YouTube is great. With millions of videos available on any subject you want. Including entertainment, music, sport, keep-fit, education, religion, inspiration, motivation, business, cartoons and more.
Thousands of videos are uploaded each week, by entrepreneurs, enthusiasts, and amateurs. And it shows. In the poor presentation, format, production, direction and execution.
I'm no auteur, but I've watched enough poorly produced videos on YouTube, to offer some advice. You can tell right away if the video is a professional product.
In an effort to improve the experience on behalf of thousands of hapless viewers, here are some tips to improve your YouTube home-made video.
1. Prepare a script
That's right, just like the big boys in Hollywood. The studios know how to do it. Learn from them. Listening to you um, errhh and ad-lib, while losing your way and your thought train, is no fun. Its distracting and a turn off. Prepare a tight script, that encapsulates what you wanna say, and say it. Use bullet points. Stay focused. Stay on topic.
2. Prepare Your Apps
Sitting watching you fumble around the menu for an application hi-lights how innept you can be. You can't find and launch an application? How do you expect me to follow you after that? Create a link / shortcut and put it on the desktop so you can locate it and hit it first time.
3. Mouse Movements
Want me to watch your mouse movements and follow you around the screen? Then stop jumping around like a cat walking on hot coals. Plan your mouse pointer movements in advance. Watching your mouse jump around is making me sick as a roller-coaster ride after 10 beers. Keep your mouse movements to a minimum. Make them precise. Keep unnecessary mouse movements to a minimum. Even better, eliminate them.
4. Clear Your Desktop
You love your desktop. Its the cooler that Justin Beiber. I know you just love the fancy graphics and thousands of folders and shortcuts you have sitting there, but they are a distraction. Make your desktop black, navy blue or white. Keep it to one color and keep it empty. Make it plain, so I can see what is happening. Camouflage is great for warfare, but not when I'm trying to follow your tutorial.
5. Clarify Your Message
Decide. Before you fire up that application your wanna show, decide what your gonna show and how your gonna show it. Following you and your mouse jumping around the screen while you vacillate indecisively, makes me want to hit the kill switch.
6. Sit Still
I know your nervous, but if you want to do a face to cam presentation, sit still while you convey your message. Watching you swing circles in your high-back leather chair is annoying. Sit still dammit. TV news readers sit still. Why do they do that? Think focus.
7. Cam Shake
Keep the camera still. Cam shake makes me wanna throw up. I know its vogue to recreate the experience of the first person point-of-view. Camera shake sucks. If the camera is embedded in your laptop, place the laptop on a firm. stable surface such as a desk. It will bounce around on the bed and I will chuck.
This is important. Don't sit in the dark. You want your face on cam? Use lighting. Don't put the light behind you. You'll be thrown into silhouette. Place the light source behind the camera or beside the camera. Light needs to flood your face so we can see you.
9. Dry Run
Whatever it is you wish to show, demonstrate, convey, enlighten, elucidate, do a dry run first. Review it critically to see how it fares. Do more than one take. In theatre, they practice and practice and practice. When almost there, they do a dress rehearsal, before the show begins. Don't assume the product in the 'can' is the finished product. It may not be.
10. Review Your Takes
Genius like Orson Welles produce perfect cinema in one take. Us lesser folk must toil to reach their sublime and elevated levels of technical creativity. Until then, review your takes. Watch it "critically and objectively". I know its your work and it may hurt, but if the first take (or second or third, etc) is poor. Scrub it and do another.
11. Independent Input/Peer Review
We don't like to be criticised, but sometimes in producing your masterpiece, its essential. Get others to review your video. Best friend, girlfriend, mum, uncle, dad, grandma. These are good starting points, but they may not want to hurt your delicate sensibilities. Find someone more detached who does not mind trashing your efforts. Ask them to be cold, clinical, level headed, but fair. They dont have to understand the technical nuances of your work, but they may let you know if it sucks. If it does, ditch it and do another.
12. Learn From The Pros
Go to VideoJug. Watch some of their videos and get cues on lighting, camera angles, camera position, movement, and so on. These videos are produced by pros who know what they are doing. Learn from them. Aspire to match the quality of their product. Keep trying. Keep refining. Keep learning.
If you want me and others to come back and view your future efforts, please consider these minor points. Or I may not bother.