The Friday Roundup – Stroller Dolly’s, Presentation Tips and Background Music

Video Presentation Design

If you are at all into making demonstration or tutorial type videos one of the best ways to do that is by creating a PowerPoint style presentation and then dubbing a voice track over it.

Once created you can then use screen recording software like Camtasia to convert the whole thing into a video.

Although that sounds simple enough there are a few ways that the video quality you end up with can range from great to downright boring.

Personally I think the idea of a demonstration video is immediately rendered useless unless you can steer well clear of the boring end of the scale.

In fact being boring is probably the worst thing you can possibly do because even a silly or even hopeless video can still hold attention even if it is for the hopelessness of it all!

There are generally speaking, two ways that most people manage to get the boring factor way up high.

The first is with the visual aspect of the presentation, the slides created.

If what the person is seeing onscreen is not closely tied into what is being said or if what they are seeing is not holding their attention then you are in trouble.

A person watching something that is visually uninteresting will very soon start to have their gaze begin wandering about the screen at first and ultimately the room in which they are viewing.

In a very short amount of time they will have totally zoned out on what is being said and for all intents and purposes you have lost them.

Of course they will occasionally snap back into focus but if the visual problem continues it is only a matter of time before they will be off with the pixies once more.

The second point upon which this type of video falls over is the voice-over track.

There are a few things that you need to do in order to get a clean professional sound audio track for your video presentations.

The first of these is to invest in a decent quality microphone and if at all possible a dedicated audio recorder.

These days they are reasonably priced and you really don’t have to go over the top on any of this.

You can use your computer but the problem with that is that as you are recording you will inevitably get noise recorded along with your voice which can be a little distracting.

Provided the internal noise from the computer is not too great you can reduce it using filters in free audio editing software like audacity.

The other alternative to this is to write a script of what you want spoken and hire someone on an outsourcing site like Fiverr.com to get a professional sounding track you can then edit into the video.

Adding Effective Background Music

This is a must see video for anyone at any level of video creation.

One of the most repeated cliches in video production is that the most important part of video is audio and the reason it is repeated so often is because it is a basic unshakeable truth.

You can get away with numerous video error and problems and still turn turn an audience away but give them poor audio and there will be a stampede for the door.

The fascinating thing about it is that most people watching a video with poor quality audio will opt out of watching it without really knowing why they are!

It’s just a sensation they get that they don’t like whilst watching the video and they automatically just switch off.

In the video below from Tim Schmoyer he covers not just the importance of audio but some seriously good tips on how to choose great background music to enhance you videos as well

Remember, it’s Just a Tool!

I received an email this week from the guys at VideoMaker.com and strangely decided to click on the link rather than hit the trash button.

Now don’t get me wrong here.

They usually send out really good information but unfortunately for them my email client usually places them down at the end of the queue to be checked each day.

That means that by the time I get to them and the one around them I have become a bit “trash-it happy” and their efforts are for nought.

Anyway this week they sent a really good one that did survive and they made such a great point in it I wanted to share.

With the advent of the new breed of cameras for video these days the emphasis has once again gone heavily back over to the cameras themselves.

If you look around the usual video sites and tech sites it’s all about the 4K and the action cams and the DSLRs and on and on!

The subtext of all of this is that somehow these tools are going to create awesome videos for you and you just can’t go wrong!

The reality is that unless you learn to use those tools then that promise will forever remain the marketing hype that it is.

Build Your Own Stroller Dolly!

In most home videos or amateur level videos the majority of shots taken are either handheld or fixed.

Handheld is pretty self explanatory and “fixed” means that the camera stays in the one position during the shot and that is usually because it is attached to a tripod or some kind of stabilizing arrangement.

The result of this narrow range of shooting techniques is that there is always a certain “look” that is going to be achieved because no matter what we are looking at, we are looking at it the same way.

The one type of shot that is not really available to us amateurs is the tracking shot and it really is the tracking shot that is the mark of a pro setup.

Tracking shots are usually achieved in two ways.

The first is by attaching the camera to a large boom which is counterbalanced making it easier to swing the camera around smoothly and in a controlled manner.

The second way is to mount the camera on a dolly, which is basically a little platform with wheels for the camera which sits on what looks like a little railroad track.

The camera can then be pushed along the track to achieve the tracking shot.

Both of these setups are incredibly expensive and require lots of practice on the part of the operators to get a scene just right.

Tracking shots are however one of the major differences that still remain between a pro and an amateur video shoot and the resulting production.

Now before anyone gets too excited about this one PLEASE! DO NOT just leap up from wherever you are, grab the baby’s stroller (or the neighbour’s baby stroller) and start making a camera dolly!

At least discuss it with other members of the family that may have an interest in the fate of the stroller.

Having said that if you do happen to have a stroller to sacrifice to the cause then go ahead, make your day!

Creating Fake Locations

A few weeks ago now I posted a video made by a semi-pro film maker which showed in pretty good detail how you can use different shots of different places to create the appearance in a video that something is happening where in fact no place exists.

In that video the scene being shot was of a camping ground by a lakeshore that had a little beach and some large rocks.

Most of the scene was actually taken in a backyard, nowhere near any lake and only one or two shots were taken on separate days a hundred miles away at a lake that had no camping ground!

All the guy did was edit the shots together and suddenly he had taken his “backyard” and his “lake” and it looked like a camping ground by the lake!

This week I found another great video along the same lines that goes into some great details about how to achieve the look of a place that doesn’t really exist.

I particularly liked that part where they go into using sound to create an atmosphere and further enhance the sense of the pace being real.

The video is full of excellent tips and information for all video makers regardless of what level you are operating at or even aiming for.

Google Plus GoPro Equals Cool Stuff!

OK, I have added this story for one reason and one reason only… it’s totally cool!

In simple terms this is a device created by Google and GoPro that arranges 16 GoPro’s in a circle so that at all times it is recording a complete 360 degree video.

The system is called Jump and what it does is take the recorded videos, pulls them into Jump then creates a virtual world from that footage.

In other words, you are looking at the beginning of the ability of you and I to make our own virtual reality videos… all in the comfort of your own home!

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