Take a behind the scenes listen to the audio workflow that I use to produce an episode of The Podcasters’ Studio.
Want to learn how to shoot better video for your podcast, YouTube channel or just your home movies? I take you through the most important steps to getting a more professional look out of your video camera.
If you’re shooting a video podcast or thinking about taking some of your audio podcast content and migrating it over to YouTube, there are some basic elements to shooting video that will greatly improve your production values. Here are the most important factors to improving the overall look of your video productions:
- Learn your camera – Don’t get caught fumbling through the menu and dials after you’ve hit record. Shoot some test video and read the manual. Simply knowing where the controls are located will save you lots of time, frustration and messed up shots.
- Put the camera in manual mode – Learn the basic functions of controlling your image by getting your camera off of auto where the camera decides how a shot should look and learn to shoot with manual controls where you make the decisions. Cameras are smart but will inevitably alter your image in a way you don’t want. Learn the exposure triangle (the relationship between Shutter speed, Aperture, and ISO/Gain) so that you control the image.
- Get a tripod – Stabilizing your video footage might be the biggest factor in getting away from an amateur look. Shaky footage is never pleasing to your viewer. A tripod, a shoulder rig or even setting the camera on a table or boxes will go a long way towards making your video much more pleasing to watch.
- Set your white balance – Adjusting the white balance of your camera to match your shooting conditions (daylight, indoors, etc) will prevent you from having to make corrections in post production. In some cases, depending on the quality of your camera, you might not be able to make the adjustments in post without degrading your image. So get it right in the camera.
- Add light – Digital camera’s LOVE light. Your image is going to look much better the more light you can get on to your subject. Lighting doesn’t have to be expensive. I’ve had great success using natural light coming in from a window, going outside or using cheap lights from your local home supply store.
- Learn basic composition – At a minimum, learn the concept of the “rule of thirds.” This will help you compose better images which will look much more pleasing to your audience.
- Shoot b-roll – Make sure to grab plenty of shots that show exactly what you are talking about so that you have footage to cut to when you want to make edits and keep the story moving in a dynamic, attention grabbing way.
- No zooming – The human doesn’t zoom. Try to avoid unnecessary zooming in and out as well as excessive pans left and right, up and down. If you need to get closer, “zoom with your feet.” Walk closer to your subject, recompose and get the shot. Also try to avoid using digital zoom as this will only further degrade the quality of your image.
- Hold the shot – Try and be conscious to stay on your shot longer. If your filming a person talking, start the camera rolling early and let it record an extra ten or fifteen seconds longer after you’ve decided to stop. This will give you more room to work in post production.
- Shoot HD – 16×9, 1080 or 720 at a minimum. HD cams are affordable and this will help future proof your productions.
- Capture good audio – This is last on the list here but likely 50%, if not more, to obtaining a more professional video production. Make sure the cam you are using has the ability to accept an external microphone or capture the audio separately with an audio recorder and sync in post.
Hopefully one or more of these tips will help start you on the path to improving the quality of your video.
If you ever wondered how I go about producing an audio episode of The Podcasters’ Studio, the following is the workflow I go through each and every episode.
Before the record button ever gets pressed, there are many processes I go through in order to get ready for an episode of the podcast, first of these is coming up with the idea for the episode.
Podcast topics are generated through one of three primary ways, podcasting news, feedback (voicemails, emails, twitter, etc.) and topics related to podcasting which I have experience with and have yet to cover on an episode.
Second I take simple pen and paper and create an outline which will serve as my guide during the recording to stay on topic and will help in the creation of the shownotes once the episode is complete.
Next, I do a podcast gear once-over checking to make sure levels are good, batteries are full, SD cards are empty and a few other important checks that if missed could interrupt the recording process or worse, damage it.
After that it’s time to start recording. I go more in depth about this process in this episode as well as some other important aspects that occur after the recording is complete such as:
- Exporting and organizing the audio file
- Setting up the audio editor
- Adjusting audio effects and tweaking the audio to add final, clean finish.
- Making the actual cuts in audio as well as adding in intros, outros, etc.
- Exporting the final edited version of the podcast and converting to mp3.
- ID3 tagging.
- Uploading to my host (Libsyn).
- Posting to WordPress in conjunction with PowerPress.
- Publishing and promoting. Repeat.
Whether you’re a video or audio podcaster, this episode should have some insights that you can take back to your own show and incorporate to help improve your productions.
If you have any questions about either of these workflows please get in touch via the contact page and I look forward to hearing how you’re producing your podcasts.
Links mentioned in this episode:
- Logitech C920 HD webcam
- Webcam Settings App for OSX – Provides manual control over my webcam
- Adobe Audition audio editing software
- Ray’s YouTube Channel – Podcasting and video tutorials
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