Start Creating Video in 2017 – Four Steps to Your First Video

This is it! This is YOUR year! We all know that 2016 was a raging dumpster fire but please don’t fret. You’re in 2017 now and it’s going to be incredible.

What’s going to make 2017 so spectacular? The videos you make and edit, of course! You’ve been meaning to do it since, oh, forever. But you didn’t have the right equipment, you didn’t have enough time, and frankly, you didn’t have the motivation. But not this year! This is YOUR year! You’re going to shoot, edit, and post your first video. It’s going to be awesome! Let’s get started.

1. Read this blog post.

ALRIGHT! You’re already doing great!

2. Think about one video.

Not a series of videos or a bunch of ideas that you’ll try someday. Hone in on a single video. That one idea that really grabs you. The idea that you plan on “working up to someday.” Do that one.

Sometimes we catch ourselves franchising the whole thing before we even get started. So here’s your GENTLE-YET-NOT-SO-GENTLE-REMINDER: it’s your first time ever making a video and it will take you longer to edit your first one.

The surefire way to get discouraged: plan a series of 10 videos. After you realize that editing the first one took you four days you will suddenly become discouraged and negative about your progress. Instead of giving yourself kudos for making a perfectly fine first video, you’re now beating yourself up and feeling like a failure because you weren’t able to finish your epic retelling of Gilgamesh on your first try.

one is the loneliest number

Relax! Ten is a lot of episodes. You know, Breaking Bad had ten episodes per season. That’s a lot of content. You think you’re Breaking Bad or something? You’re not. Hate to break it to you but I’m on your side here. Save yourself from your future self. Your future self wants to make tons of videos in 2017 but current self only knows how to make one. So stop trying to be Breaking Bad for a hot minute. Why not scale back to…oh I don’t know…one! Because one is manageable. One is 1,546%* more than you were doing at this time last year. Because editing your first video is a victory to be celebrated. One video.

3. Keep it under three minutes.

Your first video is to be three minutes or less. (I would say two minutes or less, but sometimes that can actually be harder.) So three minutes or less.

“But what about four minutes?” you ask. “I have a lot to say,” you insist. To which I reply: “No you don’t! There is nothing you can say in four minutes that you can’t say in three!”

Good videos are short videos. Ever watch a nine minute tutorial on YouTube? Me neither! When the list of “How to Fix a Clogged Sink” tutorials pops up, I look at the shortest one and go from there. Actual data suggests people are willing to watch video on YouTube longer than Facebook, but I still think you can’t go wrong with under three minutes.

EXHIBIT A. Ain’t nobody got time for your long-winded video.

There will be many of you out there that will not heed my advice, and you’ll start the new year with a near-six-minute opus. You will receive views and accolades and a sense of inner peace. You will come back to this blog post, find the author, and send me an angry tweet all like:

Michael Bay Fake Tweet

But you will be wrong. You probably would have had more views, more accolades, and an even greater sense of inner peace had you made a three minute video.

So I’ll save you the trouble of writing that future tweet and appeal to your love of statistics. This data was gathered through countless independent studies and verified internally by our own internal TechSmith market research:

video editing graph

So there. Guess I was right. Three. Minutes. Or. Less.

4. Prep is optional (this time)

A lot well intentioned people will tell you how to prep to make a video. Write a script! they say. Practice before you record! they say. Plan beforehand! they say. And while this isn’t at all bad advice, to me it’s the equivalent of telling someone “just simply eat right and exercise.”

WOW! That’s it?!?! Just eat right and exercise? I’ve never thought of that before…OHMYGOSHTHANKYOU!!!

thanks for that great advice bro

But it’s 2017 and today we’re going to keep it ????

How do you actually write a script? What are you supposed to “plan” in your video if you haven’t made it yet? Practicing can feel kind of dumb, and if you’re going to run through it, why not just record it anyway? I’ve been there.

No really, I’ve been there. Before I became a professional editor I was a self taught amateur. I had projects I wanted to edit and no idea how to do it. This was in early 2000s and I didn’t have the good sense to find a blog post that broke it all down. So I just winged it! I specifically remember digging and learning the ins-and-outs of video editing by doing it myself. I say all this because I want you to know I’m being serious when I tell you this next part…

Just getting the video done–no matter the quality!–is the most important part of making your first video. It’s kind of circular logic like that: making the first video is the only point of making the first video. Trust me when I say that you will learn so so much from your first video. Your mistakes! Your wins! That amazing sense of accomplishment! You will feel it all acutely because this is your first at bat. You don’t know what you’re doing? Lean into it. It’s no big deal. All that matters is that you get the first one done.

(In a month or two–when you’re making your third or fourth new video–you will look back on this very first video and see so many flaws and mistakes. This is called growth. And you can’t grow if you don’t start.)

Perfection is the enemy of done.

Here’s a totally inspiring video from Mr. Jake Parker.

And here’s a just-as-inspiring video from Mr. Shia LaBeouf:

It’s 2017 and you’ve already completed Step 1. Go you!

step 1 complete

Download the Camtasia free trial now.

*This number is just an estimate and may not reflect actual percentages or anything. Something about dividing by zero. Or was it multiplying? Whatever. Math is hard.

Posted in Tips & How To's
Tagged , , ,
David Patton

David Patton is the Media Coordinator for TechSmith.
Follow him on Twitter @davidpatton6

  • Favorite things: Star Wars, iPhone, and Dr. Pepper
  • Personal motto: "If you're at a buffet, be first and fill up your plate."
  • Currently reading: The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens