How to Create a Successful Video
Tips on Creating Great Videos
This Hub covers various elements of successful online videos and specifically addresses:
- When it is appropriate to make a video
- Major dos and don'ts
- Simple shooting tips
- Ideal video durations
- Video-making for camera shy Hubbers
Remember that you can insert one or more videos from Vimeo or YouTube directly into your Hub at any time using the Video Capsule. You can use existing videos where permitted by copyright, but it's usually best to upload your own original videos.
When is it Appropriate to Make a Video?
Videos are appropriate for nearly all subjects.
Original videos are particularly helpful for:
- Demonstrating something complicated, such as icing a cake, building a dog house, executing a wrestling move, folding origami, or using a software program
- Building a direct connection with your audience by letting them see and/or hear you
- Adding a more genuine feel to your work (by showing yourself or showing that you really have addressed the topic at hand)
- Catering to audiences who learn better through audio-visual presentations (rather than written content)
The only time a video may not be helpful is if it is off topic or does not provide fresh, valuable information (or, of course, its subject does not meet our publishing standards).
Major Video Dos and Don'ts
Videos are just like Hubs; they should be original, genuine, useful, and of high quality. If your single goal to create a video is to drive traffic or cover a subject because you think it will earn a lot of money, stop.
- Create a video using original video footage that belongs to you
- Create a video that directly addresses the subject of your Hub on HubPages
- Efficiently use time by editing out pauses, off-topic deviations, and unnecessary information
- Create a video of high quality (avoid shaky, grainy footage unless it is really amazing- such as footage of a celebrity punching your mother-in-law)
- Create a video that is informative and/or entertaining
- Go off topic
- Make your videos very long
- Include personal rants
- Use grainy, low-quality footage
- Use others' copyrighted work in your video (music, images, etc.)
- Use intrusive or obnoxious music
- Set music at a high volume
- Make a video out of static images; those are best presented on their own in a Hub
- Make viewers wait through extended opening titles; it is best to cut to the chase
Five Simple Video Shooting Tips
Shooting a video does not require advanced skills; these simple practices can have a huge impact on the quality of your footage.
- Make sure that your subject is properly lit. To do this, shine light on your subject from a source behind the camera and avoid setting your subject in front of windows or lamps that might cause backlighting issues (though providing additional light that shines on your subject's background is a great idea).
- Frame your subject carefully. If you are demonstrating a sports move, don't cut off the subject's feet. If you are demonstrating a craft project, provide a close-up view of just your hands and the work they are doing. If you are demonstrating the use of a software program, zoom in to specific menu items so viewers can see them.
- Give your camera a steady foundation. If you do not have a tripod, find a stable surface for your camera. If you are carrying your camera, consider giving it a counter weight to steady your feeble, embarrassingly-shaking hands (we kid, sort of). You might, perhaps, keep the bottom of a tripod attached, or utilize your camera strap to provide additional support.
- Be mindful of sound. Avoid rooms with an echo or areas with a lot of ambient noise. Make sure your voice is picked up by the camera's microphone (you may want to run some test rounds before beginning your final recording).
- Shoot at least two takes. If possible, shoot at least two takes' worth of video footage. This frees you from having to use footage in which you make an embarrassing mistake that you did not notice when you were filming.
Hold Your Camera Steady
Ideal Video Durations
Conventional wisdom online has it that shorter videos are better.
Generally speaking, online audiences have short attention spans, so keeping your video brief, succinct, and packed with information/entertainment is the best way to go.
Wistia, a video hosting platform for businesses, did some testing on drop-off rates versus video duration and shared some interesting findings:
- Videos under 30 seconds are far more likely to be watched in their entirety
- Videos under two minutes have a clear advantage
- Videos from four to ten minutes in length have very similar drop-off rates
We therefore recommend trying to keep videos under two minutes, but if you are sharing detailed instructions or providing a detailed explanation, do not feel obligated to truncate eight minute footage to four minute footage if every one of those eight minutes provides useful information.
Tips for Camera Shy Hubbers
Many Hubbers are interested in making videos, but feel uncomfortable showing themselves or revealing their voices on camera. Others are not comfortable giving live, visual presentations.
If you count yourself amongst these talented but hesitant Hubbers, consider easing in to video as a format with the following approaches:
- Film your friends or family demonstrating the subject addressed in your Hub (e.g. a conflict resolution method or a fencing move)
- Film only your hands as you work (e.g. on preparing a dish or fixing a broken doorknob)
- Film footage of your subject and record your voiceover separately
- Film footage of your subject, then provide captions to various shots during the editing process (this way, both your image and your voice are left concealed)