Getting over the fear of creating videos
Mindcamp is a conference that attracts experts from around the world who help organizations become more creative. Every year I facilitate a workshop and this year we spent time learning how to shoot and edit videos on smartphones. The session was titled, “Creativity in your pocket”.
The objective was for each participant to shoot and edit a short video in the 90 minute session and not worry about the quality. I was too busy answering questions so had to finish mine afterwards. Here it is.
Using technology as a creative tool appeals to me. I prefer being creative rather than talking about its theory. Shooting and editing video exercises your creative muscles in many different ways. You can bring into play visual composition, narrative, writing, performance, rhythm, music and on and on.
A few years ago one of the barriers to creating videos was technological. In order to shoot and edit video you required software that was complicated and difficult to figure out. Nowadays the technology is easy and powerful so there is no technical barrier that prevents a complete novice from creating a video of remarkable quality on a computer or smartphone.
The best phone for this is the iPhone 4s which can capture 1080p HD video. Shooting is straightforward – the biggest challenge being how to hold the device without it shaking – notwithstanding the automatic image stabilization.
The camera app that is supplied with the iPhone is adequate for most situations. If you need more control over complex functions like adjusting and locking focus, exposure and white balance there are other apps. My favorite is FILMic PRO ($3.99).
Once you have captured some interesting footage it will be close to unwatchable until you cut out extraneous material and edit it together into a sequence. Editing has always been a chore, not because it is difficult, but because it takes time and is monotonous.
When the only option was to edit on the desktop it required effort to download the files from the camera and then work on them. Now there is no longer a reason to procrastinate because you can edit right on the iPhone. Editing apps are awesomely powerful, easy to use and they can be used wherever you happen to be – sitting on a train or in a meeting.
What app do you need? iMovie from Apple costs $4.99 and with it you can trim clips, slice them apart, put them in order along with photos, add captions and a music track. The software can be learned by reading the instructions on the Apple site. To become proficient at using it, as with all new software, you need to use it a few times.
If you need more sophisticated capabilities download 1st Video from VeriCorder, a B.C. company, for $9.99. If you a lot of clips it is easier to move them around than with iMovie. Also the app gives you control of two soundtracks, so you can switch back and forth between a music bed and a voiceover. This app is designed to be used by journalists so they can shoot, edit and then file news reports quickly from the field.
The participants at Mindcamp didn’t have a problem mastering the technology. It is easy. But none of us, including myself, are in the habit of creating and sharing videos. The real barrier is not procrastination but how to change one’s mindset. Everyone shoots and shares photos without embarrassment but with video we fear the result will not measure up. With videos our critical skills are sharpened. We compare a video to what we customarily see on TV and at the movies where every aspect from the actors through to the details of the production are extraordinarily high.
I’d advocate getting over the fear. Videos capture memories and experiences more vividly than any photo. Just shoot. Experiment. It costs virtually nothing and you might capture some treasured moments.