A lot of popular YouTubers have entire teams to help them create their videos, so viewers often have high expectations of quality from all creators. However, you don’t need a full production crew to make your videos appear professional. With a few small investments and the right techniques, any creators can produce high-quality videos all on their own.
Here are five hacks for filming professional-looking videos.
1. Use a ring light as your key light.
According to the film industry’s standard three-point lighting system, the key light is your main light. It shines directly on the subject, which, in the case of a YouTube video, means it shines directly on you. Natural lighting or lamps often aren’t strong enough to be used as key lights.
To make both your videos and your face look amazing, use a ring light as your key light. The shape allows you to put a camera in the middle of the light without casting awkward shadows. You can order one online, or if you’re on a budget, you can DIY one by following the tutorial below.
2. Upgrade your lenses.
Instead of upgrading to an entirely new DSLR, you can prolong the life of your current camera while improving the quality of your videos with new lenses. Every lens is designed for a different kind of shot, so the right ones for you will vary based on the kind of content you create. The right lenses for you will also vary based on the kind of DSLR you have.
To determine what kind of lens you should get, find a few creators whose shots you’d like to emulate. Then, check their video descriptions for equipment lists. If they don’t have their lenses listed, then you can email them and ask.
You can do additional research by searching YouTube for reviews. Look for videos specifically related to the brand or model of camera you have. For example, if you film on a Canon camera, then you might start with this video.
3. Edit with b-roll instead of jump cuts.
In the early days of vlogging, jump cuts were a common editing tool. Creators would simply trim out any awkward pauses, filler words, or mistakes they made. As a result, a sequential shot would be broken into two parts with a quick “jump” in the middle. Over the past few years, many creators have become more skilled editors, and now jump cuts can make your videos look amateur.
Instead of taking a shortcut with jump cuts, patch your mistakes with b-roll. You can get this extra footage by filming from different angles or working from a shot list. If you don’t want to film additional footage while working on your video, however, you can use stock footage or clips from past videos instead.
4. Establish a dedicated filming space.
Many prominent creators have their own studios for filming. They rent office spaces or build elaborate home studios so they can have places to film. However, you don’t need an office or even an empty room to set up a studio for your channel. All you need is a little bit of space.
Choose a place in your house that can be dedicated to filming. It could be against a wall in your bedroom or a comfortable chair in the living room. Basically, as long as it has a wall to serve as your background, a place to sit, and outlets for your lights, it can work as a home studio.
Next, decorate the wall to be your video background. Keep it simple but inviting. Then, add a few throw pillows or a rug to help with sound absorption. Finally, set up your filming equipment to ensure your studio looks good on camera.
5. Transcribe your own captions.
A lot of viewers like to use captions for a lot of different reasons. Overall, captions make a video easier to understand and follow along with. However, the auto-generated captions YouTube provides aren’t always accurate, and they can leave viewers more confused than they were without the captions.
Increasing the accessibility of your content shows that you care about all of your viewers. As a content creator, your entire career depends on your viewers’ support. Not only does adding your own captions show your support for your viewers, but it also makes your content look more professional when you go that extra mile.
To create your own captions, start by transcribing the audio. Note sound effects and background music as well as dialogue. Then, follow the instructions in this tutorial to upload your captions.
To make your videos appear professional, train yourself to be a one-person film crew. Educate yourself on filmmaking techniques so that you can adapt them for your own videos.
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Kristen Harris enjoys listening to a wide range of music, from Taylor Swift to, on occasion, Celtic instrumental. She also spends her time writing, reading, and baking.