Ten Tips for Creating Fun Event Videos

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Video is intimidating. We’ve been successfully hosting this website since 2008, publishing thousands of articles and sharing photos on social media. Video seems like a natural fit and a step we should have taken long ago, doesn’t it? We’ve largely avoided producing video content over the years, because it’s difficult to do well, and we don’t really like being on camera or recording a voice over.

However within the past five years we’ve overcome our video aversion and developed a method for creating fun event videos that really works for us. We’re admittedly far from experts, and there is certainly much more for us to learn, but we have picked up a few things that could benefit others. So below we have ten (probably more if you count them all) tips for other publishers or really anyone who is looking to create videos to share highlighting events and trips that they attend.

The Tools

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Making a decent video doesn’t take specialized equipment or software these days. Modern smartphones are capable of capturing high quality video, and although you can get a more professional finished product from a more professional camera, it’s not necessary for many casual projects. We’re big fans of Apple here, so for the majority of our videos we utilize an Apple iPhone, with its built in stabilization. While we could use Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere to edit the video, we prefer to keep things simple and just utilize iMovie. We once despised editing video, due to file size of the clips and the speed at which our machine processed them. Then we upgraded to a Solid State Drive (SSD) and editing is much more pleasant now. Find what works for you, the hardware and software that you are comfortable with, and don’t concern yourself with what “the professionals use.”

Shoot Landscape

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This shouldn’t need to be written, but just in case…. shoot all of your footage in Landscape. This means to hold your phone horizontally, not vertically. Videos are designed to play on Television and Computer screens, which are wider than they are tall. This tip applies to YouTube and Vimeo, however if you’re creating videos for newer platforms like TikTok, then vertical is now the preferred format for those social platforms. Let’s move on…

Shoot Tons of Footage

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Above is a screenshot from iPhoto, as we imported footage for our most recent project, a media trip with Kia to check out the new Cadenza. The finished product will be less than two minute long, but as you can see we shot 70 clips, most of which are just a few seconds long. Most of them are probably garbage and won’t get used, but you don’t normally know which ones when shooting. So we shoot everything we think will be useful, and then decide later which clips make the final cut. It’s better to have too much, than to have too little. When shooting events or travel, you can’t go back and capture more later.

Shoot a Variety of Clips

The video above was shot in a couple of hours at the 2016 National Capital Barbecue Battle. There are several things to note in that video, but for this particular tip we just want to point out the variety of different clips utilized. We mixed wide shots with close-ups, low angles with high angles, and slow-motion with time-lapse. One of the keys to making an interesting video is changing perspective and how you are capturing the clips. Standing in the same place and recording an event from that single angle for 30 minutes is a pretty good way to make a crappy video. This isn’t something you can easily fix while editing, so you must be conscious to capture a variety of clips when you shoot the footage. However when you do edit, you want to mix things up, and utilize that variety to keep the video fresh and interesting.

Pick Appropriate Music

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Since we don’t record voice-over for our videos, music is key to setting the tone. To date we’ve relied upon the jingles available from Apple in iMovie / Garageband, but you may want to look further online for royalty free music clips. The two main factors we look at when selecting the music are length and style. We prefer to keep our videos relatively short for maximum impact and to maintain interest, so we select music clips that are relatively short and then edit our video to fit the music. However the style of the music must fit the subject matter. For the BBQ example above, we picked a bluesy riff. For this Kia Cadenza project, filmed on location in Virginia Horse Country, we selected a clip with an acoustic country vibe. For the Rallycross race video below, we went with Rock.

Short Clips, Matched to Music

Once the music is selected, we begin placing clips, keeping in mind the pace and speed of the tune. We prefer shorter clips when possible, which will fit faster paced music. However if your background music is on the slower side, you may want to utilize longer clips of video. Sometimes our clips are as short as half a second, and the most we ever stick with one scene is about 5 seconds. Think about edited highlight films you see on television, or commercials for sports, travel, or cars. Most tend to use relatively short cuts, to keep the viewer interested. Pay attention to the videos that you consume and enjoy, and learn from them when producing your own.

The video above was created after spending the day at the 2016 Redbull Global Rallycross in Washington, DC. You can see we didn’t try to cover the entire race like they do on television, nor is it really a highlight video. It’s more of a lifestyle video giving you a feel for what it would be like to attend the event in person. The music helps set that tone, but the editing is crucial to keeping it moving.

No Transitions

Video editing software comes with a bunch of different transitions that you can use between clips; Dissolve, Push, Wipes, and more. We don’t use any of them. Think about the content you see on television, most of it doesn’t use transitions at all, they just jump from clip to clip. Now there are some tricks to make sure you don’t jar your audience or confuse the eye, but in general transitions are used sparingly, and normally for creative or emotional reasons.

The video above was created to highlight the new Slingbox 500, and is a bit of a departure from our usual projects, since we were focusing on a product instead of an event. If you watch closely though, you’ll see the tips from this article still apply, although we could have certainly benefited from more variety.

Utilize Video from Other Sources

Despite the 70 clips that we shot of the new Kia Cadenza in Virginia, our footage is nothing compared to the quality shot by professionals. In certain circumstances we utilize video provided by brands to help fill-in, it’s especially true with car launch events. They have the ability to shoot professional car-to-car shots, and have all day to setup perfect angles and scenes, while we’re normally focused more on driving the car and making observations for our reviews. So in this case, we mixed our own footage with that provided by the brand. There are many places online you can acquire video clips from, and in the next short teaser that we edited, we actually utilized video entirely from other sources since the event hasn’t happened yet.

Establish at the Front, and Nail the End

This video was produced to promote the 2016 Washington Automotive Press Association Rally that we’re organizing this Fall. Like many other video examples we’ve shown here, it’s a great example of utilizing a logo to establish what the video is about at the beginning, and then again at the end to drive the point home. It’s a technique that we utilize to make sure people know what the video is depicting, without having to read the title or description. It can be done by overlaying a graphic, or by shooting video that is easily identifiable to utilize for those most critical frames. We also tend to linger longer on the last clip as the music comes to an end.

Bring it all Together and Share

This video with Captain Morgan at Mardi Gras was actually produced before all of the others you see in this article, and served as a great learning experience for us. We were highly motivated to win a competition, and thus dedicated many hours to learning how to make better videos, and even rented a better camera for this particular project. You can see all of the tips that we discussed in this article on display in this single video.

We’ll leave you with one last tip, upload your video to multiple sites. Once upon a time you could just host your video on Youtube, and then share that link to social media. However Facebook in particular has moved to de-emphasize videos from Youtube, in order to promote their own video format. So we highly recommend you upload your video directly to Facebook as well, so you can get higher exposure to your audience there in addition to YouTube.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of TapInfluence. The opinions and text are all mine.