TIPS FOR MAKING GREAT VIDEOS
One of the most challenging things about making an educational video without professional equipment is sound. This is especially true for videos on horsemanship, considering you are most likely outside and on a horse away from the camera. Some camcorders are equipped with decent audio pickup, but still from far away it can be a challenge and if you're using a smartphone you can pretty much forget it. There are options though; either filming a maneuver then returning to the camera to explain, or investing in some kind of remote audio pickup. Option B is far preferred and these videos will return higher views because you can explain while you are executing. If you already have a wireless setup, there is likely a way to modify this to plug into your video equipment to create a higher quality video. Alternatively, you can purchase a wireless pickup that will plug into your video camera or smartphone such as the Saramonic SR-WM4C Wireless Lavalier Microphone System which sells for around $100 on amazon.
If you do decide to purchase this kind of system, be sure to take some practice videos and adjust the volume on the unit so it is not distorted and you can be easily understood.
- Set your focus point. If you are using a smartphone (we recommend at least an iPhone 6 or comparable) most things in your screen will be in focus, however if you want to focus on a particular person or spot in an arena, you can tap on it on the screen and the phone will focus there. Generally, the tech in the phone will keep what you want in focus. Some camcorders have a manual focus, so if you're filming with a partner they can manually keep you in focus.
- Film with the sun or light source shining on the target, not from behind it. If you're filming alone in an outdoor arena, make sure you set your camera up so light will be shining on you, not on the camera. If the sun is behind you, you will appear backlit or very very dark, and if its super bright behind you, you may not be visible at all except as a silhouette.
- Use a tripod or other stabilization device. It is very hard to hold a camera steady, and post editing takes a lot of time or is often impossible to get a shaky video to appear steady. Tripods or resting on a post is a good way to keep focus on the target and not on the visual earthquake. If you cant rest on anything, pretend you're carrying a very hot very full cup of coffee.
- Set the shot up so you don't have to use lots of zoom while filming. Zoom is a great tool to use if you have to film from far away, but generally zooming during film is distracting and will alter film quality. If you're using a smartphone, setting it up so you dont have to use any zoom is optimal. This is because phones do not offer optical zoom, only digital, so basically as you are "zooming in" its really just blowing the frame up and destroying the resolution
- Make sure your lens is clean. Whether filming with a camcorder, professional equipment or a phone, the lens must be clean. This is especially important to be diligent of when filming in dusty, dirty environments like around horses. Even a smudge on the lens will create blur and compromise the apparent resolution of the video. Sometimes when filming with a smartphone we forget there is a lense, but sure enough its there and it gets dirty. Take a lens cloth and clean it off.
Uploading video to THF University
To upload a video, you have to have the file accessible on your computer. You can do this by plugging in your smartphone or camera and either transferring it to the computer or uploading directly to the dropbox. Click on the dropbox link provided to you, find the file on your device or on your computer and upload it to the dropbox. Depending on the length and resolution of video, it may be several gigabytes and could take over an hour to upload depending on your internet speed. Make sure your computer is plugged in and leave the page open until it is complete. The video will then have a THF University tag added to the beginning and end of the video and posted under your channel on the U website.
If you took the video on a smartphone you can also click on the link on your smartphone and upload it directly from there. Be sure to connect to wifi before doing this as it will eat up a LOT of data if you don't.
what to include in your video
Since THFU tags will be added to the beginning and end of the video, it isn't necessary to mention THFU in the beginning if you don't want. However, you should introduce yourself, your brand if you'd like, the horse you're working with and the topic you are going to cover. The recommended video length is 10 minutes or less on each topic, if its a complicated topic or difficult horse it is not a problem to go over this time.