Improving Your "How To" Videos - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 09-19-2020, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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Improving Your "How To" Videos

Several members like to post "how to" videos. Generally speaking, they are very well done. Some of them are professional quality. They are so inviting, because you can see the interest and enthusiasm of the WoodworkingTalk member who wants to share what they love to do and how they do it.

Here is a source of frustration for me, which seems to be almost universal in those videos:

It isn't practical to show each step in full. The steps are repetitive and boring. The videographers demonstrate what must be done, and then cut to the next step. That makes perfect sense. Show ten seconds of sanding, and skip the remaining 30 minutes of the same. I get it.

-> What is missing is that they never seem tell us how much time it takes (or how much time to expect) for each step in the process, nor how much total time it takes for a typical project that is being demonstrated.

Such information would be so useful for planning, setting expectations, and to help the viewer assess whether something is going wrong and taking too much time.

In addition, I rarely hear the videographer give information about what can go wrong, or how to determine that something is not going well. A statement like, "If it takes more than an hour, then you may be doing XYZ, which is incorrect" would be helpful.

Example:
I have a old plane blade with a hollow in the back. A while ago, I invested at least 8-10 hours of work using diamond stones trying to flatten the back, and I don't feel that I am close to being done with it and put it aside for now. It wasn't clear to me whether I should suck it up "that's what it takes" or I was doing something wrong. To be honest, I am still not sure. There are great videos on restoring hand planes and sharpening blades. None of them tell me how long it should take, or how to know when something is not right. I do not seek or want an answer to my plane blade issue here. That's not the point.

Here is my advice:
-> Set reasonable expectations of time to accomplish tasks and overall projects, and tell your viewers how to know when things are not going right. They will appreciate it more than you know.
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post #2 of 4 Old 09-19-2020, 03:45 PM
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Excellent points!

For me it's whether the video is shot widescreen (landscape). Videos should never be portrait and I don't watch them if they are shot that way. Our eyes are left and right, we have widescreen monitors, widescreen TV's, go to widescreen movies, etc. so why in the world would someone video in portrait? (rant over on that )

Also, clean your lens, especially if you're using your phone. The lenses get dirty, fingerprints, smudge marks, etc. and that shows in videos.

Make certain you can be heard if you're speaking, whether it's live or voice-over. If you add text to a video then leave it up long enough to be read. If you just bought new video editing software and it does all kinds of fancy transitions from one scene to another then use them once so you can say you did and then never use them again.

If you don't have good light then add some. In most cases you don't want back light; standing with your back to an open garage door or window where you have bright sunshine streaming in and shooting in that direction leaves everything you're doing, including you, in silhouette. If you plan to move the camera/phone while shooting then get a gimbal or edit the move out. Shaky, bouncing videos aren't pleasant to view.

David
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post #3 of 4 Old 09-19-2020, 04:19 PM
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good points from both views !!

yesterday, I bought a 36" wide "roll up" window shade.
I will find some way to attach it to something like over a bench or table.
then when taking static photos, just pull down the shade to cover all the
"clutter" in the background. . . . cost all of eight bucks. available up 72" wide.
(another project in the works).

.
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post #4 of 4 Old 09-23-2020, 09:20 PM
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You make some good points, however.....everyone's ability is much different than mine. I've been woodworking for over 42 years now and for a beginner to try and follow a timeline as to how long his project "should" take can be discouraging as well because everyone learns at different speeds. Not to mention that everyone has different sets of tools that would either slow down the process or speed it up. Here's the biggest problem with trying to create a timeline for a viewer to follow.....when I film a show, it more than doubles the time it takes to complete a project. I'm slower when I talk and work. I have to keep moving the camera, setting up the shot, adjusting the sound levels etc. I'm a one man show and there is no cameraman to deal with the technical stuff while I work. How can I give an estimate time when I have no idea what it would take without the camera in my face. I try to produce a show that has content for beginner and the experienced woodworkers alike and to be honest, it's hard to find that balance.
I do appreciate your input though. I would be a fool not to consider some of your points and make small adjustments. Thanks for your honesty and you input on what would make tutorials better. Constructive criticism is always a good thing.
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