Video Production - First Class

Every couple of months I think about starting a YouTube channel and to start making videos regularly. I've created some videos in the past and have enjoyed the process. My main hangup has been that I don't have a topic I want to focus on.

That shouldn't hold me back from making any videos. Therefore, I've decided to start small. I'll learn more if I start doing something.

The goal is to make them as fast as possible, get to 80%, learn something new, and then publish them. Publishing so that I hold myself a little more publically responsible.

My first opportunity came recently when Michelle and I stood in line for three hours at a Google Home Mini Donut shop for the chance to win a Google Home Mini if we lost we'd walk away with some donuts. How can we pass on donuts?? I thought that'd make a good video. So I made one. Here are the lessons I learned.



It took much longer than I expected. Clear off the table, set up the tripod, check that framing is level, do the same for the second camera, make sure the background looks good, make sure there is enough lighting, thread mic through my shirt, check volume, etc.

I need to take more time reviewing the background. I should remove evidence that I can't keep all my plants alive and tidy up the dishes.

My secondary camera was my iPhone on a Gorillapod. I didn't realize until I started editing that it shook when I touched the table. I'll need to set it up somewhere else.


Go for more, shorter clips. I thought longer would be better, but it makes it harder to find the good takes.

Give an editing-only intro each time. I didn't have any reference on the video or audio files to know which ones went with each other. This will make it easier for post-production.

Pronounce everything carefully. Evidently, I can't say "DEVICE."

Remove my verbal tick of saying "okay."


Create more b-roll.

Be intentional about setting up good shots.


Group all multicamera shots together in the beginning. This was my first time with Final Cut Pro X, so it was fun learning how to sync audio and video, along with how to put together a multicamera shot. It is 100x better than what I used to do with iMovie.

Leave all files on the computer. I was editing off my Drobo and kept losing frames since it is a slow connection. I'll move them off the computer once I've finished the video.

I intentionally kept things simple this time. Eventually, I'll get to title cards, color correct, intros, and other whiz-bang features. But I enjoyed learning about FCPX adjustments with clips. It makes it easy to control the transitions.

Story Telling

Three parts do not equal a story. I'm married to a storyteller so I know I should have a story arc. But this time I thought I'd wing it. I shouldn't have. There was no central theme.

  • Was it an unboxing of the Google Home Mini?
  • Was it a tutorial on how to set it up? Or how to use it?
  • Was it about what to expect at the Google Home Mini Donut shop experience?

Answer: It ended up being none of these.

Lesson: Figure out the story I want to tell before shooting anything. What am I wanting to teach or show?

Write out what I want to cover in each section. It took me 10 minutes to say the closer. Had I written an outline I probably could have stopped myself from saying "Leave a comment in the description" twenty times.

All of that said, I'm happy with the way it turned out. I learned a lot along the way and I know how I can improve next time. Not much more I can ask for.

Biggest take away: create a checklist to speed up each step and to remember these lessons.

Why Video?

Simple. Writing is not my strongest medium. I enjoy it (which is why I keep attempting to blog), but I'd rather shoot and edit video. Plus, video creation is a skill that I want to develop.

Time to figure out my next video.

Ryan Mathews

Ryan Mathews

San Francisco, CA