The Three Phases of Video Making Concept, Attempt, Review

Everything about making a video falls into one of these three stages;

Concept, Attempt and Review.

And each of these stages requires a different approach from you as a content creator. Here’s my quick survival guide to each of the three stages.


  1. The Concept

Before you begin filming, you have a concept of what your video is going to be about. Even if you don’t think you’ve got a concept, you do; because going around with no idea what you’re doing, filming everything in sight in the hope that you’ll work it out later is also a legitimate videomaking concept, and many fine vlogs are made simply by framing the chaos of real life and then bringing it into the edit to be sorted out there.


That doesn’t always work though. Sometimes it helps to have a clearer idea of the kind of video you’re making before you start making it, especially if you’re aiming for loads of views, or you’re trying to give your audience something specific. A well-thought-out plan of action can streamline the process of filming and editing, and gives the video a better chance of engaging an audience. Lots of creators go as far as producing the title and thumbnail for their video before they even write the script or pick up the camera. That way a creator can give a video what they hope is its best chance of being noticed and clicked on, but it also helps focus the video making process on fulfilling the promise set by the title and thumbnail.


  1. The Attempt

In the conceptualising stage the challenge was finding an idea to hold on to, in the attempting stage the challenge becomes knowing when to let go. Things will not go exactly to plan, and when the reality differs from your vision for the video, you have to be present enough to roll with things in the moment, whilst also keeping a grip on the story you’re telling, and the video you’re supposed to be making. Try to keep a focus on getting the right shots and keeping the viewer informed, but also allow yourself to be genuine and reactive. And don’t be too hard on yourself when you don’t get that balance right.


  1. Review

Your video idea might have changed a lot between the concept and execution stage, and it’s time to get ready for another transformation, because the moments you remember from filming take on a new life when watched over in the edit. Jokes you laughed at on the day just aren’t funny on film, the brilliant shot you got wasn’t worth the card space, but other things which seemed unremarkable at the time are suddenly some of the best bits you got.


Lessons I have learned in the process:


1 - Always finish what you’re saying to the camera. Even if you feel like you’ve lost your train of thought. Because what feels at the time like a rambling mess might not always be so terrible, sometimes it is, but most of the time it’s not as bad as it seems. Perfect sentences are sometimes boring, and watching someone as they figure out what they think is sometimes interesting. Either way it’s a decision best left to the edit, but if you just abandon what you’re saying because you feel silly at the time you’ll never know.


2 - Keep on rolling. The human impulse is to press stop on recording just when something unexpected occurs. When real life is happening it feels safer just to turn the camera off and get through it, but if the purpose of your video is documenting the real life, you’ve got to try and resist that urge to stop filming just as things are getting interesting.


3 - Don’t try too hard. How many times I’ve sat cringing at the character on screen as he waves his arms about and shouts at the camera in a way he hopes will be seen as an exciting high-energy performance, and it is not. Unfortunately that character is me, and if you think you’ve seen me give one of these performances you’re wrong, because the worst of them never see the light of day, so just imagine how bad they are.


Equally as important as noticing what you have in front of you is noticing stuff which isn’t there at all, and here’s where the greatest lessons are learned, because what goes into making a video isn’t always intuitive. Getting establishing shots, saying where you are, explaining what you’re doing, reacting to what’s happening in front of you. These things aren’t always natural to say to camera, and aren’t often what we feel like we should be chasing when we set out to make an incredible YouTube video, but all these little ‘signposts’ are often what’s missing when we come to the review stage.


This process of having an idea, trying it, and then reviewing it may seem obvious or laborious, but it’s the only way to make a video that best it could be. Beware of any advice to attempt a shortcut; it only leads to being lost. Review the work, have ideas on how to improve it next time, attempt those ideas, review the attempt, and have ideas on how to improve it next time… it’s the circle of making videos and it rules us all.

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