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Thread: Advice needed on shooting own how-to video

  1. #1

    Default Advice needed on shooting own how-to video

    Hi there,

    I want to film some how-to art videos and want to try do it myself.
    As I am a graphic artist - I use Adobe products (photoshop, illustrator, indesign) all the time. So naturally I'm considering Adobe Premiere for video editing.

    Can anyone help me with what exactly I will need - rent a video recorder (what I should be looking for ?), lighting (what kind of lighting would be best - my husband will be filming my hand drawing on white paper - so I need good lighting so as not to create a glare or a complete white-out of the white paper).

    And then I will muddle my way thru editing it in Premiere.

    I'm not looking for any thing hollywood-style fancy - just a straight forward instructional video with good clear sound (of my voice) and good quality, clear, close-up video of what I am drawing.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks so much !

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Bracknell, Berkshire, UK


    Firstly, welcome!

    I think that for what you are trying to do you could get away with spending only a little money for equipment. Needless to say, you could go the whole hog and spend thousands sorting out the best cameras, microphones and lighting etc but for now that would be too much I suspect.

    I would suggest starting out as follows, doing things as cheaply as possible at first to avoid spending any serious money before you know what wporkls and what doesn't.

    I would like to emphasise first though, that I've not doen what you're doing here and so I'm simply "thinking out loud" here rather than talking from any real experience of your situation.

    Right I would start with acquiring a camcorder. Because you are going to actually 'edit' your footage then make sure it is a 'Mini DV' camcorder. Do NOT buy one that records straight onto those little DVDs. For editting, they are just a nuisance. For your subjecty matter, i.e. you drawing I would suggest maybe two or even three cameras working at the same time from different angles and distances.

    Make sure each camera you use in sitting on a "suitable" tripod. A tripod is not something on which you should look to save money though. Truly, you get what you pay for.

    For lighting (and I'm certinaly no expert here!) I have found very reasonble results (as long as you are prepared to do a little white balance adjustment) in buying a cheap 1000w flood light from your local DIY store and bouncing it off the ceiling for a soft light. you can spend literally thousands on perfecting light but I think it worth spending a little to check if the cheap option works for you. If you start with a well lit room (or conservatory) a simply filler should be as much as you need. Experts help me out here!

    I gather that much of your footage will be close up of you working. As such then sound is nto so much of an issue. With s/w like Premiere you can record you voice over at edit time. This then allows you to script your soundtrack and practice until you get it right without having to start over the filming process. Doing things this way you can get away with a minimum of spend in the short term. I've even performed voice over recording using a webcam micrphone connected to my PC that cost only a few pounds. Again, you get what you pay for in microphones buyt the cheap option will get you going.

    You mentioned Premiere. I too use Adobe s/w. There are two flavours of Premiere. There is the 'Pro' option and there is the 'Elements' option. I've not personally used the 'Elements' version but my understanding is that it will do everyting that the average videographer wants of it and it only costs about one tenth the cost of the 'Pro' option so do consider it.

    The point is though, that you don't need to spend a fortune on setting up this type of deal. Just get a camcorder and get recording. That's the bottom line. Invest in lights etc when you prove to yourself that you actrually need them.

    hope this helps a little.

  3. #3


    Hi Allan

    Thank your for your response. I read it this morning before work but didn't have time to respond until now.

    I will try the 'Mini DV' camcorder you suggested. I never thought of having 2 or 3 angles recording from different angles - I think that is a great idea. I'm going to be renting the equipment so I'll definitely do at least 2. I could have one super close up for the detail and one for for the "bigger picture".

    As for lighting, I have one room in my house that is well lit with indirect sunlight and I can use the 1000w bulb you suggested - bouncing it off the ceiling for extra soft light.

    The voice over after the video is shot is a great idea ! The cameras don't need to be on my face at all so I can just plan out what I want to say and reserve enough time filming each segment to allow enough time for all verbal instructions.

    I didn't realize there was a cheaper "Elements" version of Premiere - that is definitely the route I will take as I'm sure I don't need all the bells and whistles of a full program.

    Thank you for all of your advice Allan - you have been so helpful !!


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