Learn from the Pros: 4 Ways to Create Inspiring Videos


Creating videos has never been easier. But just because every smartphone now comes with a camera doesn’t mean creating quality videos is easy.

Fortunately, making something that is engaging depends more upon creativity and a little know-how than on fancy equipment. While Hollywood directors may require the best, simple devices — from phones to cheap “prosumer” handheld camcorders — can also get the job done.

More than focusing on frames per second or HD resolution, you should devote your attention on the things that really matter. By mastering a few of the basics — and putting your own spin on them — you can start making hit videos in no time.

1. Learn Video Basics

While plenty of the people making some of the most popular videos have no formal training, they tend to be the outliers. Understanding the basics of frame composition, the rule of thirds, cinematography techniques, lighting, and editing is incredibly helpful. A lot of these aspects can be learned online by — what else — watching videos. But it is worth looking into some classic books and taking professional courses. Editing skills may be the most essential of all. Knowing how — and when — to make cuts, as well as adding music and getting the sound correct, can quickly take even lackluster footage to another level.

2. Understand Storytelling

Perhaps more important than anything else, it pays to understand the key components of video story-telling. This is absolutely essential if you plan to make sketches or scripted productions. And while some real-world and live-action videos may seemingly not require such knowledge, even documentaries, cooking shows, and sporting events tend to capture people’s imaginations better when they follow time-tested methods to tell a tale. You don’t have to follow all the traditional rules as you create a video. But you should at least know the rules before you plan to break them.

3. Find an Audience

Some of the most famous celebrities on YouTube are little known outside of their niche. But it makes no difference. Markiplier, like many, makes millions of dollars per year playing video games on film. Lilly Singh has translated her unique mix of comedy and inspiration into billions of views. And the collaborative team behind the popular Dude Perfect YouTube channel have filmed basketball trick shots and off-the-wall athletic feats to the adoration of millions of subscribers. The key to all of their success is less how they film and more about what they film and the energy they bring to the table. They figured out what people want to see — and started producing it.

4. Establish a Brand

One thing most successful video makers have in common is personality. This is something that organizations big and small are always striving to instill — in the form of their individual culture and values — into the videos they produce. One company that has made its mark in the visual realm is Amway, which has crafted an engaging style. It often features real-life shots with a brand of cinematography that walks the perfect line between sleek and down-home. The feel of the videos — especially the authentic, genuine, and modern atmosphere created by its “We Are Amway” video — is a great example of what to aim for as you professionalize your filmmaking.

Combining It All

The best videos combine style and technique. Finding the right blend is critical. Nobody wants to watch an overproduced, technically perfect snooze-fest, but at the same time even the most fascinating subject will be weighed down if the quality is not up to snuff.

So it’s best to focus on both sides. Learn the basics, study storytelling, target an audience, and establish a brand that people can come to know and love. If you do it all right, you too could be the next video superstar.