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Video making tips for everyone

Making your own video involves a lot of careful planning and research. Here’s what you need to know.

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Image: Unsplash

Planning on making a video? There are so many factors to consider when shooting your own footage, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Fortunately, we’ve provided some video-making tips that can be followed by everyone.

Plan Before Shooting

It’s important that you plan your project before shooting it. Ask yourself why you’re making the video and what you hope to achieve through it.

Understanding these will help you to be more organized with planning, shooting, editing, and promoting your footage, thereby saving you time and resources in the long term.

Also, make sure you research the subject of your video before you start shooting. If you’re filming a journalistic news piece, for instance, it’s crucial you have all the correct facts and that your video is not only accurate but is fair and balanced.

How can you get all sides across in a succinct, professional way? Who is your target audience? You need to consider all these factors before you start.

Film horizontal

It’s always a good idea to film horizontally instead of vertically – or in landscape instead of portrait. This is especially important if you’re filming on a smartphone. Filming horizontally will result in footage that looks good not only on phone screens but on larger devices as well.

Use a tripod

Regardless of whether you’re doing a crane shot, panning shot, or dollying your camera from side to side, using a tripod will help you avoid shaky and blurred footage.

Keeping your camera on a steady and even keel will prevent it from looking like home video footage and will give it a much more professional, polished finish overall.

If your footage does end up shaky, there is video stabilization software that you can apply afterward. However, investing in a tripod will save you a lot of time and resources in the long term.

Create a shot list

The shot list is a crucial element in your pre-production strategy and should be one of the first things you devise after your screenplay is finalized.

Put simply, a shot list is a detailed checklist of every shot in your project and is usually organized by scene and shot numbers.

These are vitally important, regardless of whether your project is a scripted film, a motion graphics animation, or a documentary.

For each scene and shot in the sequence, the list should contain the following: location/setting, camera equipment required (or example, lenses, tripods), shot type/description, framing, composition, action/dialogue, actors or subjects involved, props required, and any additional notes.

The shot list not only helps to break down your script into a manageable, organized process, but it also helps you to determine your budget and schedule.

They aren’t only important for scripted projects, however;  they can be used for live videos as well. If you’re filming a live event, such as a wedding or similar special occasion, it’s imperative that you’re fully aware of the schedule of events for the day.

For instance, what time the ceremony begins, when the reception venue is booked etc. Discuss in detail exactly what the client wants to be captured on the day and create your shot list accordingly. Tick off the items on the list as you do them to make sure everything gets covered.

If you’re working on a particularly large project, or you’re more of a visual thinker, you might want to supplement your shot list with a storyboard.

A storyboard, complete with illustrations and notes of all your scenes in sequence, will enable you to visualize your video as an overall finished product and help you to determine your budget, preferred locations, times of day for shooting, and the correct equipment to use.

The storyboard can also be used as a guide to refer to while you shoot your film.

Shot setting

Determining where and when your footage is set is extremely important. Will you be filming on location somewhere? And if so, do you need permission? Will you be relying on sets? Are you using natural or artificial lighting? What about the climate? These are all things you must take into account.

Good lighting isn’t just important for the overall quality of your footage, it can be used as a special effect to create different moods and atmospheres. Work out what types of lighting you need to achieve whatever effect you’re aiming for in each scene.

For instance, if you’re using natural light to create an ethereal scene, then try to shoot in the morning or evening when the light is softer and more flattering. 

Make sure you also consider the composition and framing of each shot. For instance, if you’re focusing on a particular subject in the scene, keep the background simple and uncluttered.

You can do this by using one solid color in the background, but make sure it’s placed at an adequate distance to prevent casting shadows.


Making your own video involves a lot of careful planning and research. As long as you follow our handy tips, you should be able to film professional-looking footage in a simple, stress-free manner. 

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