If you've ever spent more than ten minutes on YouTube, you've undoubtedly noticed tons of companies making helpful educational videos. And you wanna get in on that too!
After all, video is a great way to connect with your audience. And, when it comes to marketing, writing blog posts can take forever. Wouldn't it be simpler if you could just set up a camera and build your company's online presence by making some video?
And then, perhaps, you went Googling for some how-to-get-started advice, and quickly found yourself overwhelmed. Video is really expensive, as it turns out. And it can take a very, very long time to learn the tools.
What if there existed a way for you to make a video right now, using nothing but the smartphone in your pocket (and a tripod to attach it to)?
In this guide, you'll learn how to research your audience, choose a topic, write a script, shoot, edit, and produce a video from scratch, using a free smartphone app called Adobe Premiere Clip!
First, choose your topic.
But… how does one do this? Of all the myriad things you could make your video about, how the heck are you supposed to choose? You could spend literal hours thinking about this.
My go-to strategy for years has been to answer a real question that real people on the internet are asking.
I learned all this from Amy Hoy and Alex Hillman over at Stacking The Bricks. This guide breaks it down most excellently.
How to choose a topic, in a nutshell…
- Find an online community where your customers hang out.
- Take note (preferably literal notes, on paper or a text editor!) of the questions people ask.
- Begin to notice that people ask certain questions over and over again.
That's it! You just found your topic: any one of those questions that people never seem to stop asking.
But should I really go with this topic when a bajillion others have done it way better than I probably could?
Yes! You should definitely do this. In the words of the one and only Patrick McKenzie...
And if you wanted to get really fancy, you could consider finding a content gap, where you take a long, hard look at the questions that have, so far, gone unanswered by other makers-of-content-marketing.
Note: at this stage, that's probably premature and is liable to make things so complex that you throw your hands in frustration and never make video again. Be ye warned!
Show me an example plz
It just so happens that I make educational video for my audience! So, I'll walk you through an example of something I might make.
Choose your community!
I hang out in the Wistia community, which takes the form of a Slack team.
Why the Wistia community? Well, apart from being full of super cool people, it's also frequented by the exact audience I want to serve: people who make video for business and are kinda new at it. Not just video people, per se, but that particular subgroup of video people.
I'm gonna start with the #production channel, because I know stuff about video production and can probably be the most helpful there.
Look for simple questions you could show the answer to.
We're working with Premiere Clip and the phone built into your camera, and we can put that camera in front of any real-life thing we want. Let's take advantage of that and show the answer!
So, with that in mind, let's set a timer for twenty minutes and just read some questions.
Here's what I came up with...
Let's pick our favorite.
A lot of people in video-land ask for gear recommendations. Ideally, if I had a piece of gear that I especially liked and could recommend, that would be a great opportunity to show what I like about it. But in this case, I don't, so I'll move on.
Some of the topics are about software on a computer. This would be an outstanding example of a topic you could answer with video, but not with Premiere Clip. If you need to show something happening on a screen, it's (arguably) done best with screen-capturing software, such as ScreenFlow.
Then I started noticing that a lot of people have problems working with audio on their cameras.
Y'see, most videographers – including us, just for now! – start out by recording audio directly on their cameras. Depending on their environment, this can result in a weak, echo-y recording (commonly referred to as "bathroom sound" in this community).
This problem can be easily solved with an external microphone – except that most cameras don't have the right mic input. So they buy an external audio recorder, and then sync the audio and video in post-production. This can become tedious, and the methods for doing this automatically don't always work in post.
Note that I saw all of these problems – a recording with a lot of echo, someone asking for sound-dampening material to prevent the echo, someone asking about how to connect a mic to a camera, someone being unable to sync the audio in post – amongst this discussion.
As such, I dare say now would be a great chance to solve (or minimize) all these problems at once by teaching people how to connect a microphone directly to their camera, by way of the audio recorder they already own.
Voila: a topic that would be tricky to explain in text alone, but easy to show in a video!
Questions? Need some consulting on this topic?
Hit me up using the chat widget below!
Next, write a script
A really simple format is best while you're getting started with video. Here's my favorite...
- Opening stand-up, where you introduce yourself and state the problem
- Show how to solve the problem, in distinct steps
- Closing stand-up, including a call-to-action
Seriously, do not make this complicated, because you will never finish.
Here's an example of this formula in action...
So, what would a script look like for my video?
First comes the opening stand-up. I could say something like...
"Hi, I'm Nick! I've noticed that, when recording a video, many videographers are pretty dissatisfied with the built-in mic on their cameras. Eventually they'll start recording their audio into a separate audio recorder, and then syncing the audio and video in post. But this is usually tedious, and sometimes your software just doesn't allow you to do it automatically. So today, I'm gonna walk you through the steps of recording your microphone directly into your camera!
Oh, and by the way, this doesn't have to be something that you'll follow verbatim – least of all because you'll probably have a hard time remembering the exact words when it's time to record. A bullet list will work just fine!
Now it's time to show how to solve the problem.
If you've chosen a simple, straightforward topic, you'll have a much better time here.
In this case, I'm simply going to walk someone through the steps, one at a time, starting with the materials they'll need.
"You'll need: a camera with a microphone jack, and an eighth-inch or 3.5 millimeter male-to-male audio cable."
For the sake of brevity, I'll skip the remaining solutions for now (you'll get to see them later!).
And finally, the closing stand-up, including the call-to-action.
If your aim is to build an audience, you definitely want to give them a chance to hear more from you. Now's the time to do it!
"If you'd like to learn more about making your videos sound as professional as possible, sign up for my newsletter below!"
And then supplement that, of course, with a newsletter signup form below the video.
Your CTA might be to ask them to subscribe to you on YouTube, or follow you on Facebook, or whatever. The important thing is that, the next time you make a video, it'll be put in front of your audience as effortlessly as possible.
Before you roll...
I recommend rehearsing these lines repeatedly. Like, ten times. It's a lot easier to get them into your head now than after you've started recording!
Now it's time to record!
Stuff to buy!
If you don't have one already, I definitely recommend...
Let's set up that phone!
Now the time has come for us to get rolling. Let's set up our phone and record the opening and closing stand-ups – at the same time!
But where should I set up?
Since this is your first Premiere Clip video ever, don't sweat it if you don't have a fancy studio just yet! The best backdrop for now is somewhere relevant to the thing you're talking about (e.g. standing in front of an espresso machine if you're making a video about espresso).
Oh, but do try to find a place that's reasonably quiet.
This video walks you through the steps of setting up...
Those steps, one more time, are...
- Attach the smartphone mount to the tripod, and your phone to the mount.
- Adjust your tripod so that it's level with the ground.
- Raise the tripod to match your eye level.
- Stand about an arm's length from the phone.
- Turn the camera around and switch to the front-facing camera.
- If you're using an iPhone, tap your face once. This will tell your camera where to focus.
- Hit the Record button.
Questions? Need some consulting on this topic?
Hit me up using the chat widget below!
Now it's time to deliver those lines.
You may, suddenly, have a lot more difficulty remembering what you're supposed to say. This is normal, and it will undoubtedly take time for you to get good at it.
Here are some ACTION TIPS for nailing those lines.
- Keep stand-ups as short as possible. You'll have more time for words in the next part, when the camera isn't staring at you.
- Don't curse yourself for getting it wrong! Instead, praise yourself for getting it right. This is more effective than you might think.
- If you find yourself breathless halfway through a line, rewrite your script. Break one sentence into two. Replace interminable, circumlocutory sentences with simpler ones.
- Don't be afraid to be extemporaneous if memorizing lines isn't your thing!
- If you flub a line: stop, wait two seconds, and start over. That two-second gap will make it a lot easier to edit.
Here's the raw, probably-somewhat-embarrassing raw video from my stand-ups.
As you can see, if I make a mistake, I simply stop and try again.
In case you're saying, "But Nick! You clearly have a natural talent for, like, saying words and stuff!": that "natural" talent comes from doing this over and over again since, I dunno, 2001?
And in case you're saying, "Hey Nick, that's some boss af lighting. What kind did you use?", I'll be posting some lighting tutorials soon! In the meantime, grabbing a pair of these lights, and some cheap stands to go with them, will get you a long way.
And in case you're saying, "Hey Nick, that's some ace lighting you got there. What kind did you use?", I'll be posting some lighting tutorials soon! In the meantime, grabbing a pair of these lights, and some cheap stands to go with them, will get you a long way.
And in case you're saying, "Hey Nick, that's some sweet-as lighting! What lights did you use?", I'll be posting some lighting tutorials soon! In the meantime, grabbing a pair of these lights, and some cheap stands to go with them, will get you a long way.
Now let's get those action shots.
Finally, our chance to show the audience how to do stuff.
This part is kind of self-explanatory because we're just using the camera app in your phone, which you already know how to use!
Here are all the clips I got...
It's Premiere Clip time!
First, if you haven't already, it's a good idea to review your clips and make sure you're satisfied with them.
Note: you probably won't be completely satisfied with them. It's tempting to go back and shoot over and over again until it's perfect. This will make the video production process, in your mind, more tedious than it needs to be. Right now, we're going for "good enough". Do a quick check and move on!
Download Premiere Clip from your platform's app store.
This is the app you're looking for...
It's available for both iOS and Android, and the UI varies very little between them.
Now let's edit this thing.
As for how to actually edit, that's better explained in a video. So, this eleven-minute tutorial will take you step-by-step through editing the sample video!
Here's the final product...
So, what are we supposed to do with this video?
Congratulations! You just made a video.
(If you have not successfully made a video, hit me up and let me know where you got stuck!)
First, we need to get this video off of your phone and onto the internet.
The most obvious way to do this is to upload the video straight to YouTube. So, if you don't already have a YouTube account for your company, now would be a great time to make one!
Unfortunately, as of this writing, it seems as though Premiere Clip's "Upload to YouTube" feature isn't working correctly. So, if you're on an iPhone, the next best way would be to save it to your Camera Roll first, and then upload to YouTube from the Photos app...
Now that it's on YouTube, get it in front of as many people as possible!
- Do you have a newsletter? Send your video!
- Do you have a blog? Post it there!
- Post it on all your social media outlets!
- Are you friends with anyone with a sizeable audience? Ask if they'd share your video on social, or even as guest content!
Oh, and one final thought...
Now that you've made your first video, it's really easy to never make another one ever again.
So, I recommend you open up your calendar and choose at least three days in the near future when you can make more.