Build Your Skills: Learn to Create Your Own Audio and Video Masterpieces

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Fancy a go at producing a short film or creating a podcast with your friends? There are plenty of free tools and tutorials around to help you get started. 

And we're not just talking about making a grainy video of someone falling off a skateboard - we're talking about sound, scenes and editing. The whole shebang (to use a technical term).

What You'll Need
A smartphone with a camera / audio recorder or a video/ DSLR camera or a digital recorder
Access to a computer
Some free editing software and online hosting
This article (obvs).

Making Audio
If you're all about the spoken word, then podcasting might be right for you.

Podcasting is a way of putting together your own audio packages and publishing them online. You can mix audio, interviews, music, whatever you like, as long as you have the rights to use it (see more on music licensing below). You don’t have to worry about lighting and shots, so they can be much less stressful to make!

In order to record, you'll need a digital recorder and/or recording software on your computer. If you don’t have anything built in, Audacity offers a free audio recorder and editor, which is popular with podcasters. 

Next, take a bit of time to watch a tutorial and pick up some tips on putting together your podcast. Here are a few good ones:

Nasa - Even astronauts need to podcast sometimes  - You'll want to skip the first bit unless you're completely new to podcasts...
Wiki How – Start your Own Podcast 
Softonic – For Mac users 
How to use Audacity

One of the best things about working with audio is adding sound effects, from boiling kettles to creaky doors. You can download free effects from freesfx.co.uk .

Tip: for both audio and video, use an external microphone to record sound. Here is a useful vid on recording good sound with your smartphone on a budget. 

Making Video
When you work with video, you’ll need to consider the bigger picture including:

Story Framing
Shots
Lighting
Sound
Camera Movement
Continuity

Before you get started take some time to go over the filmaking basics:

Beginners filmmaking guide from Bristol academy 
Ten tips for kids who want to be filmmakers 

For DSLR Cameras:
Basic camera movement 
Picking the right tools to get better audio 
Basic film making concepts 

If you want to make a video blog, check out this handy guide to making Youtube videos with your webcam 

For more filmmaking tips, visit Vimeo’s Videoschool pages. 

Once you have shot your footage, it’s time to edit it and add effects like music, titles and transitions.

Your computer should come with free video editing software (Windows Movie Maker or imovie for Mac), which will enable you do perform basic editing, like cutting scenes and adding titles.

If you don’t have either of these, Avidemux is another useful free editing programme.

If you’re more advanced, Lightworks offers some of the most powerful free video editing software for windows computers. This is not for beginners though, get your head around the basics first before you upgrade.

Depending on where you upload your work to, you might need to convert your video files to a new format. MPEG Streamclip is one of the best free resources for this. 

Tip: pick-up  / borrow a tripod to stabilize your camera when you’re filming.

Making a Script  Before you hit record, you'll need to work out your story and put together a script. If you’re planning on presenting something, you might be ok making notes on cue cards, but it’s still worth getting things written down in order. Celtx provides free software to help you put together a professionally formatted script on your desktop. 

Remember to include ‘actions’ in your script, including entrances and exists, the setting (interior / exterior) and time of day.

BBC writer’s room has a helpful tutorial on how to get started making a script.

Check Your Music Rights
Using music in your film / podcast will help give it a professional edge, but you can only use music if you have the rights or license to do so.

If you have recorded something yourself then you’re good to go. You can also search for ‘rights free’ music online, which may be free or cheap to download.

If you want to use a chart-topping hit though, that’s when things start to get very pricey. Check out the BBC Film Network’s guide on music rights.

Where to Publish  
Finally, although you might be able to upload audio and videos direct to your blog, it’s better to host them on a third party site, especially if you have limited storage and bandwidth.
Free video hosting sites include: 
Youtube (obvious we know, sorry)
Vimeo 
Blip 
Vevo  
Metacafe  

Free places to host your podcast include:
Podomatic
Podcastgarden
Podbean It’s also possible to host a podcast in google drive 

Once you have published your podcast, link to it from your blog and create a feed on feedburner then submit to i-tunes or another podcast directory, which will index it for all the world to see.

Related content: Five Jobs on Game of Thrones
Publishing and Media career zone

 Photo CC Attribution Vancouver Film School

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