You’ve got 2-4 years of research piling up on your desk and you need to somehow fit your cumulative knowledge into a short video presentation. As if that doesn’t seem hard enough, you don’t know the first thing (or the second for that matter) about creating a video. After all, if you’re an aspiring engineer or marine biologist, what use do you have for filmmaking? Well, sometimes the best way to encourage, persuade, or inform someone is by presenting your information to them through video. So, in this post we will give you the steps you need to be able to present like a pro… without actually being a pro.
Like most film/video projects, the process is divided up into 3 stages: Writing, Filming, and Editing (i.e. – PreProduction, Production, and Post-Production. Let’s start out from the beginning.
Remember that this is the most important part of the process. You have a lot of precious information and unique ideas that you essentially need to translate into a different language. Just make sure that your key points don’t get lost in that translation.
For film, story is structure like a mountain. You start at the bottom (the beginning) ease your way up to the top where the majority of the story is told, and then plummet down to the end.
The Beginning requires a hook. You need to bait your audience with something interesting and hook them on the line within the first 30 seconds of the video.
The Middle is a little less detrimental. At this point you know that your audience is most likely in it for the long haul. Now you can introduce them to new ideas and opinions that they may not be familiar with.
The Ending is also often know as the climax. Remember to think ACTION when you think of wrapping up your presentation. Don’t let it trail off, and please, please do not end with saying “In Conclusion”. You can certainly summarize your presentation at the end, but an ending needs to be more influential; usually providing a call to action an inspirational thought that leaves them thinking about your subject matter long after you’ve finished talking. Remember that the last thing you say, is usually the first thing they will remember… No pressure.
Once you’ve mapped out your mountain, the writing process should come fairly easy. If it doesn’t… Do some more research! And, don’t forget that the more time you spend in the writing room, the less time you will spend behind a camera.
Say that your script requires that you interview a local scientist. Who is that scientist? How do you contact him or her? Is their schedule open enough to fit an interview? If so, where will you shoot the interview? How long will it take? And finally, what equipment will you use? These are all questions you will need to ask before you start shooting. Make sure everything is mapped out nicely for your own sake. And if you need to, draw a map; a brief timeline/schedule of production.
When you are finally ready to film, try to follow these golden rules to get the best results:
1) Good sound: Sound is often the most overlooked asset to a video. You need to start thinking about your audio from day 1. For example, when you a deciding where you want to shoot an interview try to scope out a pretty shot indoors and free from noisy disruptions. If a loud noise goes off in the middle of shooting, you may have to start over.
Also, try to think about where you will be presenting your final video. Will it be displayed on a projector with big speakers? If so, remember to listen to the audio with speakers and not just headphones during the editing process.
If it comes down to the wire and you’ve shot some good stuff but your audio isn’t great, try to fix it as best you can in your editing software.
2) Good lighting: When shooting indoors, it is very hard sometimes to get a well-lit shot. Fixing this issue is a simple as buying a few work lights and an extensions cord from home depot. They are very cheap and usually can clamp onto the back of a chair or a hand rail. When lighting, remember the 3-point lighting system. This requires 3 lights: A key light, a fill light, and a back light.
3) Good filming: If you’ve got a long day of filming ahead of you, remember to bring a tripod. The more stable a shot, the more your audience will be able to focus on your subject. You’re not trying to create an episode of the office or the next Black Hawk Down film, you are creating an informative video for an audience that may be new to your subject matter.
Finally, you have made your way to the editing room. You will be using your script and footage as the blue-prints to follow when you piece it all together in the end. Once you’ve pieced it all together, you’ll want to focus on how you transition from shot to shot. Here is a list of the most common transitions:
Remember that your transitions tell a story. Here are a list of the most common transitions:
1) Straight Cut – This is the most common transition and works great for quickly changing a camera angle during a scene.
2) The L-Cut – This transition is just like a Straight Cut but you only use the audio from one clip. For example, if you are filming an interview from straight on, you can cut to a side shot but keep the subjects audio from the first shot.
3) Dissolve – The dissolve is an editing technique where one clip seems to dissolve, or fade into the next. it is often used to show that time has gone by from one clip to another.
4) Wipe – This transition uses shapes to wipe one clip away and reveal another. For example, Looney Tunes would use what’s called an Iris Wipe at the end of a cartoon by having the last shot wipe away and reveal a black screen.
5) Fade – Typically this is used at the beginning or end of a project. For example, when a movie ends, they fade to black and then roll credits. However, you can certainly fade to a simple slide at which point you can animate key points for your presentation.
Overall, everyone of you will have a different comfort level with different equipment and software. Research online as much as you can, and practice, practice, practice! Here are some resources that should help you through this new process:
Filming and Editing: