Web Video Tools & Tips for Hopeful Creators

I’m going to be honest here, I don’t know much about making videos. (Especially not about making videos that are good enough quality to put on the internet for the world to see.) For your benefit and mine, here are a few tools to help a novice like myself make decent web videos:

Begin by Brainstorming

If you’re not yet sure what type of content you’d like to create, it can be helpful to try to some brainstorming techniques. Ironically, I really like this YouTube video about brainstorming new ideas from Vertical Measures, a digital marketing firm based in Phoenix.

If you’re looking to make content that is more personal to you, but you’re not sure where to start, I would suggest making a list of topics that you have questions about. I did this a lot when I was in charge of writing blog posts for Indiana INTERNnet earlier this year. If you’re curious about something or have opinions on a certain topic, it’s likely that other people do, too, and will be interested in the content you create.

Grab a Gimbal

Gimbals are handy little holsters that let you stabilize whatever device you’re using to film with. We relied heavily on gimbals at one my internships this past summer when filming videos for Facebook advertising campaigns. Tripods and other devices exist to help you stabilize a camera when you’re not moving while you film.

DJI OSMO mobile (with iPhone 7)

Gimbals usually start out at around $100, so they’re a considerable investment (to me, anyway). I will be creating a video for a project this semester, and since it’s a one-time thing I probably won’t get one of these. I did want to mention these because if you’re set on shooting any sort of motion where the camera is moving too, a gimbal is a must. Your footage will look much more professional if the camera has been stabilized than if it is shaky while you film.

Even the smallest of trembles do not go unnoticed, and the internet really doesn’t need more low quality videos floating around.

BONUS TIP: If you’re super serious about filming and stabilizing your camera, vlogger Julien Solomita just made a cool video trying out the Osmo Pocket camera. It’s not much larger than a USB and automatically stabilizes itself. At $349, it’s a bigger investment than a gimbal alone, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching Julien try it out.

Stock Shots

Just because you’re creating a video doesn’t mean that every shot has to have movement. There are a variety of ways to use still images interlaced with moving video to create a nice finished product. Lots of websites exist to provide stock photos for you to use. Google Images has a handy tool that sorts out all images “labeled for reuse,” which means they are not copyrighted. Some websites do charge you for using their images so be leery when selecting the site. Have a discerning eye and watch for watermarks on images before dropping them into your video.

Still images are good for transitional moments and are also helpful if you’re relying heavily on audio for certain parts of the video. A still image allows viewers to focus on the sounds rather than what’s happening visually.

Make it in iMovie

Despite its popularity, iMovie is the tool on this list I have the least experience with. However, it is commonly known as an extremely user-friendly app to help you create video content. Want to learn how to use iMovie? Check out this guide from Macworld.

Audio by Adobe

Adobe Premiere is one of many softwares available with the Adobe Creative Cloud. It is designed to edit video and audio footage, but it much more complicated to use than similar tools like iMovie. I have used Adobe Premiere on several occasions, most recently over the course of this past summer.

My favorite thing about this program is that it allows you to splice and layer audio and imagery however you want. Though there are some more complicated elements to the program, putting together background audio is relatively simple and mainly consists of dragging and clipping your audio files in the workspace. Plenty of videos exist online to help walk you through the program should you run into any issues.

Build it in Biteable

If you were to rank video editing tools from simple to complicated, Biteable would certainly be more simplified than iMovie or Adobe Premiere. Biteable is a free website with a variety of templates available to put together short videos and moving graphics.

The simplicity of this site is not without its drawbacks – very little content is customizable. I would not necessarily recommend using Biteable for a full YouTube video, but it’s definitely handy for social media videos or promotional clips.

For an example of a video I created using Biteable, check out this post. 

There you have it, six tips for beginner video creators! I’ll leave you with one last bit of wisdom – if I could figure out how to use most of these tools, you definitely can, too.

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