The Biggest Lessons I Learned By Creating Video Content

Leo Saini video lessons

Written by Leo Saini

Experienced copywriter, blogger, and content consultant.

5th November 2020

So I turned on the camera, and with a lot of hope and enthusiasm, I started shooting the video for my first-ever writing course.

After an hour of testing several camera and lighting positions, I was finally ready to press the record button.

But then I thought, “Maybe I should wash my face one more time and be a pretty boy.”

I did it, then came back and hit the record button.

Twenty seconds into the video, our cat jumped in front of me and yelled, “meeeeoww, meeeeoww!!!” (Translation: I don’t give a shit about your little writing course. I want some food, human.)

Interesting story so far, isn’t it? Well, in this article, I am going to talk about the biggest hurdles (and solutions) when creating video content. Let’s begin.

Lesson #1: If You Don’t Have Pin-Drop Silence, Good Luck!

Never in my life have I ever been so concerned about vehicles passing nearby my house before.

“Goddamit, can’t you just stay home for a while? Don’t you know I’m recording?” I thought.

When you’re writing a blog, you probably won’t get distracted by babies crying in your house or your pets trying to show you some extra affection. Even if there’s a loud frat party going on next door, you can still finish a blog and your readers won’t care at all — as long as it’s a kickass blog.

However, when you’re shooting a video, especially for courses and tutorials, even a slight breeze from the window could mean retaking the whole shot.

There’s just no room for noises in videos — at all. You don’t want your audience to see a video in which you were not even considerate enough to make sure that there are no background noises.

Solution

Try not to record your video during peak traffic hours, which is around 8:00-10:00 AM in the morning and 4:00–6:00 PM in the evening from Monday to Friday. The vehicle noises will just annoy you so much that you’ll think it’s impossible to record a video. However, this doesn’t apply if you live in a place where there’s no traffic.

Secondly, if you have pets, make sure they’re fed and busy. You don’t want to hear “bow-wow” and “meow” in the background while you’re filming. Also, if you have flatmates around, tell them what you’re doing and request them to be mindful of the noises for a while. My flatmates were very supportive, fortunately.

For me, the best time for recording was on the weekends, when everyone was out partying and the road traffic was quiet.

Lesson #2: Unless You’re a News Reporter, It’s Really Hard to Stick to the Video Script

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

I had the outline and the script in front of me, yet I said, “get your credits” instead of “get your name in the credits.” And this is just one example, a lot of similar mistakes occurred throughout the shoot.

When there are hundreds of words in front of you and you know that the camera is rolling, you could end up being a little anxious and try to speak things faster to get it over with quickly.

I had to stop at times and say to myself, “Leo, slow down! Slow the f**k down! You’ve got all day to shoot this.”

Now I realize how hard it is to be a news reporter. They do it flawlessly. It’s like they’re actually looking at you (but in reality, they’re looking at a script on the prompter). However, it’s funny when they make a mistake. Just YouTube news bloopers and you’ll see. This one news reporter said “panties” instead of “pantries” — it’s hilarious.

Solution

It’s simple, eat the elephant one bite at a time. When you see a giant script in front of you and you feel the pressure to read it out on camera as fast as possible, you’ll make mistakes and that’ll make your editing even harder.

I structured my video course into thirty different chapters and I only shot one chapter at a time, then took some break before jumping on to the next one.

Also, you don’t always need a script. For example, Joe Rogan’s podcast isn’t scripted. People just share their thoughts openly. If you’re good at that, screw the script and freestyle it. Even I freestyled it at times, despite having a script in front of me.

Lesson #3: Editing Is the Toughest Part

Image for post
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

The course that I’ve created is forty minutes long. Guess how long it took to edit it? Three, 12-hour days, and a few more hours on the fourth day. This includes the video rendering time (because 4K rendering takes a lot longer than older formats, such as 1080p).

Now, of course, you can shoot and edit in 720p or 1080p to speed things up, but should you? Remember, the video you shoot is going to be out there for everyone to see — forever. If you’re making yourself immortal, why not do it in the best possible way using the state-of-the-art technology?

Also, while you’re editing, you’ll realize that some sections will need reshooting. For example, if you forget to mention something important or say something that cannot be edited, you’ll have to set up the camera and lights one more time, wear the same clothes again, and make sure your hair and facial features look exactly like it in the bulk of the video.

This means you might have to shave your beard again or wait to grow that stubble. And for the ladies, this means you’ll need to use the same makeup, lipstick, and eyelashes like the rest of the video while you reshoot a small section that you missed.

It’s not like editing a blog where you can just click edit, add a couple of sentences, and hit publish again. Video editing takes a lot more effort — I mean it’s hundred times difficult!

Solution

If you perform on camera like a pro, that is, if you make lesser mistakes, and speak articulately, editing will be a heck of a lot easier.

It doesn’t matter if you spend a lot of money on expensive editing software and graphic cards or not. If you mess up your actual video content, you’ll just end up editing and reshooting and waste twice the time.

So before you press record, make sure you’re in the right state of mind. Be careful, but not alert. Be mindful, but not anxious. Be bold, but not loud.

Make sure that the camera is placed properly and the lighting is on point. And most importantly, say things right in the first attempt itself because retaking shots will just increase your headache while editing.

Conclusion

In my experience, creating video content is far more time-consuming and requires a lot more planning as compared to written content.

But maybe things will get a little easier as I get used to it. However, there’s no doubt that the amount of effort required will be a lot more than writing blogs.

The threshold to entry is very high when it comes to video marketing. For instance, YouTube requires you to have 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of watch time before they monetize your videos.

Video SEO is a whole different story. You can change and edit keywords in your blogs to improve SEO rankings, but with videos, once they’re out, they’re out — you can’t edit them. That’s why an 800-word blog can be transformed into a 1500-word blog with better keywords, but a 5-minute video will be a 5-minute video with the same words in it — until the end of time.

Even though blogging is here to stay, there’s no doubt that video content marketing is the future and a lot of marketers are adopting it already. However, the procedure to create written content and video content is totally separate and requires a different skillset.

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