I was very excited last week to launch another - my fourth - series on my YouTube channel. Bill’s Video Stories was born to motivate me to take seriously the learning of how to record and produce engaging, short videos. So, this is quite different from my other series, though, in my opinion, it fits nicely with them. Each series has a very different purpose, but each one is really about teaching and learning. And experimenting.
I have been trying for over a year to get my head around how to make short - 1 to 3 minute - travel videos. Recently, I resumed my research and, as I noted in my last post, stumbled upon the world of “mobile videomaking” or “mobile journalism.” By following a few links on that topic on YouTube, I discovered a few new resources and they provided me with the direction I was looking for. I talk about these new resources in the video linked to below, but, the two who had the most impact on my breaking through my impasse were John D. McHugh and Michael Rosenblum.
McHugh’s video - he doesn’t appear to have made any additional ones - was very clever as he talked about his “WMD” approach and employed it in the video as he proceeded to make a video before our eyes. At the end of the instructional video, he then showed the short video he had recorded as we watched. Brilliant! The ”WMD” approach is simply to get a WIDE shot, then a MEDIUM shot, and finally a DETAIL shot. I then watched some videos by Rosenblum and in part 2 of a two-part series, he discusses and demonstrates his “Michael 5-Shot Method.” Similar to McHugh’s approach, this method calls for first taking a 10-second clip of a close-up of the subject’s hands doing something (e.g., preparing ingredients for a soup), then doing the same with a close-up of the subject’s face. You then follow those two short clips with another from a wide angle of the scene. The third clip is then to be an over-the-shoulder of the hands again. The final 10-second clip is another medium-to-wide shot from a different angle. In summary: (1) close up of the hands, (2) close up of the face, (3) wide shot, (4) over-the-shoulder shot, (5) another wide shot from different angle.
Though I have been constantly inspired by videos that Thomas Alex Norman does and he is the one I have been studying to create my own videos, something about seeing the two videos I described above broke the log jam for me and gave me the push with something concrete to try. I also realized that I didn’t need to limit myself to just travel videos. I could make short videos on any number of topics. Maybe focusing on just travel is what overwhelmed me or maybe it was that I had been spending days weeding our backyard when I watched the other videos (and that gave me an idea for a topic on which to try the WMD and 5-Shot methods). Regarding travel, I think I was too focused on all the things we do when we go traveling and that made the idea of making one, two, or more short videos just too much. Having an idea for a film on weeding our yard seemed easy and I did it right away!
The irony in all of this is that I began my YouTube channel because I wanted to learn more about recording video and I wanted to share my blunders, mistakes, and my successes. I then decided to use the channel - and here’s the irony - to provide a series on learning photography to help people get more out of their cameras for still photography, but that process has led me deeper into the world of video and I now find that making videos is my new obsession. Not still photography! Wow! I have to think about that.
Stick with me, this “journey” is just now getting interesting!