Chris Lucas's recent article in the Autumn edition of The Professional Mountaineer shared the advantages and disadvantages of using YouTube to teach skills. Here are Chris's top tips for best practice when creating video content:
- Sound really matters. There are some fantastic affordable cameras now, including smartphones, that can capture HD visuals. Much of your content and the overall experience will be gained from audio and many cameras just don't cut it with their built in microphones, particularly action cams. In a mountainous environment any kind of uni-directional mic will need a dead cat furry cover to kill some of the wind noise. If someone is talking a lavalier mic is preferable although things start getting expensive. Somehow it always feels easier to spend on the visual than the audio but it will make a massive difference to the professional quality of the finished film and enhance the learning experience for the viewer.
- Use a tripod.
- Don't zoom. Don't pan.
- Half of YouTube views are on mobile devices so this should be considered in the creation of content. Good size text if you are using it and clear imagery (contrasting colours between jacket, rope, hill etc). Always upload your maximum resolution finished film as the likes of YouTube automatically resize for mobile content. If you upload low resolution as the original won’t look good scaled down.
- You may want to consider providing a disclaimer. It could be as simple as "this film is for information only, seek professional instruction before attempting..."
- Link to as many additional videos on the subject as you can in the comments or show notes. This adds value for the audience but will also up your Google ranking. Ideally you will get to the point that a lot of those links will be to your own videos but supporting each other as a community is also great for reaching a wider audience.
- Write a detailed description of what your video is about. This improves accessibility and will improve the number of hits you have in search engines.
- Embed the videos you produce on your website. This will enhance your Google ranking and provide another platform for your clients to view your content.
- Regularly review old content. Would it benefit from a refresh. Has any practice changed. The internet, and particularly Google, loves fresh content.
- Consider the story arc! Sure, you may not be filming an epic, but you are taking a viewer on a visual journey. What are your viewers motivations? What do they want to gain by watching you? What do you want to show them? How do you want them to feel? What do you want them to do when they finish watching?
- Use different angles to best guide your viewer. The main five camera angles are Wide (establishing shot), Close Up, Detail (hands, gear), Over Shoulder, Something different (such as low angle or drone flyby)
- You need to hook them in the first 10 seconds otherwise..........