Video Production Basics – What’s Easy?

How much video do you have to shoot in order to make a five-minute video?

Some people would answer, “five minutes.” Others would say, “fifty hours.”

They’d both be right.

How can such disparity be true?

The methods of making video vary greatly depending on what kind of video you want to make. The person who answers “five minutes” would be someone who wants to quickly communicate using a talking head video shot on a web cam and uploaded to You Tube. (Although honestly, even that would take at least 10 minutes start to finish. Only an exaggerated claim in a sales letter would want you to believe that a five minute video really takes only five minutes.)

The fifty-hour person would be a fastidious film maker creating an in-depth documentary on a complex subject. In that situation, if you want a truly kick-ass final product, you need lots of extra video. You only want the most incredible and concisely informative clips to make it into your final product. Here’s a fact: Real Life is not as exciting and concisely informative as high quality video. You have to have surplus video in order to edit together just those “un-real” moments that really pack a punch. Even when it’s all staged. You think some actors don’t need zillions of takes?

Newcomers to video production often do not comprehend this one basic truth about video production: The higher the quality of the final product, the more expensive, slick and technically sophisticated, the more locations and people on-camera, the longer the production phases. High quality video like this is an intensely time-consuming process. I’ve known of 30 second finished products lasting only 30 seconds taking weeks of real work to plan, video tape and edit.

If you are new to video production, you need to ask yourself how much effort you want to put into a project as your very first question. If you want quick down and dirty, you need to plan the look of your final product around this reality. Please don’t set yourself up for disappointment by thinking you can reproduce Star Wars in an afternoon.


To make a quick video, I suggest a simple talking head video shot with a web cam. Speak directly into it. The audio and video is instantly imported into some video editing software or to an upload-to-the-web app.

Use natural light by sitting close to a window or lamp. Such a video is the single easiest format.

Cell phone video and flip video cameras also are some of the simplest cameras to use after the web cam. A web cam stays connected to your computer whereas a flip cam or cell phone camera must be connected each time. Flip cams eliminate the need for a cable.

Screen capture is also fairly simple format but not as easy as using a web cam. You need screen capture software such as Camtasia and that has a fairly high learning curve. Once you get beyond that, this is an easy way to make simple online video.

Another simplifying trick is to use still pictures over a simple voice track or music track. Still pictures are a much easier video source than moving video from a video camera. Doing this would require a video software editing program like Windows Movie Maker, iMovie or anything on this list of free video editing software programs.

Talk off the top of your head using an outline instead of writing out a full script. Most people would need to practice first in order to pull this off well . It also helps to edit out some of the flubs later but obviously, and then you are getting into more time and effort!

The more comfortable you are on camera, the better you will be able to do an off-the-cuff performance. Appearing on camera takes self confidence and feeling comfortable with attention drawn to you. Bluntly speaking, camera hogs and people with natural “gift of gab” talents do best as impromptu video hosts if you can keep them from rambling.

Thanks for reading Video Production Tips

Lorraine Grula

Internet Video Gal