Are you ready to level up your video creation skills this year?
Whether you’ve been creating videos for the past month or several years, there’s always room for improvement to make your content the best it can possibly be.
Matt Pierce, host of The Visual Lounge, breaks down some ways to hone your skills, improve your videos, and level up for 2022. If you want to make 2022 your year for video, start by following these tips below.
You can watch the video on this topic at the top of this post, to listen to the podcast episode, hit play below, or read on for more…
Try something new for 2022
Whatever you decide to do in the world of video this year, Matt’s first tip is to challenge yourself to make the kind of video you don’t usually. If you’re used to doing just screen captures, opt for a talking heads video. Maybe try out different content formats within the same video.
Trying out new things can teach us a huge amount. You might even find your new go-to video format. Don’t leave it there, though. Make sure you test out your new experiments with your audience or peers to see how it all goes.
Leveling up your video skills is all about trying new things and making small changes. So, with that in mind, Matt has eight different things to try in 2022.
1. Hit record more often
Hitting that record button isn’t always the easiest thing to do. But getting into the habit of recording more often, whether that’s a video of yourself talking or a screen recording, will help you break through that invisible barrier.
If you’re going to get better at making videos, it’s all about those incremental changes. This is an idea popularized by the worldwide bestseller Atomic Habits by James Clear. In that book, he discussed how small changes can add up and make all the difference.
It’s all about those 1% gains. What small thing can you do today that will get you 1% better than yesterday? One of the simplest things you can decide to do is hit record more often.
2. Give your takes space
What we mean by this is learning to pause, take things slow, and speak slower. If you don’t already, start leaving gaps and dead air in between things you say.
Why? It makes it so much easier to edit and make cuts.
If you’re talking at the speed of light, it’s tricky to cut out bits that don’t work. It’s harder to piece things together if there are no gaps.
So, give yourself that breathing room. It’ll also help with any nerves you have in front of the camera as well if you force yourself to slow down.
3. Learn your tools
If you’ve been around TechSmith a while, you’ll have heard this tip before – but for good reason! Learn how to use your tools well and it will transform your videos.
Get to grips with your camera’s settings, learn and experiment with lighting positioning, and figure out how to get the best audio out of your microphone. Watch some tutorials on how to use your editing software so you can create the best possible content with your current tools.
If you know the basics already, great. The next step is to experiment with new features or streamline your workflow process as you become more comfortable with all the tools you have.
4. Love the L and J
This ties into the previous tip about learning your tools. L-cuts and J-cuts are editing terms that you should definitely familiarize yourself with if you want to improve your editing skills.
An L-cut is when the audio from the preceding scene continues to play over the footage that follows. A J-cut is the reverse of that where audio from the following scene plays over the preceding footage.
We have a whole tutorial on the TechSmith blog about how to edit videos using L-cuts and J-cuts, so check that out if you’re not already familiar with it.
The L and J-cuts are just examples, though. What we want to highlight is how important it is to learn how to use your editing software. So brush up on your terminology and try out some tutorials. (psst…you can find plenty on TechSmith Academy or our blog).
5. Make use of templates
Leveling up your videos isn’t just about using fancier features. But if you do want to use features or effects in a regular series of videos, creating templates will save you a ton of time.
You can save and use templates for lower-third graphics, transitions, or titles with software like Camtasia, so you don’t have to waste time creating them every time.
The best thing about using templates is that it leaves you free to concentrate on creating your content instead.
6. Use standards
We hear you. Standards, templates, it all sounds boring, right?
Hear us out though. Using standards if you’re making videos for a brand is a way to ensure consistency which makes your videos look more professional.
Using a standard font, color, logo, or layout, means you don’t have to make those decisions while creating your videos. You don’t have to dig through old videos to find the hex code you use for titles. You can just reuse the information you and your team have already decided on and save that information somewhere that’s easy to access.
Again, this frees up your brain power to spend on what really matters – the content itself.
7. Upgrade your gear and space
This is possibly the most obvious way to take your videos to the next level. But don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you need to splash out for a whole studio setup. Remember, small incremental changes are key.
So, if you’ve been recording video on your webcam or smartphone for the past few years, perhaps you’ll want to focus on upgrading your camera. If you’ve never thought much about lighting, maybe your focus for 2022 will be to invest in some lighting.
Perhaps you want to try and dedicate some space for a greenscreen or improve your background for videos. Whatever it is, it doesn’t have to be huge. Think of any ways, big or small, you can upgrade your gear or space.
8. Get feedback (earlier)
Matt’s final top tip is perhaps the trickiest to deal with (but one of the most important). Get feedback as early as you can and as specific as you can.
Sometimes when you’re working on videos for hours on end, there will be things you didn’t think of or spot, and you need a fresh pair of eyes on it.
Try to get feedback on both the technical stuff (does your microphone sound good?) and the content itself (is it telling the story you want it to?)
But one thing to bear in mind is how you ask for feedback. If you say, “does this look okay?” You might get a yes or no response. Instead, be specific and ask something like, “how does this new editing style look? Is it clear or smoother?” Or maybe, “does this transition look better or worse than the previous one?”
Ask specific questions and you’re much more likely to get specific responses that you can act on.
Of course, we could go on and on with more great tips for leveling up your videos. But if you want to make a start on improving your 2022 content, these are a good starting point.
For more advice and tutorials on creating videos and audio, head over to TechSmith Academy.