Short Form Video
Developed in 2020 by Michelle Brown with input from Amelia Paxman, continuously updated.
A step beyond podcasting, vodcasting, also called video podcasting or vlogging, is a video recording in the style of an interview or instructional format primarily available for streaming or download over the internet. You can make a vodcast about pretty much anything – budding stand-up comedian, gear unboxing, personal stories, science experiments plus more, if you have an idea, we’ll help you to get it into production!
This program is a series of 3 x 4 hour workshops including a software induction in Adobe Premiere (and FOSS alternative Openshot). Each session will cover the below activities;
1. Pre - Research, what makes a popular video blog, finding a story/topic and creating an engaging channel
2. Production - Mics and cameras, what gear do you need, understanding video capture and interviewing techniques. Includes SLQ audio equipment induction.
3. Post - Production, editing and hosting (free distribution options and metrics)
Ice-breaker and Introductions
We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their continuing connection to land and as custodians of stories for millenia. We pay our respects to past, present and future leaders.
Everyone to introduce themselves and talk about what they want to learn from the sessions. A reminder that later in the session participants will be talking about their potential ideas, so start thinking about what you might want to do now.
Discuss as a group;
- different types of video bloggers or channels, get participants to name some they watch and why?
- how they subscribe, watch or follow their favourite content
- what type of short form video topics they might be considering
- who has any previous experience with video production or other content creation
What is a Vodcast?
A step beyond podcasting, vodcasting, also called web-series, video podcasting or vlogging, is a video recording in the style of an interview or instructional format primarily available for streaming or download over the internet. You can make a vodcast about pretty much anything – budding stand-up comedian, gear unboxing, personal stories, science experiments plus more.
Youtube is one of the most popular places to host video content and content users even have their own term, 'Youtubers'. A few of the most popular channels and Youtubers can be found through some Google searching; https://www.thrillist.com/entertainment/nation/top-youtube-channels-most-popular-youtubers
While the majority of popular content relates to gaming, there are MANY great channels dedicated to everything you can think of. Some of the biggest categories of popular content include;
- Gaming (as mentioned, the MOST popular)
- Product reviews
- Skits/Parodies/Comedy Sketches
- Haul videos (shopping experience)
- Animals (who doesn't love cute animal vids)
- Tutorials (anything can go, from computers to makeup)
- Collection videos (collection of products, toys etc)
- Tag or challenge
- Vlogs (more about the person than a particular content area)
- Video journalism - interviewing people about a newsworthy issue
Other avenues for online videos include Twitch (popular for its live streaming), Instagram Stories, Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter and more.
Get To Know Your Content
It's a good idea to get to know what's out there and what's popular, so you can have a baseline to think about when you're starting out with your own channel or content development. Your idea doesn't need to fit into a pre-existing area, but understanding what viewers might be looking for in format and topics is a good starting point.
Let's take a look at a few popular channels and their content, while watching, take some notes on what you liked or didn't like about the format, topic etc.
Here's a further list of most popular Youtubers from 2018 - https://www.businessinsider.com.au/most-popular-youtubers-with-most-subscribers-2018-2?r=US&IR=T
Youtube is not the only platform. There are lots of places for short-form video content such as vimeo, instagram, snapchat and broadcasters like ABC and SBS commission online-only content. If you are interested in short documentary, news outlets and similar platforms like The Guardian, Vice etc pay for short documentaries about interesting subject matter.
Here are some videos on other platforms:
Don't feel as though you have to create something to 'go viral' and reach a huge audience. Online platforms are a great way to find an audience for a niche interest or skill. A small group of people could be very interested in a specific area of knowledge that you have to offer. Just because something has a small intended audience, doesn't mean it isn't worthwhile.
Being able to create engaging short videos is an important skill - often job applications, grants and crowdfunding campaigns require video content.
Example of a vlogging with niche video content:
Here's an example of how vlogging was used to make a longer form, traditional documentary series:
The first point for any content creation is brainstorming or fine-tuning your idea into something substantial, try writing up a 2 minute elevator pitch with your proposed idea that makes it clearly understandable by the audience and any potential people involved (guests, funders, viewers).
Many popular youtubers use a skill or area of knowledge (using a hydraulic press, language, make up) to teach or display their work. Think about your own areas of expertise and how you could use that in a video.
Think about what research you will need to do to make the content interesting, engaging and accurate.
Activity; Get participants to use an idea they may already have brewing or come up with something new for this exercise (write a paragraph that clearly defines what their potential video channel might be).
Clip Art is a seven-part documentary video series focusing on Australian music film clip directors, featuring interviews and music videos created for Australian artists. Each half-hour episode will be broadcast on Australian television and via Youtube and will focus on several film clip makers from each Australian state or capital city, their work and also the Australian musician’s clips they’ve worked on.
Some things to think about when planning your content;
- Define your audience
- Clarify your message or subject matter
- Think about style - will you use animation elements? Music? Will you need actors?
- Devise your budget
- Create scripts
- Include a beginning and end message (introductions, wrap ups)
- Decide how long your average video will be and try and stick to similar length every episode
- Start thinking about other logistical issues - where will you film it? Who will be in it?
'A storyboard is a graphic organizer in the form of illustrations or images displayed in sequence for the purpose of pre-visualizing a motion picture, animation, motion graphic or interactive media sequence. The storyboarding process, in the form it is known today, was developed at Walt Disney Productions during the early 1930s, after several years of similar processes being in use at Walt Disney and other animation studios.' - Wikipedia
Let's talk about why it's an important part of the process, even if you like to keep things causal and off the cuff, having a storyboard for your video project will help you focus and keep on track.
Take a look at Storyboarding The Simpsons way- by Chris Roman for some key tips and tricks;
Once you have planned out your content you need to record it! We'll cover more about this in session 2 of these workshops, but the capture stage is pretty integral to the process and great planning will get you prepared so you have less to do in the post production stage. Making sure you know what and how you are going to shoot your video and get great audio is very important.
The less time you have to spend editing poor quality audio or badly lit video footage, the better and less frustrated you will be!
During the editing process you can get as creative or as basic as you like, editing video usually requires a bit of skill and this is where we'll also go into more detail in workshop 3, including covering a Premiere Pro software induction.
Once you have your video file ready to go public, you need a place to host it online and a plan to distribute, we'll cover this more in our later sessions but you should have a pretty good idea of where your content is going to end up before you start any of the production process.
Let's try our hand at some script writing and take some time to develop an opening for our new video channel (if you have no ideas yet just make something up), thinking about what we've learned today, try and include;
- Name of your vlog/channel if it will be something regular
- Introduce yourself
- Introduce the content of the video
- Will this be a regular series? If so include info on when people can expect new content
Keep in mind you will be the one delivering the script, so don't write words you might have difficulty with pronouncing, keep in natural and maybe just keep to dot points if you work better that way!
In today's session we'll look at the production workflow and have a chance to play around with some of the Edge's video equipment and have a look at basic requirements to get started, intermediate options and touch on some advanced gear.
What cameras does everyone use/have access to? DSLRs, mobile phones, GoPros?
Take participants through the following PDF, discussing each section in greater detail.
Lighting & Stability
Further to what we just discussed about lighting your video capture, let's go into more detail about why it pays to light your scene rather than just rely on natural lighting.
Lighting is one of the areas that people don't think about too much when they are starting out with video capture, it's another expense and more equipment to think about, but trying to fix poorly lit video after the fact is a headache on its own.
You can experiment with natural light, small LED lights, reflectors, LED ring lights, torches and other sources.
Near sunrise and sunset are good times to use natural light - the light is more even, flattering and there are no harsh shadows. Midday is the worst time.
Here's an example of a poorly lit video from a great webpage about first online videos - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4R49OWIMvbY
The webpage itself is a great resource so let's take a look and watch the first ever uploaded Youtube vid - https://biteable.com/blog/inspiration/first-youtube-video/
Stable video is also key to keeping viewers engaged, having an unsteady video moving and jumping all over the place will not endear you to viewers. Tripods and gimbals are ways to keep your video capture stable and provide smoother movement than hand held.
Similar to lighting, it is very important to capture great audio along with the visual aspect, people won't watch your video if the audio is hard to hear or is filled with buzzing and distracting noises.
General rule is to capture good audio rather than try and fix in post, as you'll run into issues with continuity and noise removal. You can use a variety of methods to capture audio along with your video, these can include;
- Lapel or Lav mic (a small microphone attached to the person speaking); this is good for single person video capture and gets nice and close audio capture, but be careful of the talent moving too much during the recording as you can get rustling fabric sounds etc.
- Camera mounted mic (shotgun mic); these are usually directional so won't work for every occasion but good for stationary person to camera audio capture
- Boom pole and mic; this will let you get right up close to the person you want to capture speaking, but generally requires someone to operate the boom along with the camera
- Portable recorder; these are super handy as they can be used to capture not only an extra input of audio for your video but voice over/off camera content too
Once you do start capturing separate audio you will need to think about the syncing process, having audio cues can help, beginning your capture with a loud noise (like a clapper) will give you the ability to match your waveforms up easier in post.
Another good resource; https://www.videomaker.com/article/c10/14216-recording-good-audio-for-video
The Edge has some equipment that you can use in the space itself, this is usually coordinated with the Applied Creativity team staff, ask at The Edge Reception to speak to one of the team.
Gear available includes;
- Canon EOS 200D DSLR Camera w/ Guided Display and 18-55mm Lens
- Canon EOS 6D DSLR Camera w/ Canon Zoom lens EF 24-105mm
- Several camera tripods
- Mobile phone Gimbal for stabilizing mobile video footage, it is a DJI OSMO 2 and there's an easy video guide https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kX-G49P_tOE
- Audio Technica ATR3350IS Lapel mic for use with mobile or DSLR camera
- Zoom H4N and H2N
Putting together your own kit, what do you need?
- Camera of some kind, this could be your mobile device as these days the latest models capture great quality footage. You could also use a webcam for a basic vlog
- Microphone or another audio capture device to get great quality audio with your footage. This could include a camera mounted mic, lapel mic, Zoom recorder
- Lights; having good lighting is very important for video capture, even basic lights will help you get clear, defined footage
- Tripod; something to mount your camera on so it's still and no shaky handheld footage (unless you're after a Blair Witch style shoot)
- Gimbal; a gimbal is a way you can mount a camera or mobile and get steady capture (try out the Edge's with a mobile, see above for video guide!)
- Backdrop; green screen or some other creative backdrop
- Batteries charged!!
- SD cards or other storage (hard drives for raw footage)
Other things to think of during the production phase;
Consent forms; make sure if you have talent coming to be filmed that you get a consent form so they understand where they may end up and you won't have any issues later on about people asking to take down your footage
Opposed to traditional media like radio and TV, your content may not be bound as strictly to ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) codes of practice, so rules around swearing and offensive material may not apply. However, all other broadcast laws and regulations do apply – such as defamation, copyright, racial vilification and so on, as vlogging is a form of publishing.
Different platforms have their own requirements when it comes to copyright material, read the fine print about copyrighted material in the terms of service as you begin to use a new platform to distribute your content.
Including music in your video can cause a bit of a headache, you need permissions from the artist or the right to broadcast via licensing, in Australia you would need to be covered by APRA AMCOS and PPCA. Best to just use copyright free music or get written permission from any friends who may let you use their music.
The best way to learn is through practical activities so now that we've had a bit of a run down of both the pre-production and production stages. let's break into pairs or teams and record some content that we'll be able to use in next week's session on editing. We can use the script writing exercise we did last week as our content.
The goal is to try out some of the things we've learned, so capture separate audio along with the video footage. Teams can either use the DSLRs or their own mobiles with the Gimbal device. You will need to install the Gimbal mobile app to control it (DJI GO), tutorial here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kX-G49P_tOE
Next week we'll learn how to download the video and audio to the iMacs so we can go through the editing process!
Hopefully you have some video captured during last week's session that you can use to run through some basic editing in Premiere Pro. If not, then we can grab some royalty free/stock footage (links to options below!).
Editing with Premiere Pro
Take attendees through the basic Premiere Pro software induction, this should take around 2 hours; https://wiki.edgeqld.org.au/doku.php?id=facilities:fablab:software:premiere
Take a break!
Additional Software Options
- Animation - Adobe Animate or After Effects (a short tutorial on AE - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ztwm0OTPqyI)
- Free Video Editing Software:
- Australian Film and Video channels (more below)
Online sites; Ozflix is Netflix style content host that specializes in Australian content https://www.ozflix.tv/
Community TV; changes to traditional spectrum allocation of tv services changed a few years ago and community TV nearly saw its demise entirely, but there are several station who fought to continue to broadcast on terrestrial TV network and are open to discussing content collaboration. These are Channel 31 Melbourne,West TV Perth and Channel 44 Adelaide.
Discuss funding models for generating revenue and also grant options (Screen Qld, Screen Australia etc.)
Earning money through Youtube - https://creatoracademy.youtube.com/page/lesson/revenue-basics
Screen Queensland - https://screenqueensland.com.au/
Screen Australia - https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/
Royalty Free Support Content