How To Make a Video From Start to Finish

13 September 2021

From your smartphone to tablets, and of course, digital cameras, camcorders and action cams, it's easier than ever to hit record and start filming your own videos. For those looking to add a professional or cinematic touch to your videos, you’ve come to the right place. Discover how to make a video from start to finish with our video tips for beginners.

What video equipment do I need to record my first video?

Step 1: Choose a camera

Although most cameras can record video, they won’t all capture video in the same way. Sure, your smartphone might be easy to use, but when comparing the quality of video captured with a proper video camera, the result is night and day. If you want to compete with the wide world of videography, you’re going to need a camera capable of capturing high-resolution video (preferably 4K) while also allowing you to take advantage of additional accessories (which we’ll touch on camera accessories in a moment).

How To Make a Video From Start to FinishHow To Make a Video From Start to Finish

An ideal choice for video recording is a mirrorless camera. Now considered real competition to DSLRs (another option for video recording), mirrorless cameras are a lightweight option with ​​modern connectivity and typically superior auto-focusing, making them even better for vlogging and live-streaming.

How To Make a Video From Start to FinishHow To Make a Video From Start to Finish

Step 2: Pick a microphone

An often forgotten element of recording video is sound. Recording audio that is clean and crisp is crucial to the success of any video. Built-in microphones might be okay for personal use, but if you’re planning on sharing your videos on YouTube or live video streaming on Twitch, you’ll need a dedicated microphone (and a dedicated sound recording device) if you want to improve the audio quality of your videos.

Step 3: Consider lighting equipment

Just like photographers might use a flash to brighten up images, videographers use dedicated lights to alter the look of their videos. Since you can’t always rely on natural light, creating a consistently well-lit and vibrant video requires additional equipment. Portable LED lights and ring lights will give your camera plenty of lighting to work with, but if you plan on more professional video projects, you’ll need to invest in dedicated film lights.

Step 4: Get a tripod

Blurry and bumpy footage is just as off-putting as poor audio or dark and grainy footage. Fortunately, there is a tried and true cure for stability issues - mount your camera on a tripod! Tripods are an affordable and easy to use accessory that can immediately increase the production values of your videos. Tripods take the camera out of your hands, making them essential if you spend most of your time in front of the lens.

How To Make a Video From Start to FinishHow To Make a Video From Start to Finish
How To Make a Video From Start to FinishHow To Make a Video From Start to Finish

Step 5: Consider stabilisers & gimbals

If you want to capture high-quality handheld footage on your smartphone, you’ll need to consider a hand grip or selfie stick. For full-size cameras, you’ll need to get a gimbal stabiliser. Gimbals use motorised gears and sensors to move your camera smoothly and precisely along a single axis. Simple to use and relatively affordable, gimbals come in various shapes and sizes to suit multiple camera types, and smartphone videographers can even pick a smartphone gimbal.

Step 6: Don’t forget extra batteries & power

While most cameras have upgraded from the days of AA batteries, you’re still going to need enough power to run your camera. Because, unlike photography, filming videos requires your camera to be on for a prolonged period, which can quickly discharge even the largest batteries. Digital video cameras often have various battery options, with longer life batteries available at a higher cost. We recommend having at least two spare batteries when shooting videos. However, if you’re shooting in a studio setting, the best option is using AC power, which will vastly increase your recording times.

Step 7: Make sure you have plenty of memory cards & storage devices

While in the old days, you had the hassle of recording video footage to tapes and other physical media formats, modern cameras record files digitally to a storage device. Depending on which camera you own, you’ll likely be using one of three memory and storage devices, SD cards, MicroSD or Compact Flash.

How To Make a Video From Start to FinishHow To Make a Video From Start to Finish

While all storage devices can record video, some are better than others, so be sure to review each card based on its capacity, read/write speeds and reliability. We’ve even got a complete guide on how to store and back up your videos to help you find the best options for you.

Our professional video tips to produce high-quality videos

How To Make a Video From Start to FinishHow To Make a Video From Start to Finish

Make sure you test record

We don’t want you to experience the sinking feeling of importing your video files to your computer only to find that your microphone wasn’t connected properly or some other technical difficulty has occurred. Take it from us; do a quick test run before you get down to principal recording.

Keep rolling after “cut”

A rookie error we all make at one stage is to stop recording the instant we hear “cut”. While it may save you some battery life and storage, hitting the stop button too quickly can lead to abrupt and unnatural appearing transitions, which can cause headaches during editing and post-production. When you have finished recording, hold still and keep rolling for an extra few seconds, you may even capture something special. By the same token, don’t jump into your take as soon as you press record. Wait a moment to make sure you’re recording. Look for the little red light.

Practice makes perfect

This doesn’t apply to those of you that are wanting to improve their impromptu family movies. However, producing information-based content or vlogging requires a bit of practice to get right, and creating a script can really help. Scripts are essential for consistency and accuracy when creating content; however, some dot points will do for more casual videos, like vlogs.

How To Make a Video From Start to FinishHow To Make a Video From Start to Finish

Don’t forget the importance of post-production

Make no mistake about it. When producing high-quality videos, much of the magic happens in the editing room. Or, as many on a film set will joke, “we’ll fix it in post!” Video editing software is essential for video production. There’s a lot you can do in the editing process. From making cuts to scenes, transitioning between sequences, to adding text overlays and music, post-production can be the difference between good and great content.

Now that you’ve gathered all of the essential video making equipment, you’re ready to record your first masterpiece! Discover more video tips on Ted’s blog for more inspiration and guidance on video production.

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