I’ve been shooting and editing video every other day, since I’m video logging the couch to 5k thing. It’s interesting to bend one’s mind to an endeavor one has extremely minimal experience with. I find the whole thing is kind of like still photography, just with an odd twist. Also, I’m learning new things each time I try to put together something interesting.
One important thing is to have a narrative, something you’re trying to say. A lot of times I’m just trying to give an impression of what it’s like to be on my route. Sometimes I want to show some amusing things. Sometimes I have an anecdote or rumination I’d like to convey. But overall, there needs to be something for the viewer to hang their hat on. I’m not very good at it so far, but it’s really fascinating to try to piece together footage into something coherent.
2. Throw stuff away
I’ve learned in still photography that one thing you really need to do is delete most of your photos. If you can’t say definitively that some picture was crap, you aren’t going to learn how to make it better. As long as you keep crap photos around you’re sort of saying, ‘well this was okay I guess’. It’s extra important in video, it seems, because that long shot you liked of the ocean is only meaningful to you because you were there, it’s just boring to the viewer unless you can tell them why it should be interesting. If you can’t do that, you have to delete it.
A corollary is that less is best. You can give the feel of the ocean (I guess an “establishing shot”) with about 3 seconds or less of footage. Anything more is a waste of time and attention.
3. Change perspectives
There’s a reason people use jump cuts: it keeps things interesting. Sometimes I bore myself watching me go on and on. If I cut a bit of silence so there’s a sort of jump, it keeps me engaged in what I’m watching.
4. Delete the ums
Exactly what it says. Cut out the parts of the video where you say “um” or “uh”. Even better: don’t say “um” and “uh”.
I guess the main portion of what I’ve learned so far is to delete stuff. I’m getting pretty good at that (seriously, I have maybe 45 minutes of monologue and lovingly slow pans across the trail you haven’t seen). Next up is trying to get a more cohesive narrative and find a solution to the whole bouncy camera thing. I don’t like the imovie/youtube shakiness adjustments because all it does is zoom in and rotate to compensate for jumpiness.
Maybe I can spring for something like an HD Hero2 Camera