What you really want to do is direct: iMovie Workshop Recap

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On Thursday March 26th, 15 students attended an iMovie workshop at the DLC.
The workshop provided an overview of iMovie from importing media files (video, sound, and photos) to exporting the finished project as a file or YouTube video.

Did you miss the workshop or want a refresher?  Below are some resources for iMovie and video production in general. And don’t forget:  you can make an appointment at the DLC for assistance in creating your class video projects.

Lynda – online software tutorials (you get free access through MIIS!)
iMovie guide from Stanford (overview and links to other resources)

Tips for Better Video Capture
There are a lot of “top 5” tips for just about everything, and that is definitely the case for video recording. I like the 5 tips that are written below which you can also view on the YouTube link

Top 5 Tips by SuperSaf TV

5) Good lighting

  • Move to an area that is well lit, either by sunlight or lamps
  • If you’re indoors use light coming in from the windows, or use an area that is brightened up by lamps
  • Place the subject that you are filming opposite the light source (i.e. if you have the person you are filming stand in front of a window or lamp it will create a dark shadow on their face). So, unless you want a dark spooky vampire shadowy look, don’t have the light behind your subject.
    –> You won’t always be able to control what light is available so just try to make the best of the situation. And if that doesn’t work and its dark, you can always make your video a vampire movie!

4) You Want Good Audio!

  • Avoid background noise as much as possible, ESPECIALLY if you are recording speech
  • Background music is bad. Not only is it distracting, but if you plan to post your video on YouTube there could be copyright legal issues, especially if it is a popular song. If you are taking video of someone talking and in the background we can hear Rihanna or Pitbull playing out of someone’s car, YouTube can take the video down!
  • Keep the mic on the phone clear. Make sure your finger isn’t covering it by accident or that your case isn’t over it.

3) Avoid Distracting Backgrounds

  • Unless the background helps to accentuate the subject or is an important part of your video you want to pay attention to what is behind your subject and make sure it isn’t too crazy or busy.
    For more on choosing good backgrounds for your video you can check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bG1ebAwVF0

2) Try to keep steady and stable

  • Use both hands to record.
  • Give a few secs at the beginning and end of shot for easier editing
  • Tap the screen to focus on your cell
  • If you want to capture a large landscape or room, pan very slowly so that the shot does not appear blurry


  • Landscape is how monitors are set up to display images (standard ratio of 16:9)
  • If you film vertically you will have black space on either side of your video footage when you play it on a tv or projector screen

The above tips will help you go a long way. But If you feel comfortable with filming and want to get into some more details to give your videos some sophistication, these tips should help you. In general…

  • Keep takes under a minute
    If you are doing something specific where you want to shoot for longer than a minute, then by all means, get creative and take it away! (Or if you are recording a long speech or conference, then this does not apply). But for general purposes, recording a scene for around 30 seconds is enough. This will make it easier when you are editing.
  • Vary the camera angle
    Shooting every person or every object from the same distance and same angle will make your video less visually interesting, so record it from different angles. Overhead angles can be interesting so if you are able to go up a flight of stairs above everything give it a try.

    *Use the One Take with Many Angles technique
    : Let’s say you are recording a family event and different people are sitting around talking. But you don’t want to worry about editing your 5 minute video, you just want to shoot it once and upload it and be done. Well, in one take you can shoot a wide shot to capture the whole scene of people, then come in close to video record your auntie (with a close-up) who is telling a story about when you were 5 years old, then you can move to her left to record your uncle (close-up) who is smiling, then back to your auntie, then you can pull away and record your cousins (medium shot) who are laughing a few feet away, then you move out again to a long shot to capture the whole scene again, then move in to a medium shot of a group of kids playing, then pull in to a close up shot of a family friend who is cooking something on the BBQ grill and you interview him about his recipe, then you pull away again to capture the whole scene, and you fade out… Your 5 minute family reunion video is DONE!
  • Don’t use zoom
    The zoom function on phone cameras is not very good and using it will bring down the quality of the image. It’s better to simply walk up closer to your subject (unless the subject is a stuntman who is hanging from a tall building, in this case it could be difficult getting closer to video record).

Record Better Sound with Your Smartphone
Sound quality is so important to make a video watchable. Your fabulous creative shots can be ruined by bad sound. This is a cool video that shows you some simple ways to get the best sound for your smartphone movies!