“He Lacked A Simple Video To Introduce Himself” / 3

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After interviewing the artist I mentioned earlier, I created a word cloud of the topics that came up most frequently.


Notice the words that relate to the location he wants to illustrate: “place, outbuildings, gallery, space”. They’re important, obviously. But so too is “work”, and “images”.

If you had an hour to speak to someone who was truly interested, I wonder what your word cloud might look like.

You can actually do this on your own, and I encourage you to try.

First, record some audio into your phone. Talk about what you would like your video to show. What kind of viewers you might have. What effect you would like the video to have on them.

Then upload the audio to an online AI-based transcription service I use, Otter.ai, which also generates word clouds.

If you decide to do that, please let me know how you get on.

But if you think you might struggle to record the audio without a real person to speak to, keep reading.

BBC Radio 4, The Today Programme

A few years ago, my friend Rob published a new book, and he was interviewed on the Today programme – perhaps the most prestigious slot on BBC Radio.

Afterwards, on social media, Rob shared a link to the programme. But I worried for him, because Facebook doesn’t like to let people leave. The radio link wasn’t enormously useable, and didn’t look like much. Even devoted friends, if they wanted to listen to him, and bothered to click the link, would have to scroll through lots of other news to find the bit with him in it.

This was time-consuming and might make people give up without hearing him.

So I set up my computer to record only Rob’s interview, which lasted 3 mins 37 secs. I stuck together two photos of Rob and the interviewer, and I mixed the sound and image to create a very rudimentary movie, which I then uploaded to YouTube and Facebook.

Because he’s a pal, I also spent the towering sum of £11.63 to promote it as a Fb ad. You could hardly make a simpler “video”. But it had a terrific impact, getting a lot of views. Here’s what Rob posted on Facebook afterwards:

Robert Twigger's feedback
And it’s all much easier to do now.

This was some years ago. Tech was harder to access then, and to use, than it is now. If I did it again today, I’d add more images of Rob, perhaps a video clip here and there, and captions, so that viewers can “hear it” when they watch with the sound off. And I might also create an upright, portrait version to use on Instagram.

Film your friends

Recently, I went to see two friends exhibiting at the Affordable Art Fair in London, and I filmed them on my phone.

Neither of them asked me to do this: I did it because I thought it might be useful to show themselves exhibiting at a prestigious event. I knew it would be hard for them to film themselves this way, and it was ridiculously easy for me.

The clips are not sensational (understatement.) The sound is terrible. But I’m not trying to win an Oscar, just create useful footage.

One thing that I am pleased with is that the clips convey the warmth that comes from the subject engaging with an actual human being (me, in this case) behind the camera.

It’s hard to fake that warmth, if you try to film yourself. But with allies, you too can create footage at least as good as this, to use in your own videos.

I hope you might be inspired also to film your friends occasionally, and give them the clips to use in theirs.

Video like you, not like me

I don’t want you to think that my way is the only way to make a video. Absolutely not! I’m me, you’re you. I want you to make a video that represents you, not me.

I believe that everyone has a voice, and deserves to be heard. That’s the motive behind these books I wrote, published by Macmillan and Hachette:

How To Change The World, and A Modest Book About How To Make An Adequate Speech
One grandiose title, one lowly: somewhere in the middle is probably about right.

At the top of this page, I mentioned working with an artist on the video for his website. He wanted a quiet, peaceful video showing where he works, and showing the gallery where visitors can spend as much time as they like.

As agreed, he recorded lots of material, and I edited it into sequence. What I created was much slower than my own videos tend to be, because that’s what he wanted.

Interestingly, making this video for him was like the reverse of the video I made for Rob. Instead of starting with sound and adding pictures, this time we put the pictures together and only added sound at the end.

When the footage was ready, but still lacking sound, I sent it to him to record a voiceover. To help structure that, I spoke into my phone while filming the video on my computer screen, using words based on our first conversation on Zoom:

What next for you?

I hope this article has given you some ideas, and some confidence that you can start making your own videos. But I know there’s something else that troubles many people: the tech.

You may think that making even the simplest video is impossible, because you’re “hopeless with technology”, like this person (another whose Instagram account I enjoy):

You needn’t be a tech wiz.

But that worry isn’t real. Honestly, tech companies wouldn’t be as successful as they are if their products were impossibly difficult. Making a video just takes a bit of patience, and a tiny bit of support, as this happy moment – from the end of my online tech clinic – demonstrates:

On the next page, you can read more about the structure of the course, and find answers to any questions you may have.

Ready?. . . >> Final Page