How to Start Making Videos (for Beginners)!


Have you considered that you’d like to start making videos, short films, journalistic video features or even start a vlog and a YouTube channel?

In this episode I will explain my gear, editing software and general approach to story telling. Below you will find all the cameras and camera gear that I discussed in the video:

– Xenvo Mobile Phone Camera Lens Pro:

– Rode Videomic Me Directional Mic for Mobile Phone:

– UBeesize Mobile Phone Tripod:

– Action Mount GoPro Style Head Strap Mobile Phone Mount:

– Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 Camera

*Gear I used to make this video:*

– Canon 80D DSLR Camera:

– Canon EFS 10-18mm Lens:

– Rode Videomic Pro Shotgun Mic:

Full Transcript:

How to Start Making Videos (For Beginners)!

Have you ever wanted to start making videos for either a vlog, or maybe for a project that’s more private like recording vacations or your kids’ birthday parties? If not, maybe you’re just interested in how I approach filming episodes of Rice Farming TV. Either way–l’d like to share with you some insight into how I made my early videos–and the basic camera gear I used!

Now this topic is on my mind because, as many of you know, in a week I’ll be speaking on a “Rice Storytelling” panel at the annual USA Rice Outlook Conference in San Antonio. Because, I’m sure, time will be limited during the panel, I’ll be able to reference this video to help those there, that became inspired to share their story.

Also many of you here on YouTube, over the last year, have requested this video. Just last week E.G. Bassmen1 commented:

Hey u should review the stuff u use for making ur videos and how to become as successful as you.

Thanks E.G. and I’ve got to say that I don’t consider myself an authority on making videos or movies but I do want to share my approach and my gear. Especially to those of you who are considering to start producing content.

So let’s just jump straight into the camera gear. By the way, the links to everything I’ll be reviewing are down in the description.

The best camera you can have–is–the camera you have. That’s probably your phone. I started Rice Farming TV with this iPhone 5. It’s just fine for shooting but with a couple inexpensive accessories you can really improve the quality and range of shots.

Take this lens kit for example. You have a micro lens for extreme close ups and wide angle shots. I never use the fisheye lens, but it’s included. It just clips onto the phone.

You can see I used the macro lens for the opening shot of Episode 8 “A Missed Call from the Future”. And in Episode 46 “Baby’s First Visit to New York” I demonstrated that I was using this wide angle lens.

Using a wide angle lens is important in capturing you and what’s around you because your arm only stretches so far and anyway, you want your phone close enough to pick up your vocal audio.

As for audio you can get this sweet little directional microphone that just plugs into the phone. It even comes with a windguard, perfect for keeping your audio crisp while shooting outdoors.

Now image stabilization is big, it’s extremely distracting when your camera is subtly bobbing when recording. So grab a cheap tripod.

For more active shots, where you would want to use a goPro, like a first person point-of-view pruchase this sweet camera phone headband mount. It’s the fraction of the cost of a GoPro! It just straps in and now you can use both hands while filming. Use the wide-angle lens in conjunction with this to capture more of what’s in front of you. I really utilized this combo in Episode 3 “Draining, Physically Draining.” Besides, you really look cool wearing all this. None of your friends are ever going to tease you about this setup!

Couple other things to consider when shooting with your phone–or just in general. Don’t run out of batteries and don’t run out of data storage. For your phone think about a portable battery charger and upload and delete your photos/video clips often.

This whole camera setup is great for travel because none of this is too bulky. Which is why I occasionally still use this gear (Again, Episode 46, “Baby’s first visit to New York was completely shot with my phone and this gear–minus the headband).

Now for a little better image quality go with a point and shoot. I used this Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 camera because of it’s really crisp, high quality lens and advanced shooting options. Though, early on, I still relied heavily on my iPhone because this camera doesn’t have a flip-out viewfinder. So when shooting myself I used my camera phone’s front facing camera to make sure I was in frame.

Now, we’ve got all this footage right? Let’s take a break from cameras and talk about editing these clips together. To this day I do not use a “professional” editing suite. I’ve have no education in editing software so I’m intimidated by such programs. What I use is iMovie, the stock editing software on all macs (it’s the equivalent of Windows Movie Maker on a PC).

I just encourage you to get familiar with all the functions of the software, push every button to see what it does. Teach yourself, like I taught myself. There’s not too much so it won’t take long. But really all you need to tell your story is be able to place individual clips together–iMovie and Movie Maker will do that.

So if you have a phone and a computer you can very easily start making videos. But what we haven’t covered is the story you’re telling in the videos. This, above everything, is the most important in my opinion. You can have slick video production but if your content is boring, slow and uninteresting you will lose your audience.

This is why I like my videos to be short and about on one specific topic or theme. I also put in a great deal of energy imagining how the video will look. Where I’m going to shoot, what’s in the background, what time of day. I also take notes and write up a rough draft of talking points. This allows my shooting to be more efficient and my narration to flow without, pauses and ohs and umms.

Also consider how your video will move from scene to scene. Just as I like smooth, concise narration I like fast transitions and pacing from scene to scene. If my subject changes and thus background changes–how did I get from point a to b. Maybe that’s just a shot of my feet walking.

Just make your video as tight as possible. Every frame has purpose and pushes the narrative ahead. Try to explain something in the least amount of words possible. And of course, remember, that I’m not a professional and that these are just my opinions.

But at least now we have a starting point for how to make videos. You have the gear already. You have my recommendations for cheap additions. We’ve scratched the surface on my philosophy of making videos.

If this was interesting to you I will continue in a future episode of Rice Farming TV–I’ll cover my more expensive, technical gear like my DSLR, 360 Camera, Drones, Stabilizers etc.

If you’re just starting do what I did. Start with what you have. Practice and if you are feeling rewarded by the work you’re doing and if you’re getting the response from your audience you hoped for THEN invest more time and more money to improve the quality of your content.

If you guys have any questions please let me know and I’d love to elaborate. If you’d like to see a follow up episode to this also let me know. Otherwise please subscribe to stay updated and have a great day!