5 Tips to Improve Your Videos...and where to get 72 more…

We're not talking about feature length movies or Ken Burns style documentaries, although all of these tips still apply. We're talking about just making the video you shoot, ALL the video you shoot, better. People are either gonna watch it or turn it off. So let's entertain people. Let's do it!

Keep it short.


Time is precious. Your time and the time you expect people to put into watching something you made. You've got a better chance at having your stuff seen if you cut it down to a time that invites viewers. Especially if they are not familiar with you or what you do. 

Tell your story in the time you need to tell it. And then edit it down even more. But I know what you're saying, YouTube creators: "But what about watch time? Shouldn't my videos be longer to increase my watch time?" And to that I answer is, "HELL NO." You videos should be BETTER to increase your watch time.

Pitch to someone.

Whenever I have an idea for Pull My Focus, the first thing I do is pitch my idea to someone. It could be my wife or my kid or my buddy Frank. The idea that I have in my head may or may not be fully cooked. By pitching my idea to another person, I get their perspective on it. If I'm confused about my story, my pitch will be confusing to someone else. It doesn't have to be a long pitch, it only needs a begining, a middle and an end. If it's clear to you and the person you are pitching to, then you're on to a great start.

Shoot LESS!


I know it sounds wrong. Just like when Doc Hudson told McQueen to turn left to go rightBut that advice earned him the Piston Cup. When you grab your camera to shoot some stuff in life, don't that person that shoots the same thing for your entire SD card. You end up with long boring shots that are difficult to sort out and edit and you'll end up not using most of it. Think about shooting 4 to 7 seconds and then move on to the next shot. If you are doing a narrative piece or a long scene of course you can ignore this tip, but just don't make your basic go-to shots long and boring. Get your shot, then move along.

For videos that you intend to upload to social media you can go longer. When I take video of my kids or friends that I intend to upload to facebook, I still wont go over 30 seconds per shot. When it gets to 30, I simply stop the recording and start a new one.

I know we're not shooting rolls of film, but that's no reason to use up the whole darn SD card with one or two shots. That's called documenting or shooting a life log. Which is fine if that's what your intent is. 

Shoot with INTENT

What are you trying to convey in your video. What are you trying to get across to your audience? Know the difference between shooting with intent and shooting for a result. Example, Audrey starts a new YouTube channel. She has not worked out what her intent is. Only that her expected result is getting a thousand subscribers.


After that resounding failure, she figures out what her intent is to make this channel in the first place. She has a passion for video games. But she also knows that she really sucks ant them. So now her intent is to show her passion for video games and also show how incredibly bad she is at them.

Anytime you want to start shooting think about what you are trying to say to your audience. What message do you want to get across? Even if you just want to be ridiculous and silly, is that what they should come away with when watching? When the video is over, what is the message you give? Simply wanting people to like you and your channel, that's a result. Wanting people to see your passion for something specific, that's an intent.

Location, Location, Location

Where you shoot effects your video. That's why so many vloggers and filmmakers use location to their advantage. Want to spice up your shots? Choose a location that will help elevate your scene. I happen to live in San Francisco, a city that has no shortage of beautiful locations. Of course I can shoot in front of my house…


But I think it would be nicer if I chose a more visually attractive location if I could. And I can…


Or at least tidy up your desk or wherever you're gonna shoot your video. That place is a mess!

Summing things up

And these were only 5 tips. You want 72 more tips? Then I highly recommend this book by Steve Stockman. It's called, "How to Shoot Video that Doesn't Suck". In 248 pages he gives you 77 great tips on shooting video. Perfect for those who want to get up to speed fast. Link in the description below.

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How to Shoot Video That Doesn't Suck: Advice to Make Any Amateur Look Like a Pro 
by Steve Stockman



Manu Smith

Frank Dellario