Want to start making videos, but not sure how to do it? Well, put your fears on pause and push record on your dreams, because we’re going to give you a close-up look at the best video production tutorials that will teach you the basics to create an awesome video.
Navigating the process of video production is tough and the sheer amount of information out there can be overwhelming. We curated this list of tutorials for you, so you don’t have to figure it out on your own. Just bookmark this list and start working your way through these tutorials that cover the different stages of video production. Once you get to the end, you’ll have a solid understanding of how to create great videos yourself.
1. Basic video vocabulary
– Finding a crew
– Actors and casting
– General tips
– Shooting schedule
5. Distribution and marketing
1. Basic video vocabulary
You can’t do video production without knowing the lingo. Start learning all the terms, crew members, and production roles, so you’ll save time by knowing who and how to ask for what you want.
Here’s a quick tutorial with all the technical jargon you’ll need to know—in just eight minutes!
via Alfie Vaughan
Don’t set sail without a map, and don’t make a video without a plan. Traditional productions start with a Pre-Production (or Pre-Pro) Book, a big three-ring binder with sections for personnel, script, storyboards, actors, locations, art reference, calendar, crew, and post-production.
Your “book” can be physical or digital, but make one, and distribute it to the key members of your team. You’ll have to do less micromanaging because everyone knows where they’re going and how they need to get there.
Watch this tutorial for a checklist of things to think about as you build your plan. This video covers commercial video shoots, so you may need to scale back for smaller projects.
In sailing, if we don’t get to our destination before our resources run out, we’re dead in the water. Literally. In video production, veering off schedule could mean your production will be doomed.
Use a calendar to keep an overview and keep your momentum going with an idea of when your video production begins and ends, and when you plan to release on your distribution channels. This also gives everyone an overview of their own deadlines and those of the others.
Here’s a great video showing a calendar template from idea to release! It’s not riveting, but hey, neither are calendars:
Finding a crew
Your crew are the workers hired (or appointed, or volunteer) to execute the video production. If a crew member is really necessary, hire ‘em. If not, don’t. Less is more. Using the right strategy, smaller and faster crews can often get the job done fine.
If you’re going with a production agency, they may try to make you think you need unnecessary crew members. Don’t let them. Save money by deciding what’s really needed before selecting an agency.
If you’ve got the cash, you can put out an ad and hire people. If you don’t, check out this tutorial:
A script is the written text that details the dialogue, action, and locations in a video. Scripts don’t necessarily mean dialogue (for example, many cooking videos simply depict live action with music), but they do describe what happens in detail. A great script paints an emotional picture for your viewers first, and hits ‘em with the information you need them to know.
Here’s a scriptwriting tutorial that’s “write on”:
Investing in a powerful script can even save cash. Believe it or not, you can make a brilliant video with just stick figures and a voice-over. Not convinced? Check out this example:
Video is a visual medium, so having a script isn’t enough. Ideally, every shot in your video should be depicted by a storyboard, a drawing inside a box representing the camera frame. Think of it like a comic book version of your video. It’s useful when describing your idea to members of the team in all stages of production, and you can check them off as you shoot them.
Decide where your video will be distributed, so you’ll know the shape (aspect ratio) of your storyboard. Social media frames are typically a square (1:1). Instagram stories are a vertical rectangle (9:16). TV or web videos are horizontal rectangles (16:9).
Here’s a great tutorial on how you can easily make a storyboard for your video:
Actors and casting
Is your actor a charismatic spokesperson, like your company’s founder? Or will you feature actual employees or customers?
Or maybe you’ll have more of a classic sales style and make it all about your product or service?
Casting is the process of determining the type and number of actors for your video. There are many things to consider as you begin casting, including how to conduct the audition process and how to decide who will have final approval. As you move through this process, make sure to keep a detailed catalogue all of your talent, especially their contact information, availability, and measurements for any costumes or wardrobe.
Here’s a short tutorial on how to get started with finding the right actors for you:
Every live-action video is shot at a location. That may be a studio, or more likely a public or private setting.
If you can afford a studio, that’ll save lots of logistical headaches. For public and private locations, consider hiring or appointing a Location Manager who can deal with permits, logistics, and angry neighbors.
Whatever locations you choose, make sure your crew can park (legally—no one wants to pay for a crew member’s parking ticket). You may also need power for your equipment. Word to the wise: be friendly to everyone. Frustrated locals can easily sabotage a production by playing loud music while you’re shooting. Be ready to bribe them (food or swag work great!)
If your crew’s light and fast enough—iPhones work great for this—you can be in and out of tricky locations “guerrilla-style”. But you didn’t hear that from us… Savvy?
Here’s a great video that shows you how to scout locations like a pro:
via Studio Binder
Everyone knows practice makes perfect. Rehearsals make sure your production turns out perfectly.
Do you need rehearsals? If you have actors, probably. Rehearsing saves valuable time and energy on the day of shooting when actors know what is expected from their performances, how to play off of other actors, and where to stand for the cameras. Rehearsals also give the camera and sound crew the chance to organize their choreography with the actors and each other.
Here’s a look at how to organize and run a rehearsal:
Every video shoot is different. But here is a great tutorial with five ways to make better videos. Even if you’re hiring a production company, this stuff’s good to know so you can tell them what you’d like to see.
via Peter McKinnon
At this point, you should understand how fast your crew can shoot, move, and communicate, how much time is needed to shoot your video, and how to prepare for that. So it’s time to schedule your video shoot.
Making a shooting schedule is crucial because it lights a fire under your crew. People generally take as much time as you give them. A schedule lets them know exactly how much time they have to do their job.
Here’s an easy tutorial on how to build a schedule:
via Crimson Engine
Now that you’ve got your plan, you know your crew and what they do, and you’ve rehearsed, it’s time to SHOOT! SHOOT! SHOOT!
Camera shots and angles
You can enhance your storytelling by using specific shots and angles. For example, an extreme wide shot typically opens a scene because it lets the viewers know where a story is taking place. An extreme close up—say of a character’s eyes—brings us into the mind and emotions. The closer you put the camera to the subject, the more personal it feels.
Here’s a quick look at the different camera angles you can choose from:
If you’re on a budget and don’t have access to camera rentals, it’s time for your make-it-happen mindset to come into play. Pick yourself up, dust off, and reach into your pocket for a solution most of us have but take for granted: your smartphone.
That’s right! You have a video camera in your pocket! Don’t think it’s a legit option? Apple has shot commercials on iPhone.
Here’s a tutorial on how to turn your phone into a plumb-near professional movie camera:
via Sheldon Evans
But wait, there’s more! If you’re shooting scenic video or just want to get deeper into how to get pro-looking stuff on your smartphone, get a load of this:
via Mike Dewey
Lighting is the magic visual cue which makes your video feel a certain way. For instance, dark shadows compliment heavy drama because of the high contrast between light and dark. On the other hand, soft, diffused light compliments beauty shots—say of a model or a sexy car—because of how the light evenly caresses the subject.
On large-scale productions, the Director of Photography (Cinematographer) designs the look of the lighting based on the director’s vision and works with a Gaffer and Key Grip to execute it. If you’re running a smaller operation, your team may be doing this on their own.
Here’s a tutorial on the holy grail of lighting: three-point lighting, the first thing every film student learns in class):
For an idea of how long it should take to get a standard video lighting setup, take a look at this:
Sound is the magic audio cues that make your video feel a certain way. Listen to the intro of the original “Batman” TV series, then the intro to Batman Begins. One is a fun, wacky comic book, and the latter is filled with dark, brooding realism. Sound plays a huge role in this difference.
On large-scale productions, the Sound Mixer designs your sound, and the Boom Operator is the sound expert who actually records the sound using tiny microphones or that long fishing pole thing called a boom.
Bad sound is a video killer. When you’re recording, listen to every take through headphones. If you hear something fishy, ask the sound mixer about it. Better to shoot another take while you’re there than to have to go back and fix it in post-production.
Check out this tutorial on the importance of sound in filmmaking:
After you’re done shooting, you’ll have a bunch of (hopefully all) video and audio puzzle pieces that need to be put together. That’s what post-production is all about.
Will your video include any additional graphics like text, 2D or 3D animation? If so, you’ll need to find a graphic designer or motion graphics artist.
You’ll also need an editor who can assemble your final video. You’ll need to give the editor two things: what you shot, and the sound you recorded. Talk to them and see if they’d like to have you in the editing booth or not. Everybody works differently. Tell your editor which distribution channel the video will be shown on, so they can edit your video in the right format from the get-go. Also, supply the editor with a copy of the storyboards so they know how to assemble the video.
Here’s a comprehensive look at cinema-style post-production. You probably won’t have this many steps, but it’s important to understand how involved this process can be:
Congratulations! The editor’s done, and you’ve just watched your awesome video for the 13th time! But now’s not the time to rest on your laurels. You’ve built tremendous momentum. Keep it going! It’s time to distribute your video to all of your pre-selected channels, for the whole world to see.
Video production for social media
Twitter assumed people wanted to read longer messages, so they doubled their potential character count limit to 280 characters. But the average tweet is only 33 characters.
Attention spans are getting shorter. Quick helpful video tutorials are blowing up. Pop your message into a social media video to hook your audience and keep them wanting more.
Just like you need to think about where your video will be distributed in order to draw proper storyboards, you need to make sure your video is the right length and style for the channel it’s going on.
Here’s a quick video on how to produce content for social media:
Make sure everybody knows how crucial your product or service is in their life! Use an emotional video with a beginning, middle and end to hook your prospects. And emotional doesn’t only mean drama. What’s the vibe of your brand culture? Funny? Outrageous? Those are emotions, too!
Whether your product is useful in the lives of individuals or society at large, a startup video can be a high-leverage tool for your business.
via Yum Yum Videos
YouTube explainer videos are great for selling, fundraising, or getting the word out. And by great, we mean an 80% conversion increase. Explainers typically don’t use identifiable actors in front of the camera, so they can be less alienating to audiences.
Go ahead and break a leg!
Now you’ve got all the basic information you need to make a great video. Just keep in mind, there are lots of ways that things can go awry—but there are also tons of creative solutions you can find. Get creative with what you have and find a way to make your videos stand out.
If you want to learn more about how to create a great video, check out our ultimate guide to video production.