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Thread: Let's share Videography, Editing, and YouTube Tips!

  1. #1

    Post Let's share Videography, Editing, and YouTube Tips!

    Videography, Editing, and YouTube Tips- Let's Share!

    Just some tips off the top of my head from the videos I’ve done! I am NOT a professional by any means, I've just been making videos for about 3 years and just know what my personal experience with this is. I thought this could be a thread where we share tips with each other ^_^

    Also, some of this stuff is very basic, some more advanced. Don't be discouraged if you're a beginner and some of it seems overwhelming or over your head. We all start somewhere, and I'm sure some of you all could tell me stuff that would be way over my head too!

    So here would be my input/advice


    Videography tips

    -Read the manual for your camera! Seriously, lots of people don't take the time to do this, but it can have a ton of really helpful information!

    -If you're shooting with a phone, please for the love of god, shoot in landscape mode, unless you think profile mode really is the best way to capture the shot. (That may just be a me thing though, it irks me :P) Don't mix footage taken in landscape and profile in one video, it's jarring and makes the profile footage look really small when both are edited together like that.

    -Tired of water spots when you go above the surface? I’ve had quite a lot of footage ruined by one one well placed water spot. Put a hydrophobic coating on your camera leans. You can get coating like this for your windshield in the auto section. Problem solved!

    -If you're swimming in water that is deeper than you can dive, either hold on to that sucker really well, or put a flotation device on it. Even just using some fishing wire to tie around the strap hole or a hole in the rig, and tying a small piece of pool noodle on there can be a camera saver! Some mers have lost their cameras to the depths, or have had to have scuba divers retrieve it for them.

    -If you’re filming through glass or other reflective surface, filming up close on a subject, or filming in a dark environment- put electric tape (black) over any blinking lights on the front of the camera that indicate it's recording. It can kill the shots, or at least be really distracting if you see that blinking light in the finished footage.

    -If you have a camera that can do multiple fields of view, try and familiarize yourself with them so you know which is best to use. I'm a big fan of the wide view, because it catches more when you're doing long swim shots (swimming across while the camera is stationary), when swimming in groups, and when there's lovely scenery. But sometimes your shot calls more for a medium or narrow field of view.

    -Set the up the camera's white balance, if you’re able. Underwater is a really tricky thing to get white balance and color right, especially for a camera set on “auto”. Indoor underwater is really tricky, because both the color of the actual pool walls, the color of the lights, and the color of the walls above the pool all play into the color in the footage.
    Especially for GoPro cameras. It can help if you shoot in RAW, so you can do easier color balancing in post work (editing). The GoPro Cam RAW can be turned on when “ProTune” is turned on (at least for mine, read your manual for details). In my experience, trying to color correct regular auto colored footage is WAY harder than trying to color correct raw footage. Save yourself the headache!

    -Shoot in 60 frames per second if you’re able. Underwater moments can be short, and with a high fps you can slow the footage down as much as 50% and it won’t look bad (25-29 frames per second is standard). If I slow my footage, I generally try and stick between slowing footage 60-80% (if I do so at all), to keep it looking more organic. But sometimes you can get away with slowing as much as 50%, or slowing for a cool effect. Slowing the footage down can be a tool to create a calm feeling in videos- it all depends on the feel you're going for.

    -Shoot in 1080p. Right now 4k isn’t common enough to bother with the bigger files, in my opinion. YouTube doesn't always support 4k (it's been touch and go for a while now), and even if it does, a lot of devices aren't capable of showing true 4k when watched anyhow. Even 4k TVs aren't too big on the market for most folks at the moment because of the big increase in price from a more standard 1080.

    -If you're recording someone else, keep a steady hand while shooting. Use both hands to hold the camera- 9/10 that free hand is going to get in the way of the shot. Swim smoothly and hold the camera steady. If someone is recording you, ask them to do the same.

    -If you or someone else is shooting on dry land, ask them to mix up the angles. Not just stand in once place for 5 minutes and shoot you straight on. Get up close, get far away, move up high, down low, at different angles. It makes for a more engaging and interesting video.

    -Put the camera somewhere stationary if you can. Set it on the bottom of the pool, on a ladder or step, on a ledge, etc. If you have a bendable mount (like GoPros do) aim it in different directions. Like aim it up to the surface and do a swim over! Get creative

    Extra tip on this: Have a GoPro, but not a mount for it? Use the mount that comes on the box! Pry it off the box and tada- you have a flat mount without having to shell out money for it! If need be, you can use lead shot weights to weight it down so it won't move or slide around.
    For other cameras, you can purchase mounts or different kinds tripods (small and large). FYI: Mono poles don't work very well in the water. There isn't enough force from you to keep the force of the water from moving it around and shaking it like crazy. Most underwater mono pole footage I've seen isn't very useable. The same effect typically can be done by holding it out and using a wide field of view.



    Editing tips

    I use Adobe software, so that's mostly where I'm coming from. But hopefully even if you don't, you'll find some of these helpful

    -Having trouble navigating all the tools of your software, or don't know how to do something? Google is your friend! Google, YouTube, and forums for the specific software you use can all be invaluable in helping you learn to use your software to it's fullest potential.

    -Trim, trim, trim. A lot of people just leave uninteresting footage or blank space in, trim that stuff out! It will make a more engaging video. I've even looked back at some of my own videos and think why.. why did I leave that 10 seconds of completely uninteresting footage in there while I was off to the side. That's the time when people get bored and click away.

    Even with vlogs, don't be afraid to trim out content that you decide you don't like later. Maybe you went on a side rant, or maybe you stammered and got tongue tied for a minute, or whatever it may be. People don't care if it's one continuous take or not.

    Don't be discouraged at how little footage you may end up with. I can have hours of uncut footage and end up with only a few minutes of actual good video that I use- that is common.

    -Straight cut aways are fine, you don't have to put transitions in. That's the way TV does it, everyone is use to it. When you start out you may be tempted to use all kinds of flashy transitions, but it tends to be more distracting than it does add to the video, even jarring, in my opinion. Sometimes less is more! If you need one, try and go with a film dissolve transition, rather than something (for example) like a 3D cube turning to the next clip.

    -Cut up all your video pieces that you want, then pick your song. If you do that, you can tailor your clips to match up with the audio. You don't think that that magical chime just happened to coincide with that lovely ocean wave, that swell of music just fell on that backflip clip, or it just so happens that that perfect timpani hit lined up with that fluke slap, do you? Of course not! And it makes the video more engaging to the viewer, and if I do say so myself, feels rather satisfying to get right.

    -Want to use a song, but it's too long? Cut that sucker down! You can cut it off in an organic sounding spot, have it fade, or cut it to pieces and arrange it. I've cut a song into different bits and stitched them together many times. If you cut in the right place, it's not even noticeable. Recently I cut a 5 minute song down to 1 minute and 39 seconds smoothly. I've done the same thing with extending the length of songs when they were too short.

    -Most underwater footage needs a boost in brightness, contrast, and saturation. Light doesn't penetrate as well below water, so that's the reason. Sometimes the contrast of what you see in the editor will be dumbed down when you export it out (depending on your software), so try rendering and exporting a small sample to see what the finished product will look like. I often find I need to bump up the contrast more to make up for that difference.

    -Most underwater footage needs the blue and green to be toned way down, and the red dialed up. Lakes in particular tend to be VERY green. If it looks strange after toning down the green and blue, try adding some of the blue back. Sometimes it’s a tricky balance to strike.

    -As I said, underwater footage is really tricky when it comes to colors (levels, curves, contrast, white balance, all that). Most of the time if you try and throw on auto filters, it will not know what to do with it and look really bad. Sometimes it can be spot on, but other times you click it and go YIKES! Most of the time I find I have to do color correction manually.

    -Even if the auto correction tools do a decent job, in some programs even the slightest lighting change can make the color correction flicker or flash. Check for this, and if need be, remove it and do it manually.

    -If things still look off, try playing with the color balances of just mid tones, just shadows, just highlights, ext. Sometimes you’ll find what was throwing you off was, for example, the shadows being really green when everything else was fine.

    -Really explore those color correction tools. There are different tools for different reasons, and they can be just what you need to get things looking right if you play with them a little. I’m a big fan of the quick color correction wheels in Adobe Premier Pro where you have color wheel that you can use to get the hues just right.

    -If you have a video editor that has the function, use a stabilizing feature. Sometimes the camera is too shaky to do it without saving the size of the video, but other times it leads to a much smoother, professional looking, pleasing video.

    -Export in H.264 for the appropriate platform you’re using. Some editors will have a specific preset for YouTube, for example.

    -Frame blending when exporting may or may not be for you. I find it makes the frames look blurry.


    YouTube tips
    Most of these are aimed to getting a bigger audience, more subscribers, and more views.

    -Become a YouTube partner! According to YouTube, you basically just have to have original videos and have the program available in your country to sign up. (More info here)

    When you become a YouTube partner, you get access to all kinds of stuff that you wouldn't normally. The better you do, the more perks you get (up to a point). Some of those things include: Getting to set custom thumbnails for your videos, longer videos (most accounts can only upload 15 minutes), external annotations, live streaming, YouTube online video editor, paid content, ability to unlisted and private videos, and of course, monetization.

    -Make those sand dollars! Setup an AdSense account with Google and link it to your YouTube. It's a bit of a process, but it's not hard (it does involve some waiting though) and Google provides a lot of tutorials and support for helping you do it. If you use original and/or creative commons content, you can make money when you enable monetization on your videos. It's not a lot, but every bit helps!

    -USE KEYWORDS AND TAGS! If you don't, people are not very likely to find and watch your videos. I see so many channels who don't take advantage of this key part of the system. If you use them, YouTube and Google are on your side to direct viewers your way. It also helps to have things like "mermaid"/"merman" and other mermaid related words or phrases in the title of your video and in your video description.
    If you do an unboxing or review video, list the name of the company in the title and what kind of tail it is (fabric, neoprene, full silicone, etc). A lot of people who are thinking of buying a tail will be searching for the company by name, and if you don't include that info readily, your video may be passed over or not found.

    -Use custom thumbnails. Otherwise, YouTube picks a few random stills to chose from, and often they're not the best one to showcase your video. The better your thumbnail is, the more likely people are to watch.

    -Keep the first part of your description an description of what the video is. This is the part of you video description that is shown under your thumbnail on suggested videos, and external links.

    -Use YouTube's free audio library! They have a lot of creative commons songs that you can sort through various filters, and you can even download them so you can put them in in editing, rather than having to do it after the video is uploaded. BUT while they've been expanding it in the past year, don't rely just on it for all your free audio. There are lots of creative commons songs and artists out there, if you take the time to look!

    Just be sure to know how to properly credit Creative Content artists, and what is and isn't allowed. Most artists will either have the conditions of you using their work on their website (or wherever you found it), or will have the type of Creative Commons license linked. For example, some artists will not allow you to make alterations to their work (meaning you can't trim a song in the middle to make it fit your video), and others will. If you don't follow the license limitations and agreements, the creator can have the video pulled for using their work incorrectly.
    The basic thing is to list (in the video description) the Song name, the Artist, a link to the source material (where you found it), and a statement that you're using it under a Creative Commons License (and what type of CC license if known).

    -If you don't use Creative Commons music, YouTube has different policies for different songs/artists- this is because the artist has decided what they want and don't want done with their song. Some songs can't be viewed in certian countries, some songs aren't able to be played on mobile devices (where most viewers come from), etc. It can be a real bummer to work really hard on a video that syncs to a song, then discover most of your audience isn't even allowed to view it.
    To check the copyright policy of a song, go to the "Create" tab in the creator studio, and click "Music Policies". Search for the song you want to use, and it will tell you what the policies and restrictions around that song are.
    Just to be clear, you can't monetize videos with non-creative commons songs, but many times ads will appear on your video. The money from these ads go to the artists, as per their agreement with YouTube.

    -Try and keep it short. People don't have very good attention spans when watching swim videos. Sad but true. Try and keep it under 3 minutes. The average audience retention rate on YouTube is around 30-45%. That means that about 35% through the video, they stop watching, click away, ect. The longer the video, the lower the retention rate, which can hurt your rankings. I mean, if you care about that stuff at all, most people who just do it for fun don't.

    -Check your traffic sources (under Creator Studio > Analytics > Traffic Sources ; you can then see specific searches on YouTube that brought them to your videos by clicking YouTube Search). See where your views are coming from, and how they found you. Check to see what people search for that lead to your video. That way you know what kind of content people are looking for, and how to better tag and/or title your videos.

    -Pay attention to your front page (what people see when they navigate to your channel). Make a profile picture, a cover image, a featured video, and some playlists of your own video (for example, sorting dry videos, underwater videos, and and vlogs into different playlists). Draw folks in

    -Put a subscribe button on your videos, and/or links to your other videos. I put a subscribe button at the end of my videos. Ever since I started doing that, my subscribers have gone up. This is becuase most viewers find you through related videos that YouTube suggests (using those handy tags we talked about). People are open to suggestion, more than you might think, so use that!
    If you put a subscribe graphic in your video, you can make it into a button by using the annotations function, specifically the "spotlight" function that you can use to link the button to the subscribe link for your channel. You can also use a text annotation to ask them to subscribe, but I find that isn't as effective.

    -Put links to your social media in the video descriptions. Since most views come from suggested videos, they might also go and check out your other social media (if you link them, people are lazy) and get a new like, follower, etc.
    Be nice, and if you have other mers featured in your videos, link their social media in the description too

    -Put a watermark on your video. These are the days of freebooting (stealing your video and uploading it somewhere else, like Facebook their your own channel) and content theft (even in the form of people making gifs of your video and not crediting). It's rampant. Do yourself a favor and put a watermark on there, so if it gets stolen, at least people can see where it came from/who it belongs to, if nothing else.

    -SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION! Post your videos to Facebook, on here (make a thread for your own channel even), on Twitter, Tumblr! Post a teaser on Instagram and let people know where they can watch the full video.

    -DON'T be discouraged by weird or offensive comments. YouTube comments can be the dregs of the internet, and the more views you get, the more dunderheads you'll attract. Some people will say offensive or hateful things just to get pleasure from getting a rise out of you or thinking they could have hurt your feelings, even if they don't even mean what they say. Haters gonna hate, trollers gonna troll, flamers gonna flame. Delete the comment/ban them and move on. Don't feed the trolls.
    And post the hilarious ones in the Stupid YouTube Comments thread so we can all have a giggle about it together :P


    Lastly: Remember to support other mermaids! Subscribe to their channel, like their videos, and click on the ads that pop up. It only takes a second to click on the ad then close the window, and it will help support that mer by giving them a bit of extra funds!


    So I think that's about it! I hope you all will share your knowledge on here too, and we can all share and learn together ^_^

    Wingéd Mermaid Iona

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  2. #2
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod PearlieMae's Avatar
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    What a wonderful and helpful guide! Thank you for all your time and effort! Compiling this must have taken a lot of hard work! Brava!

  3. #3
    Super great advise Iona!

    I got a GoPro knockoff and just recently used it underwater for the first time. I am really excited to get more footage! It is great to finally know what I look like underwater and what I need to work on lol.

    My advise to others and myself is to take your time to review the footage while you are still on location! One of my biggest problems is I worry too much that the person filming me or taking my photo has better things to do and I am wasting their time, so I rush myself and don't pause to review what they have taken and if we need to do more takes. It is a really bad feeling to set out wanting to document swimming in a cool location only to get back and review your footage and see that you didn't get the amazing evidence that you had hoped for.
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  4. #4
    Another set of CC music I use is www.incompetech.com you can search all kinds of feels and genres and it's good for background music. I also have started to use some music from an artist on SoundCloud. He allows people to use it for monetization as long as people credit him - the great Casey Neisat uses his tunes. Another tip is to utilize the part on the creator studio where you can create a default description. That way I have my links to other playlists, subscribe, social media and what music I frequently use written into my description automatically. I also find that making thumbnails that show mermaid swimming help increase views. People want to see a tail in action so I make a point of always including some of that footage in my videos. Another tip I have gleaned in my 4 years of video production studies is to keep shots under 5 seconds. Having multiple cuts will keep the audience engaged. Lastly, use your own tag in your videos. People may not remember what tail you had, but if they want to show your video to someone they'll search what they DO remember such as "Mermaid Iona swimming blue"

    Hope any of these tips help- this is a great thread!
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Euro Pod MermanOliver's Avatar
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    Wow! What a great collection of advice! Iona, I think you quite nailed it (and addressed nearly every topic one could stumble and fumble upon). Especially the part on color correction is very helpful. And faithonthebass' tip on shot length, shot selection and different cc music sources is so good as well.

    Sorry to kind of chime in to an old discussion, just found it after quite a period of absence...

    If I can add a little bit myself, most of the more sophisticated programs like Adobe or so (I use Blender, as I know it and it's free) have several image analyzing indicators especially tailored to color correction. The ones I use are:
    • Color Histogram: A set of graphs indicating how the brightness of the pixels in an image are distributed in red, green, blue and overall brightness. Useful for assessing overall contrast and a rough check on color imbalance (e.g. the red channel of underwater footage will indicate generally far lower readings than the blue and green channels).
    • Vectorscope: At first a strange indicator showing the red, green and blue part of every pixel on a more or less circular screen with red, green and blue each being 1/3 of the circumference apart. If the image is tinted in one direction the point cloud will be out of the middle in that direction (underwater mostly on the blue/green direction).

    Usually try getting the point cloud more or less in the middle (neutral point) by reducing the red and blue channels and then increasing the contrast until the historam has a nice distribution from full black to full white. Starting from there you can go for the look you want (for example adding some blue back in or fine-tuning the contrast).
    The advantage is that most of the work is getting the blue-green tint out of the footage, and when just eyeballing it your eyes might get used to some kind of color tint and miss the spot you want.

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