Video. Let’s get started!
If you’ve ever wanted to get started in any creative venture, you’ve realized there’s a few hurdles. Lets talk about the main ones that I see for getting started in video work. I love being a creative, and telling the stories in a single frame is something I hold near and dear to my heart. As clients request more video work, I figured I’d write out my process of starting up a creative endeavor being someone already in the creative industry. Caveat, I will look at video from the same approach I did for stills, if you want to get into photography this all applies!
We’ll break this down into a few sections:
G.A.S was coined by Zack Arias. His simple look at what makes G.A.S (Gear acquisition syndrome) such a hurdle for creatives, is a guiding light for photographers and videographers alike, also I’m pretty sure it’d expand into other fields too. Simply put, you don’t need 90% of the gear you keep looking at. Albeit, Gear is useful, it shouldn’t be the be main focus of your artistic work.
To get started in video you’ll need a camera with audio capability. I’ve used B-roll from my cellphone with DSLR footage, and people didn’t notice. The camera is a tool. Simple. As your skill level progresses ,and clients (see reasons) request specific things (slo-mo, low DOF, smoother footage, drone footage) gear will naturally increase. Always be asking yourself what are you making. Why? And do you really need XYZ camera. Here’s an example of a starter kit.
- Camera (Any entry level DSLR)
- Lens (50mm f1.8 is an amazing starter lens for super cheap)
- Basic Mic (Rode has a bunch)
- Tripod (Sturdy, with panning ability)
Basic starter kits can make some awesome videos, however they can be lacking for more beefy jobs, this is when you’ll need a more video-centric approach (We’re at this level right now). We’ll consider this the baseline for serious artists & businesses.
- Video specific camera (Something with 60fps + and a higher resolution sensor)
- Lenses (A variety, long and short focal lengths)
- Mics (Shotgun mics, lav mics)
- Tripod (Video pan head)
- Stabilizer (For smooth movement)
- Continuous lights
As you can see the list balloons fast. Make sure each gear purchase is to help your overall vision of the work, not G.A.S!
Who, where and what are your shooting? We’ve talked about “Niche” before, this is important. The subject of your videos is varied, are you focused on telling stories of local businesses or do you want to show how amazing athletes can be? The subject, the people in front of your lens are the core of the story. Put strong leads in front of the camera, and the story will unfold. Tell a softer story with a quieter individual, the key here is simply knowing the story first, then placing the right subject into the frame. If you want to show a soft environmental story, might be smart to not have Gary the loud abrasive UFO guy as you main subject.
Finding the subjects is the fun part of getting started in videography. People are everywhere, most of them don’t really want to be in front of the camera. If your story is strong and you know your subjects already, you’re lucky. We spend a lot of time finding models for photos, and we’ll probably spend just as much time finding talent for video. Not to mention locations.
If you want to do a video on a specific thing, look up that hemisphere. If I wanted to focus in on a story about skateboarding, I’d figure out who is in the area, and does skateboarding, reach out to them for a coffee, chat about the creative ideas and take notes on what they think would work.
You are making a video. This video will probably be viewed by others than yourself. This audience, who are they?
This is an important part that many film makers overlook. Yes they want to make this movie, and they love the idea of it, but failed to see who would actually pay money for it. On a smaller scale we creatives need to be aware of this. The audience has seen the same old corporate talking head video a billion times. It’s upto you to find a new and creative way of telling that story for their audience. Audiences within audiences get difficult too. You want to know who your story speaks to before picking up the camera. Use the “buyer profiles” post to loosely figure out who your audience is.
Why are you making this video? Is this something you’re passionate about and want the world to share with you? Is it something you have dreamed of making? Is it something you’ve been paid to do? The why is important. Learn your why, and always refer back to it.
If you’re making this for yourself you will have your reasons, but if you’re being paid to make the video, you’re essentially being asked to curate a view you have to a business. Clients will affect the way your videos are made and will often make changes that go against your overall artistic views. This can sometimes be for overall audience they are looking to affect. Working with clients often requires a gentle balance of your vision of the art with constraints the company has, whether that’s time, talent or budget, your creativity gets ramped up to work within those constraints.
I LOVE seeing passionate people in their environments, over the last few years I’ve been on set with high level athletes, business leaders, artists, musicians, doctors, the list goes on. I want to bring their passion for their craft / work / reason, to the forefront, and make them into larger than life hero characters. My reasons will vary from yours, and that’ll take some soul searching (the fun part that can take years, don’t fret it if you still don’t know, just be aware of the question) but identifying this will make the creation of the video much easier. Think of it as a roadmap for a trail.
Fail better. Get out there and make some videos. They’ll probably suck to start. But keep going, learn from your mistakes, and build upon your work. The key to being a better artist is time on the road, getting the mileage in (runners analogy – basically spend more time running to get better), and ultimately failing to success. Don’t be afraid to send out your creation into the world, and focus on what you’d change, and apply that to the following videos.
Love your work, enjoy the process, and just get out there and make some neat content for us to enjoy.
If this post has helped you figure out your starting up for your video work I’d love to see the results! Make sure to strike up a conversation on instagram @ashmurrellphotography or facebook fb.com/ashmurrellphotography! Also I’d love if you shared & liked on these platforms! If you came here from linkedin, drop me a message and let me know! I’m Interested to see if that platform actually generates some activity.