Video Production: Lessons Learned

Published on February 13, 2023 at 1:33 pm by LEW


I wanted to take a moment or two and jot down some notes about my latest video production excursion. As I think, at lest for me, the experience was a real education. I feel the need to anotate things that went well (not much) and things I will be improving on in my next video attempt (pretty much everything).

I am by no means an expert on the subject. However, one of the reasons I want to talk about my experience is because many of the tutorial videos and articles I read seemed to fall into one of several categories (some more useful than others). I will be the first to admit that my search terms may not be the most productive or useful, but they yielded a lot of results.

One of the major categories was about getting likes and making revenue. This is not really a priority for me, but I understand the popularity. You can always get a lot of attention telling people how they can make money. The more you promise the more views. Nothing like a good “click bait” title.

Another smaller group deals with equipment and setting up a studio. Depending on how things go this may or may not be a priority for me. I don’t have space for a studio of any sort at the moment.

There were surprisingly few articles or videos that addressed the actual planning and making of a video, which is what I am interested in at this point.

Subject of a Video

The issue I came across was not only choosing a subject, but choosing one that was appropriately narrow. One of my goals is to keep my videos between fifteen and thirty minutes. The problem with a lot of subjects I want to do, it is not possible to do justice in that time frame.

For example I wanted to do a video on installing Arch Linux  on Virtualbox. My initial assumption was to make a video about installing VirtualBox, then installing Arch Linux. This ended up being way to long. So I broke it in two. I did a video about installing VirtualBox. I will follow this up with a video about doing a base Arch Linux Installation on a Virtual Machine. I will, at some point, follow this up with a video about installing a GUI on the base installation.

The big lesson here is to limit my scope to match my length requirements. Which can ultimately lead to multiple videos.

Planning a Video

Some people seem to have the ability to just pick up a camera and start talking. Unfortunately that is not me. I need to actually plan out what I want to say before I start recording.

Some people can read from a script and sound normal. That is also not me. If I read from a predefined script I sound somewhat robotic.

The method I have been using is to create a brief outline of what I want to cover first. I then do a practice run using the outline. This always leads to adding more detail to the outline. I usually do this about three or four times before arriving at a final outline.

I then use a table in a word processor (though you could use a spreadsheet just as easily) with columns for timing, the outline, audio direction and video direction. Each major point gets its own row. This then becomes my script. Another rehearsal or two is needed to get everything nailed down.

Organization of  a Video

Once I get to the point of shooting some video and preparing other content, I tend to have a lot of files to work with. Giving them random names, even if they are descriptive can get confusing real fast.

My solution was to start each file name with numbers corresponding to their position in my script. for example “04-11_Name.ext” goes at the fourth row, eleventh item. In this way I can easily group items from a particular scene together in the correct order. This also makes assembling a video much easier for me.

Another element I found I needed was to mark takes at the end of a file name. For example “_T-03” for the third take. Yes I did find myself re-shooting and re recording a lot of video and audio. What I found interesting is that in some cases I would use segments form different takes  and mix them together. I found it worthwhile to keep track of multiple takes of the same material.

Using a Video Editor

Lining up various material in a video editor proved to also be an interesting challenge. This is where having a good labeling system can really help.  I used video with audio files files, video alone, audio alone, and pictures.

The biggest aid for me was the keyboard shortcuts to expand and contract the time line. I found myself zooming in and out a lot.


As this was my first informational video since I retired, I feel that I have learned a lot about planning and organizing videos. I hope I was able, in this post to communicate some of what I learned.

In planning my next project, I am already putting the things I learned to use, and it looks like it will be coming together much easier. I look forward to doing an update when I finish it.



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