Friday, September 23, 2016

Still Improving My Videos

My most recent video is up, the first real episode of my Constitution Series. It's incorporating a lot of the stuff I've learned in the past few months, and I think it's on the verge of being respectable.

That said, I still have a lot to improve upon, some of which I figure will come with practice, some of which I'm already planning to fix. This post is about some of those ways I'm planning to improve.


This video was the first one I made with the help of After Effects, which was a big help. However, I wasn't planning to use After Effects when I originally planned out the video, and I wasn't really familiar with the program until after the footage was already shot. I think that lack of planning and familiarity shows, and it may take a few more episodes for me to really integrate After Effects fully into my process.

I also think I need more visual aids to improve information retention. There are long stretches during the video with me just talking to the camera, giving information that could and should be displayed for emphasis or clarification.

Finally, there's the white board. I don't really remember why I started using it, but as I start getting the hang of After Effects I get the feeling I'll be using the white board less and less. So, I either need to figure out a way to have it make sense as a continued element in the show as it evolves, or I need to get rid of it. Otherwise, it may just be a distraction.

I'm talking specifically about the white board drawing segments. I think the white board still would still be useful for background decoration.


I hear a buzz during the video. It's super distracting to me at first, but I stop noticing it after editing for a while. Is it distracting to anyone else?

I can get rid of the buzz, but doing so also makes my voice sound weird, so every time I've experimented with the sound I've always removed the filters before exporting the final video, as the "fixed" version has always been more distracting than the raw version.

If nobody else really noticed the buzz, then great! One less thing to worry about.

If anyone else does find it distracting, though, let me know and I'll put more effort into solving the problem.


I've managed to get the videos to a point where you don't have to look at my face the whole time, but my voice still the only thing you hear. I think background music would become distracting, especially if I keep making videos that are 8-10 minutes long. However, I think it would be nice to have some intro/outro music.

Outro music would be especially nice, since currently the videos end kind of abruptly. Fading in some music near the end would let people know the end of the video is coming, and it would help with the awkward silence as the video fades to black. The problem is finding music appropriate for the job. I'm sure I'll find something suitable eventually, but I haven't had much time to look.

Intro music would probably be related to the outro music, but I don't think I'll really worry too much about this until I have a proper title card.


Currently, I'm working with three basic angles: wide shot, close-up, and a wide shot off to the side. This seems to be sufficient for my purposes. I don't want to get too creative with the angles, since it might become distracting.

The problem is that sometimes these angles don't transition naturally. Usually the close-up and center wide shot transition smoothly, but not always. And the side wide shot doesn't smoothly transition into anything. I guess the only real solution to this will be to make a graphical transition so that the cut isn't so jarring, especially when I don't really have a relevant image on hand to hide the cuts.

I really need to figure out what's up with those white spots on the video. I've cleaned the lenses and the teleprompter mirror, but those spot keep appearing in the footage. Hrm.


Still working on sounding natural, conversational, and engaging. I think I've gotten a lot better at this, so the answer here just seems to be more practice. I find I'm able to get good takes faster now than I used to, though, which is great, since that cuts down on recording time.

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