Posted on 20 Comments

My Top Video Tips

In this video I share several of my top tips for improving the quality of your video, without getting better equipment.

These are fundamental techniques that people have been using for decades.

Watch the video below…

I hope these tips are helpful to you!

20 thoughts on “My Top Video Tips

  1. Thank you for the video about tips. I have three comments:

    1) The first example adds music in shoot B. A better comparison would have been achieved if music had not been added.

    2) I think jump cuts should be called “junk cuts”. They’re horrible, almost always, because they destroy continuity.

    3) I wish that the editors who make trailers would follow your advice to avoid transitions. It seems that trailer using dissolve to black are nearly 50% black.

    1. Thanks for the comment, John!

      Yes, the music is another difference. I couldn’t resist using it for that example. :) Hopefully the other differences were significant enough for the comparison.

      Regarding jump cuts. Lots of folks don’t like jump cuts either. You’re definitely not alone. In the past I didn’t love them, but they’ve really grown on me.

      YouTube is so full of them, I think the current generation is quite accustomed to them. And there’s no arguing with their efficiency. All the “talking head” videos on YouTube are sped up significantly because they use jump cuts.

      Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      1. Jump cuts are more important today. The lack of attention span of the younger youtube viewer makes it so.

      2. I think that one of the first mainstream movies to creatively use jump cuts is A HARD DAYS NIGHT. That film broke a lot of rules, but it shows creative use of a style that influenced music video – which the film was in its own way – and eventually – YouTube. But, like any technique, too much, too poorly used: boring.

        1. Great points, Barry. :)

    2. John,

      I agree about the tendency to depend on transitions. I edited a 1 hour documentary for a producer-director friend of mine who insisted on cuts only thoughout the whole project. I was skeptical at first, but learned quickly that by controlling the duration of a shot, the viewer was ready for the scene to move on and a cut was welcome. However, I was able to insert one dramatic dissolve about 50 minutes in to introduce the “last act”, dissolving from a birthday party dinner scene inside the sailboat, to a gorgeous sunrise long shot of the boat, sails full, the next morning. OK change of time and location merited the dissolve. I won that one, but learned a great lesson about the power of simple cuts.

  2. Regarding thinking as photos with movement — so true. Let the subject provide the action, not the camera. So many amateurs feel they HAVE to pan or tilt or zoom instead of allowing the subject matter provided the movement, even if minimal. Just watch CBS SUNDAY MORNING nature shots of a close up of bugs moving, wildflowers shifting in the wind, cows grazing, or a creek flowing. All these shot with a stable camera.

    1. Great point, and excellent examples! :)

      Thanks for the comment, Ron.

  3. Lots of good tips for storytelling, with simple easy to understand examples. I’ll definitely keep these tips in mind for my videos. I am addicted to dissolves in my wildlife videos, I’ve considered them all but essential for working with wild talent. It’s hard enough to get any shot, let alone one where you can match motion. I will try. Thanks

    1. Thanks for the comment, Michael!

      You might find straight cuts work well, as long as you do a J-Cut or L-cut with the audio. Maybe give it a try. :)

  4. Thnx Izzy for your info and lesson.
    Surely the A and B film gives me a big change of filming.
    You’re always very clear on explaining things. So even I :) can understand.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, and I’m glad it helped. :)

  5. When you were talking about “moving photos” I immediately thought of the John Huston movie “The Quiet Man” with John Wayne. It is like a series of paintings of Ireland come to life.

    1. Very cool. I haven’t seen that film. :)

  6. Your tips were very helpful. Specially using the hard cut between clips. I realized I was overusing them. The remaining tips were a real refresher to improve the shots and editing.
    Thank you Izzy.

    1. Thanks, Pete. I’m glad the tips help! :)

  7. Late to the party here. I do not like your “acceptance” of jump cuts. Just because it’s on YouTube doesn’t mean it’s good. (Talk about self evident.) Next thing, you’ll be pushing vertical video, because it’s all over YouTube.

    Yes, a jump cut can serve a purpose and can be effective, but should only be used if it serves the story, and never be used out of ignorance or because you are too lazy to come up with a better plan (or too lazy to shoot b-roll). Your examples work because of the nature of the piece (and one of the cuts isn’t even a jump cut).

    Anyway, editing decisions should always support the message, and serve the viewer.

    OK, off my soap box. I like your presentation otherwise.

    1. I totally agree that just because it’s on YouTube doesn’t make it good. :)

      Your comment sparked some additional thoughts on jump cuts…

      I suspect that the popularity of jump cuts on YouTube makes them more palatable for many people, and personally I’ve found that I’ve grown to like them because I’ve seen them so much. When I first saw them used so much on YouTube, I found them annoying. Then I got used to them. Now sometimes I don’t even notice them because I’m so accustomed to them.

      It reminds me of how the MTV style of super quick cuts became so popular in the early MTV days.

      I want to be clear that I’m not suggesting we all start adding more jump cuts to our videos (or start shooting more vertical videos), but I think it depends on the types of videos we’re making. There are certainly plenty of production budgets devoted to vertical video (on Snapchat, Facebook, etc.).

      Anyway, thanks for the great comment! :)

  8. Thanks for ideas on photography. They are greatly appreciated.

    Arthur Bart

    1. Sure thing, Arthur. :)

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