I’ve created what I think is a comprehensive checklist of what you’ll need to make a craft video. This is mainly a list of equipment you’ll need for production and editing.
I’m making my suggestions for equipment with the amateur video maker in mind. Someday you might just need to hire a professional crew to do your camera work, directing, lighting, sound and editing, but for now, you can make great videos on a tight or limited budget. I am also writing this article with a PC user in mind. Creating videos with a Mac is a slightly different process when it comes to editing.
Equipment for Making Craft Videos
- Camera. Different cameras are going to give you different video quality. We are also are seeing the rise of high definition (HD). This may be the time to invest in a new camera or camcorder, but keep in mind that HD is still fairly new and most video hosting sites are only going to give you a set amount of quality and space. I recommend using the camera/camcorder you have or borrowing from a friend and making a few videos before investing in any new equipment. Once you have a few videos under your belt, you’ll have a better idea of your needs. You may want HD equipment, you may want a simple camera like a point and shoot or you may want better audio within the video. You can make great videos with an inexpensive webcam and horrible videos with the latest, greatest HD camcorder. Part of the result of your efforts will be in taking the time to get to know your camera. And of course you’ll need to be aware of your light just as you have to be aware of it when taking a photo.
- Lighting. I put lighting second on my list because to me it’s the most important aspect of a good video. The wrong light can make you look like an orange alien from the planet Xecora, which is distracting to those viewing. Not having enough light can have your viewers wondering if you are holding a glue gun or staple gun. Too much light can wash out all the detail. Natural light is always the best. In time, you may need to invest in a light system and be able to diffuse the light to avoid burn out. You also need to know some subjects are difficult to light especially glass and mirrors. Anything shiny is going to give you problems.
- Microphone. Your camera has a built-in microphone, but you may not end up liking the sound quality. For some of my videos, I use a Logitech webcam. However, the microphone quality is poor because of the distance I must place it away when recording a video. I’ve had to invest in a separate microphone to get better voice quality. Webcams allow for separate microphones in an easy manner. All you have to do is go into the set-up menu for software and add the new microphone. Point and shoot cameras don’t allow you to have a separate microphone at this time, but you can do voiceovers. A voiceover does require an audio recording application or software program, but most computers come with a simple to use option. You’ll add this audio when you begin to edit your video. Important aspects of any video are images and sound. You can set up a how-to video using titles in your editing software, but voice is more effective.
- Stage. There are so many ways to create a video. You need to create your video in an area with good lighting. You need to make sure that what is seen on the screen is exactly what you want to portray. So, if we are creating a video on how to use a knitting loom, you want to make sure that any steps can be clearly seen by the camera (and your audience). The steps to using a knitting loom must be seen even though the loom, yarn, and hook tool aren’t that big! Time for the close up! However, if we were doing a video on mixing color, you should make the props bigger so the audience can see the detail. Your stage might be an easel with a piece of paper and a large paint brush (think Bob Ross). For many of my own videos, my stage is just sitting in my studio (in front of a large picture window) with my oak cabinets as background. You’ll need to do some test shots to see how your stage is working. Keep it simple, keep it uncluttered. You may need to mount the camera from above to record as an overhead to get the best images. Keep your mind open to how to get the best image on the screen.
- Video Editing Software. It is possible to get a great video shot as one long segment, but for most of us it is better to break it up so we can include close ups and even photo/scanned images to get the message or lesson across to the view. You just became the director and editor of your video! One simple video editing software is Microsoft Video Maker. You can sit down, and after a few hours, have a very good video, but there are limits in your options. Video editing may come very naturally to you and you might find yourself wanting to expand into more professional video editing. For the beginner, a simple editing application is best. The editing will allow you to remove what you don’t want or need from the actual video, plus give you some nice finishing touches like opening title, transitions, end credits, music, audio and more. For Apple/Mac users, iMovie can be learned easily for the basics and, as time and skill allows you can increase the use of other options. At this time I would like to point out that although I am a huge fan of iMovie, the quality you see on your Mac screen is not the quality that most people will be able to view your video. This was such a disappointment for me when I made some great family vacation videos and uploaded the videos to YouTube.com. On my own screen the videos were incredibly crisp, but when I viewed the same video on YouTube, the “crispness” was gone. This will all eventually be fixed as technology catches up with our abilities.
Lights, camera, ACTION! This is just the beginning, but I hope these basic tools will help get you started and eager to make a video!
Have you ever made a craft video?
By: Maria Nerius, FaveCrafts.com Resident Craft Expert
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