YouTube is a big deal. I’m sure you’ve heard the stats trying to explain just how massive YouTube is. In fact, before you finish reading this post, nearly 1,000 hours of video will be uploaded to YouTube. But here’s the truth: Most of those minutes are awful. Boring, horrible quality -- and painful to watch.
If you want to stand out from the crowd and create high-quality videos that people actually want to watch, I have good news. By following just a few simple tips, your videos will improve dramatically, resulting in more views, more sales and more recognition.
The best part? It’s not going to cost you an arm and a leg either. Here's how:
1. Your sound quality matters.
Surprised that my first tip involves sound? Don’t be. Sound is probably more important to achieving a high-quality movie than video. I know, that seems odd, but stay with me a moment. People can forgive mediocre video quality. But if the sound is low, distorted or sounds like it was recorded inside a cave, your viewers are quickly going to click next.
Spend some money on a Lavalier microphone. Even an inexpensive one, like the Audio-Technica ATR-3350 -- $25.00 on Amazon -- would do the trick. Then, after recording the video, run a basic noise-removal filter to the recording. You’ll be shocked at how much noise it removes. Nearly every semi-advanced audio editor has this filter, and a quick search on YouTube will show you just how to do it. Or, hire someone on UpWork.com or Fiverr.com to remove the noise for you for a few dollars.
Lighting doesn’t need to be complicated, but it needs to be there. Lighting will make even a low-quality camera produce much better video, and people just enjoy watching videos that are well-lit.
If you are recording at your computer, stick a couple desk lamps behind and around the screen. You also may want to invest in an inexpensive lighting kit, which can be obtained for as low as $150 from Amazon, like this one that includes the backdrop setup as well. It also helps to place a light behind you, pointed away from you. This will help you stand out from the backdrop and give more depth to the final look.
3. Editing with jump cuts
One of the easiest and fastest ways to record a video is using the jump-cut method. A jump cut is when your video is actually made up of dozens (or hundreds) of short little clips all placed together to form one cohesive video.
The benefit of jump cut videos is two-fold:
- It saves time when recording, as you will not need to memorize any long scripts.
- It keeps the video pace moving along quickly, thus keeping the viewer engaged.
To record a jump-cut video, write out your entire script beforehand, but break it up into simple, easy-to-say sentences. For example:
"Have you ever wanted to invest in real estate but lack the down payment? My name is Brandon Turner, and on today’s video I’m going to show you three simple steps for buying real estate with little to no money out of your pocket. The first step is going to be what I call house hacking. House hacking is the process of ...."
Notice how each line is broken up, on it’s own, into short, simple sentences? This will make your recording so much easier. After I’ve scripted the entire video, I simply grab a friend / spouse / kid to help. We click the record button on the camera, and my helper reads one line out loud. I then repeat that line while looking at the camera. Then, my helper reads another line, and I say that line out loud.
This continues all the way through the video, and the other person’s voice is later just edited out, leaving just one continuous, fast-paced narration.
Here’s an example of a jump-cut video, explained within a jump-cut video from James Wedmore:
4. Pick the right camera.
Finally, let’s talk about the camera you use. You have several choices, depending on your price range. Let’s talk about the three most common:
- Your laptop or computer: If you have a camera on your laptop or desktop computer, you can record with this. However, if your computer is more than two years old, I’d probably recommend purchasing a separate web camera, as the quality will be much higher. You can pick one up, like this one, on Amazon for around $50.
- Your smartphone: If you have a newer iPhone or other smartphone, you can actually record a pretty great video using the built-in camera. As I mentioned earlier, if you get the sound quality and the lighting quality right, this option might suit you just fine.
- A digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera: Finally, if your really want to take your video to new heights, upgrade your camera to a DSLR camera from a company such Nikon or Canon. DSLR cameras can give you the clearest image, as well as the depth-of-field look (blurry background) that makes a video look professional.
DSLR cameras start around $400 (and go up dramatically from there), such as the Canon EOS Rebel T5. I would also recommend upgrading to a 50mm lens for a more professional look with greater depth-of-field capabilities.
Putting it All Together
Your videos don’t need to suck. By implementing the tips outlined in this post, you can take your videos from “eh” to “awesome” -- without needing to break the bank doing it.
The following video is one I made that uses the tips explained in this post. This isn't perfect, by all means, but it accomplishes the purpose: getting views. And in case you are wondering how I did the pop-up text, here's instruction on that.
For more great resources on making high quality videos, check out:
Wistia.com/library: Perhaps some of the most entertaining and high-quality educational videos I’ve ever seen. The team at Wistia put a lot of effort into helping you become an amazing video maker, and the training videos are 100-percent free.
JamesWedmore.com: James is one of the most respected online video trainers -- and for good reason. His videos and courses have helped thousands, if not millions, of individuals make better videos. I learned the jump-cut method from James and use it all the time.
Fizzle.co: The guys at Fizzle are not only hilarious, they produce some incredible videos, and show their members how to do the same. If you are an entrepreneur looking to make better videos -- or podcasts, blog posts, or anything else digitally-related -- a membership at Fizzle might be the best $35 a month you’ll spend.
Do you have any other tips for making videos? Something simple and inexpensive that can make a big difference? Please, share your thoughts below.