I tried filming my first YouTube video and, well, I learned a lot. After all, “Video is king!” has been the rallying cry for a while now. So I decided to give it a try.
And I bet you’ve noticed there is no rectangle with a little arrow that allows you to press “play”. So you are correct in assuming that my first attempt at creating something to share on YouTube was not successful.
So I decided, instead, to share five useful things I learned filming my first YouTube video, since I failed to produce a video worth posting.
5 Tips for Filming Your First YouTube Video
This list of tips could certainly be longer.
After all, when you first starting filming videos for YouTube, all the moving pieces (literally and figuratively) don’t always logically fit together.
So I have started with tips that seem like a “no duh” statement, but truly make a difference in filming. If and when I enter back into the realm of creating YouTube videos, I will share any additional tips I learn.
For now, these tips came from the most glaring hiccups I had while filming for YouTube.
Tip #1: Prepare a script.
Even if you are the most eloquent person you know, you should prepare a script and practice it several times before you attempt to film your YouTube video.
If you want your video style to be more conversational, then your script outline can be a sequence of major and minor bullet points to keep you focused and on track.
You might even go so far as including places for you to “take a breath” or “pause” so that you create a comfortable pace for your viewer to follow.
The topic of your first YouTube video should also be something that helps your audience, but isn’t too complex.
Remember: Keep it simple.
If you find the video script getting longer than your audience will be able to follow easily, break the topic into its own miniseries (and WAAHOO, that means more content!).
Tip #2: Verify the device’s field of view.
Whether you’re filming yourself talking into the camera or just focusing on your arms and hands to demonstrate something, it’s important to verify your device’s field of view.
You never know what the camera might catch in the frame.
In fact, the device’s field of view is probably larger than you think and the last thing you want is your viewer to be distracted by (and curious about) the stack of papers on the table behind you.
Or, paying more attention to the interesting looking craft supplies stacked on a chair to the side of you.
Tip #3: Let your hands be happy, but not too happy.
It’s good to be an animated speaker when you’re filming your first YouTube video, but it’s also very important to pay attention to how often you make gestures with your hands.
Now, I’m not saying to do the ‘fingers pressed together looking pensive in thought’ all the time because, well, that’s just unnatural. Natural movement is important to the flow of your video.
The first time you start filming, however, the nerves may kick in and you’ll be surprised to find your hands are having a conversation of their own.
So, it’s best to take the script you wrote and practice it in front of the mirror once or twice to see if your hands are getting too happy.
Then if you have time, film a test run of the video to see if having that blinking red ‘eek! that device is recording me’ light sends your gestures into overdrive and tweak accordingly.
Tip #4: Keep Visual Clutter And Tools To A Minimum
I already explained why it’s important to pay close attention to your device’s field of view in tip #2.
Now it’s time to focus on the things you intentionally want to put in the frame. Since this is intended to be your first YouTube video, what you do now will set the tone for future videos. Mind you, this doesn’t mean you are stuck with this style forever. Over time, things will evolve and change.
You do, however, need to draw your audience in with the first video so they keep coming back for me. So double check that all of the things you have in-frame are essential to your task at hand.
The best approach is to keep visual clutter and tools or props to a minimum.
If you’re presenting on a topic that doesn’t require tools or props, that stack of business books off to the side of your desk isn’t necessary.
For your backdrop, find a wall with the least amount of visual noise.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s always fun to see what kind of art people like. But when a viewer is trying to watch something they’ve deemed important enough to stop everything else and pay attention? Your extensive art selection in the background just makes it harder to focus on you.
Tools or Props
If your topic does require tools or props, only include those that are essential to moving your narrative forward.
In fact, if you think of them as major and minor characters in your story, you’ll have an easier time selecting the most important ones.
Before you start filming, set them up in a way that makes it easy to access in the same sequence as your script.
It may confuse your viewer if you’re constantly crossing over one prop to get to another.
So, if possible set them up at the top of your frame so you can reach in front of you to select the prop or tool. This will help your viewer easily track what tool you’re using and when.
Tip #5: Take A Rain Check From Filming If You’re Sick
If you have a little tickle in you throat, but are still powering through your day? Probably not the best time to record your video.
I highly recommend that you do not try to film your first YouTube video if you’re sick.
This includes the average cold, flu, or even allergies that may alter your voice in any way.
I learned this the hard way. As I set up to film, I knew I was a little congested, but didn’t think it would make much of a difference.
Even while I was filming, I felt fine.
I even made sure to keep my pace steady and to enunciate (because I tend to talk quickly).
Then, I downloaded the video to review it and decide how it should be edited. And? I was confronted with how awful, yes AWFUL, I sounded.
OK, it wasn’t as bad as the teacher in Peanuts, but definitely moving in that direction. Having your voice at its best is key to a successful video.
That’s A Wrap!
Filming my first YouTube video was a good first experience even if no one will ever see it (yes, it’s been deleted).
As videos and vlogs continue to take over the web, producing pieces your audience finds valuable will become even more important to your overall content strategy.
So why not get the kinks out now?
Share The Goods
I’d love to hear your thoughts: What tips would you add to this list? Or, which tip will help you most when you film your first YouTube video?
Leave a comment below and let’s discuss.