I want to share a few of the basic lessons any hopeful videographer should learn. Much like photography,
the best advice is to just get out and shoot shoot shoot
but following these simple points will give you a foundation to make your videos instantly better.
First and foremost is capturing good audio. Wait, what? This is supposed to be tips for shooting good video, what does audio have to do with it? Everything.
Audio is something that most people don’t consciously call out, but in reality it’s one of the first things a viewer picks up on. Believe it or not, viewers will forgive a video for not looking perfect, but if it has bad audio, they’ll tune out and turn it off. So what can you do?
It’s one of those tricky situations where you have to ask what comes first, figuring out how to get great audio or just getting better at framing your shots and overall composition (and editing, which we’ll save for another day). Even if you do invest in an external microphone, which I highly recommend, they’re not the end of the discussion. They will improve the sound quality over any on-camera mic, but DSLRs and entry-level cameras don’t have great audio controls, which will nullify some of the benefits of an external microphone. To deal with this, professional videographers will record to an external audio recorder. You’ll sync up the audio with the video track in post-production. This is why you’ve seen those clapper boards in behind the scenes for movies, to quickly mark the audio and video to later be synced.
But now we’re talking about microphones, audio recorders, and clapper boards? Yeah, let’s back up a minute. That should illustrate the importance of audio, and how it quickly becomes such a big piece of your video production. But you want to know what you can do on a budget to make your video sound better. I have two tips.
1. Don’t use the camera’s audio.
If you’re filming around town or even shots of your family, just mute the audio track when you’re editing, and add a song to the background. I produced a video for Columbus startup Snapstagram that uses this technique.
But what if you want to hear people laughing or clapping? Just lower the volume of the track to mix it in with your music and any flaws in the audio won’t be as apparent.
Any music you select should be royalty free and you must have the proper permission to use it for personal or commercial use. You can find good resources at the Vimeo Music Store (free & paid) and The Music Bed (paid).
2. Record audio using your iPhone (or other mobile device)
The audio quality isn’t going to rival a professional microphone, but one of the biggest benefits is its small size and portability. You can stick it close to the audio source, such as on a table in front of a person speaking, and it will instantly sound better than your camera that may be three or five feet away. It’s inconspicuous and you always have it on you. To me, that makes it a great backup option.
Quality microphones that plug directly into your phone are starting to become affordable, so this will only increase the viability of using a mobile device as a dedicated audio recorder on a video shoot.
Whew, that was a lot of time spent on audio basics. But hopefully it drills home one thing: audio is extremely important, and often the one thing people ignore or forget in their videos. I’ll watch a video that isn’t composed or lit like a Hollywood production. But if I can’t hear what the person is saying, why would I stick around?
Check back in 2 weeks for Andy’s next post explaining light and stabilization! (Top photo credit to Cory Staudacher)
For most of my life I have felt a certain anxiety. As a kid, it was often prompted while I was away from home. School and sleepovers generally brought out a sense of nausea and I was told that I probably just got homesick a lot. Sure I loved my mom but I felt it as a freshman in college. I was READY to be on my own. I feel it now as an adult. It’s usually brought on when I’m travelling to visit friends and family (never when I’m traveling alone with Adam) and lately it’s been happening in my own house. That’s when I got confused. How I can I feel “homesick” when I’m in my own house with Adam and Desh?
And that’s when I started making the connection. The anxiety is brought on when I know or anticipate that I will not be getting any (or much) alone time. It was the most amazing breakthrough.
- School for 8 hours as a kid? No alone time. (Unless I hide in the bathroom.)
- Attending a sleepover? No alone time. (Unless I hide in the bathroom.)
- Visiting a big group of friends? No alone time. (Unless I hide in the bathroom.)
- Hosting visitors in our own home? No alone time. (Unless I hide in the bathroom.)
Okay the bathroom thing was kind of a joke (or not). I have been known to sit in a bathroom stall for 5 minutes to regain a little strength. I’m an introvert and being around people is draining. Not because the people I surround myself with are annoying, exhausting or loud. It’s just not how I get energized. I get energized by being alone. Silent. No talking. Doing what I want.
It’s really hard to admit. It feels selfish, rude and arrogant. It’s even hard for me to realize just how much of an introvert I am. Before spending large amounts of constant time with people – I feel tired or overwhelmed just at the thought. But once I’m with them? I’m usually really flexible, pleasant and hospitable. I’m not a hermit or mute – just an introvert.
So what are some ways that I protect that alone time?
- I try to go to bed earlier than I normally would. I’m a night owl and can stay up until 4am daily but usually only on days where I’m alone or working. If I’m traveling or have company – I’d rather go to sleep at 10pm.
- I try to run errands by myself, write emails or listen to music on my earbuds throughout the day to put space between me and other people. It probably won’t last more than an hour but it feels like sacred time.
- I trust and rely on Adam more than I realize. He’s my buffer, he understands me and I honestly never feel exhausted by his presence.
- I’m really intentional with my time. I schedule meetings towards the end of the work day (I need the morning/afternoon to be productive since meetings tend to pull energy out quickly).
At the end of the day, I just need to be more comfortable with admitting all of this to people when necessary. I have a fear of offending people and I never want them to think it’s their fault. Just like extraverts need special care – people like me do too!
I’m gearing up for some quality time with friends this weekend while prepping for the launch of my new business/blog with Mary! Keep your eyes peeled a week from today. In other exciting new, I get to finally meet Heather on Monday before we make our way to NYC with Jess and Adam. I think I’m planning a blogger/Twitter meetup in Brooklyn on the 23rd so comment below if you’re in the area!
What are you up to this weekend?
Another successful city swap and I figured I might as well recap it on Valentine’s Day! You can see the card that I sent above and below you’ll see all the participants submitted photos! I had 88 people participate and hope to do another swap this summer! Stay tuned.
Do you have any plans for Valentine’s Day? Adam and I never celebrate BUT I found a funny zombie-themed card (so I had to buy it) and we are seeing a play about Mark Rothko (we didn’t realize it was ON Valentine’s Day) but either way we’re excited.
Today’s city guide is brought to you by Kristin of Halifax!
Hello and welcome to my neck of the woods – Halifax, Nova Scotia! We’re a quaint little seaport city located on Canada’s far Atlantic coast. But that’s what I love about it the most – we have the luxury of city life and its amenities, but with the honest to goodness friendliness and ease that goes along with simple country life. We’re a very laid back city where anyone and everyone is welcome, where you’ll always run into a friendly face (honestly, it’s difficult avoiding bumping into an acquaintance on any given outing) and no matter where you’re from, you’ll quickly fall into our relaxed way of life.
One of my absolute favourite places to spend a Saturday or Sunday morning is at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market. The market is open all weekend long year round (with additional days during the warmer months), and is filled with great food, drink, locally made crafts and art work, home grown produce and plants, and often you can catch the odd musician or busker performing. It’s a well-rounded little market with a bustling atmosphere that really celebrates all of the talents and crafts of our locals from within the city proper, and out into the rural countryside as well.
While in this neck of the woods, a local and tourist favourite is a stroll down the waterfront. The boardwalk really comes alive in the summer months – with buskers and entertainers, fireworks, bikers, artists, musicians, you name it! – all out in force. It can get a bit crowded, especially on weekends, as it’s a well-known and popular tourist location.
But, there’s still tonnes to be enjoyed as a local. There are fantastic restaurants all along the length of the boardwalk and handfuls of little shops and stalls depending on the season. I highly recommend The Bicycle Thief, an Italian and North American bistro – not only does it have delicious food, but it’s also a beautifully designed space from the interiors right down to the menu. Perfect for design-enthusiasts and foodies of all sorts.
Though they’re closed in the winter, if you’re in the area during the late spring to late autumn, two absolute musts are to stop and get a BeaverTail pastry (then you can call yourself a true Haligonian!), and wander over to Cows Ice Cream (hands down the best ice cream to be found, and they have an adjoining t-shirt and souvenir shop filled with hilarious cow meets pop culture puns and illustrations).
And if that’s not enough waterfront-y goodness for you, hop on the harbour ferry over to Dartmouth (the city on the opposite side of the harbour). It’s a short ride which will give you spectacular views of both cities, and the harbour mouth leading out to the Atlantic ocean. Plus, you’ll get a little taste of a local’s daily life as many workers come in and out of the city daily via the ferry.
For the shoppers of the bunch, Halifax has lots of unique and locally owned shops and boutiques. One of my personal favourites is The Black Market. A “you’d miss it if you blinked” spot, this quaint little shop is jam packed full of goodies from top to bottom. Jewelry, scarves, and assorted trinkets are brought in from all around the world. The merchandise is constantly changing so there’s always something new to look forward to on each visit. A few other much-loved locally owned and founded stops include: retro-inspired clothing shop Biscuit General Store, stationery and letterpress boutique Inkwell, and for the sweet tooth, stop by Freak Lunchbox, a novelty candy shop filled with everything wacky and sugary under the sun.
I’d be a terrible, terrible Haligonian if I failed to make this guide weather proof! Our winter’s are cold, and we usually get a solid dumping of snow a few times throughout the cold months (as evidenced by my photo selections here… the snow couldn’t be avoided!). One plus side to the frigid weather and near constant blanket of white is the recently built Halifax Oval outdoor skating rink. It’s typically a bustling spot on the weekends, so my insider tip would be to hit up some grub first, and then take to the ice in the evening. Just a few blocks away is my absolute favourite place to eat in the entire city, B-Well Sushi and Cafe. Fill up your belly, take a little stroll back through the Halifax Commons park area where the rink is located, and then strap on a pair of blades for a little skate in the park under the lights.
Another great outdoorsy location a bit off the beaten path is Point Pleasant Park. Located at the south-eastern most tip of the peninsula upon which the city sits, this sprawling woodland park is full of trails for walking, biking, dog walking, and, my poison, a long, morning run. The park has beautiful views throughout the forested area, and being at the tip of the peninsula, when you reach the edge, you can see straight out to the Atlantic ocean.
Though this is only the tip of the iceberg, I hope you’ve enjoyed my favourite little spots from around the city of Halifax. Feel free to give me a shout if you’re ever out this way – I’m happy to dive in deeper for any visitors! Happy travels. :)
Whoa! I haven’t posted since last Wednesday (which is rare for me). But I promise I have good reasons! I’ve been SO BUSY in the best possible way. I’m so inspired and loving all my projects. I go to bed late, I wait for my brain to stop turning and then I wake up just as excited. Life is giving me butterflies.
Here’s what’s on my plate:
- TOP SECRET PROJECT | Mary drove from Tennessee and we spent almost 3 full days getting inspired, getting to know each other and planning our new blog (and business, really). You know when you just CLICK with someone? I feel like I’ve known Mary my whole life and this was the first time we ever hung out. We’ll be launching our collaboration by the end of the February and I think you’re all going to love it. Hint: it’s about whole health.
- LET’S DO BRUNCH | Rachel, Steph and I created a blogging community here in Columbus. We met and had our second event last weekend. We talked about content, ethics, technical issues and the aesthetics of our blogs. It was so awesome to be around like-minded people. In March we will be rolling out a new website and City Chapters so if you’re interested in starting your OWN group, keep an eye out!
- FREELANCE | I’m fully booked until mid-April with freelance projects! My clients are amazing. They allow me to try new things and I’ve partnered with an amazing developer to create 100% original content. I can’t wait to unveil all of these projects.
- TRAVEL | Michigan, NYC, Chicago, Hawaii. My mind is reeling because I’m working throughout it all but planning some really fun things too. I need to start strategizing my packing plan. If you’re in NYC and want to connect while I’m there – contact me through my form! I’d love to get coffee.
Last night I taught my first class through The Influence Network! For an hour, I went over WordPress 101 and we covered A LOT. I talked for 40 minutes straight (while experiencing some audio issues) and then took questions for the remaining 20 minutes! I thought I’d share some of the questions (along with my answers) because I bet all you readers could benefit as well!
- How do you convert a plugin to a widget? If a plug-in is meant to work as a widget (as most are), it will automatically appear in the “Available Widget” section under Appearance > Widgets. There are times, however, that some plugins aren’t meant to be widgets and they will have a specific area in the dashboard where you can change settings and utilize it.
- How do you pick a theme/template? How do you know where to start? I usually start over at Themeforest.net. I like Themeforest because you can search by subject (ie: blog, retail, non-profit, etc) but then you can also search keywords or buy plug-in. For example, if I want to use WooCommerce as an eCommerce solution – I can search WooCommerce and see which themes are extremely compatible. You can also mouse over the thumbnails and see a preview of each theme before clicking into it and digging deeper.
- Can you explain how to edit a widget code? Since most widgets start off as plugins, you can go into “Installed Plugins” and click “edit” underneath the plugin that you’d like to alter. This will take you to the specific code for that plugin. Beware – if you make changes and then update the plugin (which most often do), all your changes will most likely be erased.
- What are the pros and cons of organizing the permalinks various ways? Google reads left to right so you want keywords closer to the front (vs the back). Using the default permalink structure should be avoided since it just numbers pages/posts. For best SEO practices – you should just structure your links like: http://domain.com/category/post. I use the year and month in my permalink structure (as you can see in your browser) so my readers know if it’s relevant but this isn’t the BEST when it comes to SEO.
- If you’re already using wordpress.com is it an easy switch to wordpress.org? The formatting might stay nicer (with categories especially) but you’ll still need to establish your domain/hosting and move the content.
- Do you prefer Genesis? I have seen great blogs/sites in Genesis but I really love Standard theme.
- What plugings do you think people should stay away from? In the world of WordPress, I tend to stay away from anything that is rated poorly or hasn’t been updated in 90-120 days. Also, make sure it’s compatible with the most recent version of WordPress!
- What are your top 5 plugins?
- Akismet: No more spam comments!!
- Contact Form 7: I use this for all contact forms. Easy to use with a shortcode.
- Easy Recipe: Embed an easy “printable” recipe in your post!
- nRelate: Add thumbnails under your post so your readers can see related posts
- Visual Editor: Allows you to use MANY shortcodes to create awesome layouts
Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section below! I’ll be answering them throughout the day!
You can now buy my doodles on Society6. Hope to be adding more this week! It’s a great way for me to sell some of my random stuff without investing the money into printing/paper and the time into shipping. Once you put in your order – Society6 does it all for me! Right now I’m just offering prints, canvas + framed pieces. Will be uploading a new type doodle (Be Timeless, Not Trendy) within the next few weeks! Bookmark it, purchase something or share with your friends! xo