This video is a bit of a departure from what I normally do - I’ve had a few people ask me to make a video about how I make videos so this video is about how I film, edit and produce my project videos on this channel. Making the videos is time consuming – I spend at least as long working on the video side of things as I do making the project itself. So here it is.
So filming starts in the workshop and I use my home made mobile camera stand – there’s a link in the description box below for the build video for that, and I use a Panasonic HC-V210 camera. I bought this camera in asecondhand shop about 3 years ago for £85, so not a lot of money, and this thing has taken so much use and abuse, it’s fallen on the floor countless times and it’s usually coated in sawdust, and yet somehow it continues to perform. It’s a 1080p camera, it has a wider lens than a lot of the similar cameras I looked at when I bought it which means I can capture more in the frame when the camera is quite to whatever I’m filming, which is useful. I’m really happy with it for what I paid. I do have more capable cameras that I use for stills, they are both Panasonic too - I have a GX80 and a GX7 but I don’t use them in the workshop as I don’t want to ruin them – I’d rather continue to use this one until it finally can’t take any more abuse.
On most projects I tend to start filming the project first, and then film any spoken intros or outros once the project is complete. I have tried filming an intro and then filming the project, but sometimes projects take a slightly different direction as they’re progressing, so I find it usually makes more sense to do it at the end.
When I’m filming the project, I only film short sections of all the different activities I do, so for example if I spend 10 minutes planing a board by hand, I might only film about 1 minute of that activity. Also within that minute of filming, I usually try to move the camera at least once, so I might film 30 seconds as a wide shot like this and then another 30 seconds of a close up shot like this. Having a few different camera angles just seems to make the final video a bit more interesting to watch in my experience. Filming absolutely everything that I do on a project wouldn’t really be possible as the memory card on my camera would be filling up too often, the battery in my camera would need replacing more regularly, and also when I transfer the video files from my camera to my PC, it would take a really long time.
Once the project is complete, I then film a spoken intro / outro if I feel the project needs one, and I also take some still photos of the project with my other cameras. They are for use on my video thumbnails, and my website articles for each project, and sometimes I’ll show them as a slideshow at the end of the project video too.
All of my projects are filmed at the weekends, as I have a full time day job Monday-Friday. Occasionally though I’ll do an hour or so woodworking in an evening – that tends to happen for two reasons – either I’m running late for getting a video done as I push myself to upload a new video to my channel every Friday, the second reason is if I’m really excited by a particular project and I just really want to work on it.
When the project is complete I need to transfer all the video files from my camera to my PC or laptop, and I do this by plugging it in via USB and I drag and drop all the files to a newly created folder to keep them all together and organised. This process takes quite a while as the video files are large, so I tend to leave it processing and go away and get on with something else.
I’ll show the specs of my PC and laptop on screen. I predominantly use the PC for editing, and it’s not the highest spec as it’s now about 3 years old, but it handles editing 1080 video files just fine. My laptop is much newer, I bought it around 6 months ago and the reason I got this was because I have to travel quite frequently for my day job, so when I’m staying in a hotel room I can still be productive and get some editing done in the evening once my working day at my day job has finished.
Both my PC and laptop would probably struggle a bit with 4k video editing, which is why I haven’t yet upgraded my camera. But also I think 1080 is plenty good enough for what I do at the moment, I’m in no hurry to upgrade to a 4k set up.
For video editing I use Sony Vegas Pro 11. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this particular software, I just tend to use it because it’s what I’m used to using and I don’t dislike it enough to push me to go and learn how to use a different piece of video editing software. My biggest problem with Vegas is that sometimes without reason it will crash while rendering a video for no apparent reason which is pretty frustrating.
I have a video file as a template which has my intro and outro and all my preferred audio level and video settings saved and I use this for each new project video I start to give all of my videos some consistency. I won’t talk about the settings I use in too much detail, but basically for audio I use a hard limiter which helps to raise the volume and compress and even out the levels – I mainly do this because if you’re watching one of my videos without a proper set of speakers like on a mobile device for example, it helps keep everything audible. And for video, I add a bit of contrast to the footage from my Panasonic video camera as the footage from it looks a little bit washed out without it. Occasionally I also need to change some colour tones in a clip, but generally the auto white balance on the camera does a good job most of the time.
I’ll drag all my video files from the folder on to the project, and they are automatically arranged in the order that they were recorded, which is great – makes my life much easier. Each clips has a video and an aidop track which gives you the flexibility of being able to work on them independently.
The first thing I do is edit down each clip to only the bits that want shown in the final video, and then I keep moving them all together. I’ll also speed up any clips that seem long winded and I do this to keep my video as short and concise as possible. Generally I aim to get the content of each video down to around 10 minutes, as to me that feels about the right length for a YouTube video in my opinion. If I’m working on a particularly long project then I’ll split in to 10 minutes sections and post the videos as part 1, part 2 and so on.
I’ll also merge some clips together, for example if I’m just talking in the video clip but I want the video to show me doing something while I’m talking, I’ll overlap the clips, and then sort the audio levels out so that both the talking and the background sound is audible.
Once all the clips are trimmed and put together, I watch the whole thing back and type up a script which I’ll later use for narration. I do this because I’m not a very good talker - I find I get my point across better when I write down what I want to say first rather than just freestyle narrating what’s happening in the video. I have tried to narrate videos freestyle on occasion but that actually tends to take more time for me – but that’s probably just a personal thing.
NARRATING AND AUDIO
Next comes narrating, and for this I use a USB microphone which plugs straight in to the PC – this is called the Blue Yeti. I bought it on Amazon for around £100. It works great and is well built – I’ve even travelled with this in my suitcase a few times if I want to get some narration done while I’m away in a hotel room somewhere and it’s always performed well. I also use a pop filter in front of the mic which helps to eliminate any plosive vocal sounds. This is just something I had left over from the days when I used to record music, but the microphone stand clip which used to be on it broke, so I made a little wooden base for it so I could use it at my desk.
I create a new audio track in the project, set the microphone level to make sure that my vocals are not clipping, and then hit record and read through the script that I previously typed up. If I mess up a line, I’ll repeat it until I get it right. When I’ve finished reading the script, I cut out any gaps and any bits that I got wrong,
Then I move the narration clips to wherever appropriate within the project so that what I’m talking about reflects what’s happening on the video.
I usually have three separate audio tracks on each project, one for background sound, one for vocals and narration, and one for music, which I usually put at the start and end of each video. Having them as three separate tracks allows me to adjust the levels on each of them independently so I can get the video sounding exactly how I want it. The vocals are always loudest, the background sounds are usually quite quiet, and if I’m using a particularly noisey tool like my tablesaw for example, I also lower the volume of those particular clips.
Finally, I’ll watch back the whole video and make final adjustments. I might take out some clips that I feel are unnecessary to keep the video short and concise, tweak audio levels, that sort of thing.
I’ll also listen to it through both headphones, and speakers to check that the audio levels are OK and everything that needs to be heard can be.
Like I said before, I aim to keep each video to 10 minutes.
Next I’ll render the video, and that takes some time, usually over an hour so I leave it alone to do it’s thing.
I’ll watch the video one more time just as a final check. And once I’m happy that it’s as good as it can be, I can upload it to YouTube. I schedule my videos so that they are uploaded every Friday at 5pm GMT and I’ve been able to maintain 1 video per week for well over a year now. At the moment I’m doing really well as I’ve been doing lots of projects so you can see here I’ve got plenty of videos scheduled for the next few weeks which means I can chill out a bit and actually have some time at the weekend to relax and see my girlfriend! It also means I can go away on holiday and I don’t have to worry about getting behind – that that’s the way I like it. It’s not always like this though and often I’m uploading videos to YouTube the night before they’re due to be published and it’s all a bit of a mad rush.
So Friday evenings are always quite exciting for me and I look forward reading the new comments on the video and getting some feedback on the projects. I’m very lucky that 95% of the comments I get are either positive or constructive and I really like to see some of the same people commenting regularly too – so a big thanks to all my regular viewers. I’m happy to get negative comments too if they’re constructive but they’re often not - but that’s just what you happens on YouTube!
So that’s it, I hope you enjoyed this insight in to the life of a YouTube woodworker and what goes in to making these videos.