Take Better Videos: 3 steps to producing better media


Videographers and video production companies can be expensive, unnecessary for your intended project and in the case of my hometown, Glasgow, limited in choice.

Do you run a blog or a small business and want to start making your own video content?

Maybe you’re a band and want to shoot your own music video? Or a tech-savvy entrepeneur who wants to start speaking to your niche personally with a YouTube channel?

Below are 3 tips which I hope can help get your vision out of your head and onto the screen.

Develop the vision

There are many tools you can use to develop your ideas.

The fundamentals I normally produce for creative and advertising projects – scripts, shotlists and storyboards – are enough to unify and communicate the creative vision to your team.

Not only does this process allow you to transform that loose idea into a careful interplay between elements of theme, intent, style and design – it will often make the creative process more streamlined, easing the mental strain.

Videographers and video production companies will often change what paperwork they produce to fit each and every project.

A solo videographer will have different communicative needs than a whole production team.

The requirements for your video projects should be self evident.

Some examples may be:

Music video – Script, Shotlist, Storyboard, call sheets…everything!

A band may want to script the ideas into a narrative – drawing inspiration from their style. This can quickly turn a simple music video idea into a full scale short film production involving a script breakdown document and call sheets to keep track of catering, props, locations, cast, crew etc.

A performance music video would need way less planning. Generally, a storyboard, location and some thematic stylisation (see here for tips on this) will suffice.

Social vlogs – Script, Shotlist

Social vlogs are all about personality and it’s important that this is conveyed to your audience.

Whilst being on camera may come naturally, it’s beneficial to script an outline for your video and develop a shot list to make sure the riffing maintains direction.

A shot list can help you hone in on your message and create some shot diversity in your vlogs.

A lot of great information on how to produce these different elements can be found online – or in these articles here and here.

Stay Organised

Justifying each element of your production carefully can help organise your thoughts in all stages of the creative, pre-production and shooting processes.

Justification can help make sense of a muddy narrative or to create a unique shooting style and is a simple way of streamlining the production process by mitigating wasted time.

It’s simple too, you just have to ask yourself “why” before doing anything.

Why do I want the colour pink in this scene? 

Maybe your main character has a subconscious need for romantic happiness (deeper than his desire to land that soulless job).

Why do I need a call sheet?

Because it creates a solid document to fall back on when you roast your talent/colleagues for forgetting something.

Why do I want to use a handheld camera in this non-action scene?

Clearly you’ve been in an accident and like the way this looks.

This isn’t to say that things must be etched into stone – flexibility can inspire creative results – just as long as the deviation stays controlled (budgets are valuable too, but not always necessary).

If you understand the rationale behind something, you’re taking a crucial step in the creative process by questioning yourself.


Time is time, money is money.

Time in the planning saves time in the shooting. The return is nonlinear, but you can ensure that planning will save time in the long run.

Money in the distribution (marketing) = potential money out via engagement with a larger audience.

There are a whole myriad of distribution channels you may consider – each with it’s own strategy and potential reach. More on this here.

Plan and practice the execution, but don’t plan too much for one day. It’s easy enough to want to dive in at the deep end – but this is likely to cause issues. When you come to the shoot you’ll want to try out different angles, scripting, blocking etc.. this is why test shoots are important.

Investing time earlier, rather than at the late stage of shooting, will allow you to hammer out exactly what works as part of the creative process.

Treat these test shoots as a sketchbook – test your shots, your blocking, your script, your diction….test everything!

Chances are, your mind will change upon reflection and the idea you loved yesterday is your homage to “The Room” today. Or any Transformers movie. Basically garbage.

This process is a great practice in objectivity and even after this editing beforehand, you’ll be surprised how much you still want to edit a year the line!