or video camera on automatic. First off, automatic settings are the devil.  Too strong? Sorry, but it’s true.  If you have the option of manual settings, start learning how to use them! If you don’t that’s fine, but keep reading.

Automatic exposure (which is what your iPhone has) means that your camera will increase its sensitivity to light (the sun or your house lights) until it can produce a usable image.  But if you didn’t really have enough light in the first place, your image will be muddy and fuzzy, and grainy because your camera is basically producing light itself by making the image sensor ridiculously sensitive. Sure your image will be visible, but it won’t be very good-looking.

Video making with your cell phone

OPTIONS FOR ENHANCING YOUR LIGHTING ON A BUDGET

a) Work Light  

Add cheap work lights from home depot with a white sheet or curtain hanging down in front of them to soften the light or if the lights aren’t super hot you can wrap white fabric or nylons over them to soften the light. 

b) Outside 

Shoot outside in the early morning or late afternoon when the light isn’t crazy harsh. Don’t shoot at high noon on a super sunny day unless you’re in the shade as the only way to make that work is to learn a bunch of techniques that are not within the scope of this post. 

c) Windows!

 Get way closer to that big window you’ve been using to light all your shots and pump up the volume of the sun with some white foam board which you can use to reflect even more light onto you. This involves some experimentation. 

d) Computer 

Use your laptop screen set to a neutral screen saver as an extra light.  Your computer screen emits a ton of light, if you use a skin-colored screen saver this can actually work as an additional light source.  Especially if you amplify it by adding white foam board into the mix. 

Video Making Tips for Beginners
If you’re a beginner and you need video-making tips, it can help to make friends with people who are also learning how to make videos.

Video Making Tip 2: Choose a great-looking set or background.

Organize your backdrop so it pops.  Imagine you’re cleaning up for an important visitor.  Then get theatrical and think of fun things that you can add that will give visual interest to your “set”.Add flowers or a glass of water or a stack of books.  Groom your set like you would groom your hair (or in my case better since my hair is usually a disaster).  Side note: it’s better to have crazy bad hair than a crazy bad set.

So take the time to groom your set. Move props around and make sure silly things like electrical outlets are hidden. Put attention towards your framing and create a background or set that tells a story. You will be glad you did. This is the cheapest way to improve a video.

Video Making Tip 3: Pump the tunes!

Music, my friends, is what separates the caterpillars from the butterflies.  Music is so important that I want to write this whole paragraph in capital letters.  But I won’t, because that’s just passé. If you don’t believe how important music is try watching a scary scene from a horror movie that would normally freak you out but turn off the sound.  Not scary at all. Music helps to make the experience of watching a video more emotional.  It’s not an element to scoff at.  Get great music for cheap from Vimeo.com, PremiumBeats.com, or Audioblocks.com.

So pump the tunes in your videos. Just not so high that you can’t hear the dialogue. It’s a balancing act. Take the time to get the balance right.

Sound editing
If you’re a beginner, then getting better at adding sound to your videos will make a huge difference to the quality.

 Video Making Tip 4: Get better at editing!

 Editing can make the difference between a so-so video and an out-of-the-ball-park video.  So one easy way to make your videos better is to start practicing your editing with diligence. Take it seriously. Watch youtube videos and pull apart what other people you like are doing. Then try those techniques out. And start cutting more. Don’t cut less. Cut MORE!

Video Making Tip 5: Upgrade your editing tools.

 Look into going pro with your editing suite. What you might not know is that iMovie and other amateur editing programs are actually harder to use than Final Cut or Premiere Pro (both professional tools).  Yes, the pro editing suites give you way more options which can seem overwhelming at first, but they are designed to provide an intuitive and flexible experience, and that is what they do. When I have used iMovie (which I just did for the sake of this post…I needed to re-test my theory) I feel like an idiot.  Whereas when I use Premier Pro, I feel unstoppable. You can get free trials of both Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro, so there’s really no reason not to test them out and see how much better they are.  In the long run, you won’t regret it.

Video Editing for Beginners
Editing is the core of good video making. The best video-making for beginners tip that I can give you is to….get better at editing! It’s simply a matter of time and patience.

 So yes, making your videos look more like the pros does take some time and effort, and love, but it will pay off.

You’ll start feeling more confident about what you’re doing, happier about sharing your work, and proud of the progress you make with this utterly magical medium!


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About the Author

Hi! I’m Colette Nichol. I’m a solo filmmaker and story strategist based out of rainy Vancouver, Canada. I’ve been making videos and micro films for small businesses and global brands since 2014.

Plus, I LOVE to help aspiring filmmakers pursue their dreams and start making films. This blog is designed to help you gain the knowledge you need to become a filmmaker.

If you want more, get on the waitlist for the Story Envelope Academy Solo Filmmaking Mentorship Program. It opens up 1-2 times per year and is the best way to become a filmmaking or video pro fast!

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I'm Colette, here to give you a filmmaking skills boost! 

Welcome! I’m a story strategist, filmmaker, and digital media consultant based out of rainy Vancouver, Canada. My mission is to give you the tools and tactics you need to pursue your filmmaking dreams, so you can start making films this year! No more waiting for the right time.  Join the inbox party: take my free mini-course and start building your filmmaking skill set.

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