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Making tutorial and how-to videos

Making tutorial and how-to videos

Search on YouTube and you’ll find endless videos that explain how to do every- thing from kissing your date after the prom and drawing a freehand circle to replacing an iPhone screen and making an epic movie trailer. YouTube even has videos on how to make a how-to video. Some of these how-to videos provide les- sons that are quite informative; some are also quite entertaining, whereas others simply serve as examples of how not to make one.


If your goal is to make a good video rather than the typical not-so-good one that’s

too often found on YouTube, you’ll need to heed the following advice:


» Know the subject. It sounds obvious, but some of those less eff        how-to videos suff  from a lack of understanding of the topic from the production

side. Stick to what you know best and take it from there.


» Prepare a script. A good script acts like a roadmap for making the movie, no matter what the subject matter. So, tutorials are no exception. Though

everyone has their own method of tackling a topic, one idea is to create a skeleton of the entire process by writing down every step. After that, you can rewrite it as a script, taking into account video content and (of course) witty puns.

» Use title cards. Simple text cards are not only cool in an old-school kind of

way, they can also help viewers understand the topic. Using words in your video helps the lesson sink in. You can use title cards to introduce each step, and to provide a summary.

» Shoot cutaways. A cutaway is one of the most eff         components in a

movie. It’s basically a break in the current video by the insertion of another shot, one that’s often related to the action at hand. Close-up and detail shots provide a clearer picture (pun intended) of the use of cutaways, but don’t do them while shooting the actual video lesson. Instead, shoot them afterward, or before if that’s the way you roll. Why? So that you have clean shots to edit later. It’s often jarring for the camera to zoom in during the lesson.

» Shoot multiple takes. Editing is your friend, so shoot several versions of the

same scene to try out diff        approaches or simply to get it just right. These alternative shots give you enough content to work with while editing.

» Make sure the narration is clean. Clean means speaking clearly and

concisely — simple phrases and no jargon. And one more thing: Read the text many times to get as comfortable with it as possible.



Let’s play (and make) gaming videos

Whether you’re explaining how to find a settlement on Durotar in World of Warcraft, battling a Divine Beast in Breath of the Wild, or simply providing some tips in Fortnite, chances are good that lots of people are looking for these kinds of tips and more on YouTube. So, if video games are your thing and you want to share your exploits and advice with others or perhaps teach them something, why not make your own gaming video?


What’s a gaming video without a real example from the game? Boring. So you want to be able to capture the action using a screen capture program. The simplest way is to have your game loaded on a computer rather than on a gaming system.


Here are a few choices that are inexpensive and work pretty well:


» Open Broadcaster Software, or OBS ( This free, open source program is highly beloved amongst gamers, and it’s available for

both PC and Macintosh. You’re given an extraordinary number of controls that allow you to both record and stream your adventures.

» Bandicam ( You can capture ultra-high resolution

footage at rates as high as 1,000 frames per second. The only downside is that this aff program is available only to PC users.



Making animal videos

Take an informal survey, and you’ll discover an insatiable fondness for videos that feature animals. People love to watch them over and over as well as share and share. That probably explains why the most viral content is content that features our four-legged friends. The recent “Cats vs. invisible wall” video has already attracted more than 35 million views. And the cats are not alone. Numerous videos are dedicated to canine accomplishments, whether they’re playing with babies, pretending to talk, or just being cute.


But the animal video isn’t dominated entirely by dogs and cats. In fact, you’ll encounter every animal imaginable on YouTube. Horses, cows, monkeys, and even “lions and tigers and bears” are represented on YouTube.


So, if you think your pet has what it takes to be a YouTube sensation, it’s time to break out the ol’ camera and make Fido a star.


Follow these tips for making animal videos on YouTube:


» Find a willing participant. Some dogs — and other animals, for that matter — are more inclined than others to ham it up for the camera, as

shown in Figure 4-9. If you have one with the acting bug, consider taking out your camera because — who knows? — you may have a potential star on your hands.

» Nail down the right location. That’s what they say it all comes down

to — why else would they repeat it three times? We’re not sure whether that makes the saying triply true, but it does add value to the video when you fi the right place. If it’s a house pet, that can mean a tidy space in a part of your place that has suffi        lighting and is free of clutter. For outdoor situations, choose an area free of clutter, and make sure the sun is at your back.

» Reward the participants. Dogs and cats work for treats, so when they do a good job, it’s important to compensate them.















Windee the Airedale gets ready to shoot

a scene.