How to improve your YouTube videos: Five tips from professional filmmakers

Published 7:00 pm Sunday, July 22, 2012

(ARA) – More than 4 billion videos are viewed each day on YouTube, according to statistics from the online video site. This means it’s a great place for aspiring filmmakers to showcase their work to a large, international audience. However, only 30 percent of all YouTube videos get 99 percent of the views on YouTube, according to media-monitoring authority Cision.

“While advances in digital cameras and technology make it easier for everyone to create their own videos, it’s challenging for aspiring filmmakers to create videos that reach the right people and get noticed on crowded outlets like YouTube,” says Gail Fisher, award-winning photo editor and department chair of the School of Film/Communication at Brooks Institute, a leading provider of higher education for film, visual journalism, graphic design and photography. “The good news is that there are simple things you can do to increase the quality of your videos and maximize exposure based on what works for professional filmmakers.”

Here are five tips from Fisher and Karen Farfan, a visual journalist and student at Brooks Institute, on how to make your YouTube videos stand out from the crowd:

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* Find inspiration. Everyone has a story to tell. Take inspiration from your surroundings and people you know – go visit your favorite place, try something new, observe people in their everyday lives – and use what moves you to tell a story that will appeal to the masses. According to Farfan, the trick is telling a story in a way that will intrigue an audience – even those who don’t relate well with your subject matter.

* Establish an audience and engage viewers. To build an audience, recruit friends and family to watch and share your videos, and post links to your videos on your blog, website and social networks. Use compelling keywords and cover images for your videos to attract people browsing for the content you’ve created. If users can find your video easily through common search terms and are captivated by your cover images, they’re more likely to watch your videos and share them. Then hook your viewers within the first 30 seconds. Use beautiful imagery, an eye-opening quote or something unexpected, followed by a conflict that will encourage them to continue watching for a resolution.

* Less is more. Both with the length of your video and the text throughout, brevity will make your videos more engaging. Instead of using text or quotes to explain your story, let your videos communicate through visuals for a succinct message. To keep it simple, Farfan ensures that her stories can communicate a message well visually before even adding in text or audio during the editing process.

* Post often. Create content as often as possible without letting the quality of your work suffer. Keeping your YouTube site updated will encourage your followers to keep coming back for more and also attract new viewers. Farfan sets a goal of posting one new video per month to her site. Create your own goal, taking other work and personal commitments into account, and work to achieve it, whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly.

* Have fun. If you’re passionate about your work, it will show in your videos.