On Saturday morning I was due in Braamfontein for the Content Creator’s Workshop. With a call time of 8AM on Saturday and a journey from the West Rand on the cards I woke up early, chugged a mug of coffee and made my way into Johannesburg.

Aside from a few cyclists riding three abreast on the road and the odd learner getting to grips with a clutch I made it to Braam without much fanfare.

The Content Creator’s Workshop is hosted by New Reality, a local firm that creates augmented, virtual, and mixed reality media for other companies. With all the video equipment and knowledge they have the folks at the firm recently launched a YouTube channel which we highly recommend checking out.

The aim of the workshop was to teach us how to make a YouTube video from beginning to end, specifically a review.

To help us the lovely folks at Canon provided Canon 80D cameras, power zoom attachments and lenses though I wish they hadn’t because I really want one now and my wallet won’t allow it.

To edit our footage MSI provided its GS 62 Leopard notebooks and headphones were provided by Plantronics.

Straight to the deep end

After a brief introduction to Production of a video we were tasked with making a short film about a piece of tech. We were given an hour or two to shoot footage as well as B-roll (Peter McKinnon explains what B-Roll is beautifully in the video below) before going into a two hour editing session where we would turn our footage into something passable.

Two hours sounds like a long time but when you know nothing, that time disappears like water down a drain.

In the past I’ve edited audio but never video and it’s a completely different ball game. Everything hinges on the video you got and as I scrubbed through footage I realised I should have paid more attention to the lesson on production.

Moving forward I will working on scripts and shot lists with more vigour as these documents can save you during filming and editing.

Thankfully this was just a test to get us acquainted with the gear and Adobe Premiere Pro CC with the real work would only beginning later.

What I learned

The most important lesson I learned from this weekend is to plan as much as you can. It sounds like work but honestly after sitting down to edit and realising I didn’t have as much B-Roll as I wanted, or fewer takes of a scene than I would have liked, I wished I had planned better.

Filming takes patience. Even when filming static objects I was constantly fussing with lighting and props to get the image I wanted on screen. You might annoy some people and yourself but getting the footage you need in-camera beats editing it ten days a week.

That leads me to my next point, editing is not magic. Sure you can do some magic stuff with effects and key-framing but the easiest solution is to get the footage you need while filming. Not only does it save time, your final product will flow easier as well. Notice the jump cuts in our video below? We totally could have avoided that by filming more takes.

Finally, the most important lesson I learned all weekend was to just start making video.

Your first few attempts might be good or they might be shocking but speaking from experience, the more you edit and film the easier it will become.

Final thoughts

Throughout the weekend I learned that while video editing is tricky to master, once you have the basics its a matter of playing around and learning.

Despite being dead on my feet after each day I went home to practice what I had learned, I even went so far as to create project folders to practice keeping my workflow clear and consistent.

There is a huge gap for video producers in South Africa which is both understandable and strange because, as a people, we love telling stories. Throughout the weekend I heard about chances people had been given simply because they could film and edit a decent video.

Another thing that helped me was watching other creators. I watch more YouTube than anything else and a lot of what you’ll see in the video below is inspired by other creators.

The best advice I can give is to pull out your camera, start making videos and have fun. Forget about the trolls and naysayers online, hone your craft by reading and watching tutorials, find your style and get excited about learning something new.

If I can put this together with little to no experience, imagine what you could do.

[Image – CC0 Pixabay]