Tips for better video

You’re a writer, not a videographer or filmmaker, so we don’t expect your videos to be perfect. We’d rather you focused on the writing and on taking literature to the streets, the bus, the mall or wherever else people are going about their daily lives and don’t expect to find literature.

Today’s tools make video easier to create than ever before. You can create a GuerrillaReads video with something as simple as your cell phone or with a still camera that has a movie setting. If you have a camcorder or can borrow one from a friend, all the better. We used to be big fans of the Flip video camera. until the Kodak Zi8 came along, mostly because it has a mic input. Very important for hearing all the wonderful words you wrote.

You can upload the raw video, or you can use editing software to create titles and credits, fades and other cool tricks.

Here are some tips (and links to more) for creating better video.


1. Get the camera in close to the reader. This will give you better picture and sound quality. The closer-upper the better.

2. Use a tripod. Remember how the Blair Witch Project made you nauseous with all that camera shaking?

3. In fact, stand still. The video camera should record action and movement, not create it by moving around.

4. Film the reader straight-on. Shooting from below or above just isn’t flattering. Try it and see.

5. Avoid “panning” shots where you try to get everyone and everything in the picture. Instead, focus close-in on the most important person and image(s).

6. Don’t use the zoom. You’ll lose video quality. If you want to get a close-up, get close-in.

7. Listen for background sounds. You might pick a location where the background noises are relevant to the writing. Great. However, make sure the background sounds don’t distract too much and prevent viewers from hearing your wonderful words.

8. Even better – use a microphone if you can. We learned it the hard way – a mic can make a world of difference.


1. Many newer computers come bundled with video editing software like Windows Media Maker or Apple’s iMovie. Their drop-and-drag, fill-in-the-blanks interface is incredibly easy to use. Give it a try and see how it works. Or use the video editing software of your choice.

2. Don’t overload your video with too many transitions and cool effects.

3. When preparing the final file for upload, use the highest quality settings. This will give you the best quality video, although it will create a larger file that will take longer (in some cases much longer) time to upload.

For more tips, check out the useful info provided by YouTube, Google Video or some of these links:

Take a look at the GuerrillaReads videos already posted here, or watch some of your favorite online videos. What do you like? What would you do differently? Try it out for yourself.

Now that you’re video is uploaded and ready, how do you submit it? Click here for Submission Guidelines.

One response to “Tips for better video

  1. Pingback: GuerrillaReads wants YOU! « art predator