What are the best DIY tips for making the best DIY videos?

Dawn Wells potato peeling videoA Note from Dr. Wayne Baker: This week, welcome back columnist Terry Gallagher.

Yesterday morning, I was talking with a friend about how easy it is to find useful how-to videos on the web. She mentioned a favorite, showing the perfect way to peel boiled potatoes for salad. It took me a few seconds to find this fun one, featuring (surprise!) Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island.

What if I wanted to make my own how-to video? Well, first, I’d search for advice showing me how. And as you might expect, I’d be in luck; there are dozens of YouTube videos out there, plus listicles offering tips on how to make better videos.

I’m intrigued by the 10 tips (and dozens of sub-tips) provided by Videomaker, the website created by Matt York who has been teaching people how to make better independent films since the days of Super-8! One of Matt’s online editors, Jennifer O’Rourke, wrote this list of DIY tips, including: use a script and avoid rambling, make it as short as possible, remember to use closeups on important steps in a process and even consider making money on your productions.

Of course, many of the people creating and sharing these videos don’t seem to be interested in profiting from them.

Their real motives might be related to one of the ten core American values that Wayne Baker has written about here and in his book, United America: self-reliance. These videos clearly encourage us to be more self-reliant, to fix our own appliances and our own meals.

But self-reliance isn’t an absolute value, Baker says. “Our strength as a nation comes from the balance of individualism and community.”

Don’t the best of these home-made videos seem like the kind of advice you’d get from a clever and helpful neighbor over the back fence? Aren’t many of the people who create these videos just like that neighbor, making their own generous contribution to building a stronger community, all over the world?



The Videomaker column I recommended (above) goes over general tips for anyone planning to make a DIY video. This next 8-minute video digs into the range of equipment you might want to consider if you’re wanting to do some serious DIY videomaking.

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