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Don't just think about it... do it

I know this is going to sound like bragging, but I can do a lot of different things at a fairly high level. Just about anything around the house is in my toolkit, as is most car and electronic maintenance. Need a new roof, a toilet valve adjusted, power supply rebuilt or a muffler replaced? No problem. I can even play guitar and sing reasonably well, depending on your definition of “reasonable.”

The same is true for video skills. I always enjoyed watching movies and TV shows, and thought critically about them from nearly the beginning. Why was this show assembled the way it was? Where was the camera for that shot? What was important about that line of dialog?

Until 2000 or so, I could dream about making videos, but the only outlet for them were broadcast TV stations and cable networks, all of which seemed unapproachable for any video project of mine. However, once I discovered YouTube and that I could post my own videos and reach my own audience, the floodgates opened for me — since 2008, I’ve posted more than 500 videos on several YouTube “channels.”


People sometimes ask how I learned so much about cars, home maintenance and electronics, and my response is that I was too cheap to pay someone to do it for me, so I just jumped in and did it myself. The same is true for my video efforts — anything I do that works well was taught in the “School of Doing It Over and Over Again” until I figured it out.

This is a long way of saying that if you want to make videos, you need to start making videos. Right now. The good news is that the price of entry has come WAY down over the years.

Today, you can shoot respectable video with your cell phone, and even a cheap digital camera will do surprisingly well. Spend $1,000 and you can get an excellent video camera, one that is better than the best available 10 years ago at any price. Competent editing software costs less than $50, and all the other accessories that you might want (tripod, lights, microphones, etc.) probably cost less than you think for gear that works surprisingly well.

I’ve learned that technique separates a good video from a bad video, not the price of equipment. I once covered a local event with a $200 digital camera and a $40 monopod, and edited the piece with $40 software. The local community LOVED it and the town fathers ask me to do something similar every year when that event rolls around. What made it work were the audio, video and shooting techniques I used, which I taught myself over the years.

If you’ve always wanted to do something, you need to start doing it … today. Send me a note if you’d like any tips.