Video for beginners (For social media and beyond)

Today I want to transcribe some info I shared in a recent video I made. If you’d like to watch the video you can watch it here:


In this example I use the FujiFilm X-T30 which is not a stabilized camera. This means that if your lens does not have stabilization built in, your video footage will be very shaky. So, if you are using a camera with no IBIS (in body image stabilization) then you’ll need to make sure you have a lens with stabilization. When I used a cheaper Canon camera I made sure I bought it with a stabilized kit lens so I could do video.


Gimbals are not the cure all as many think when they begin (I definitely thought my gimbal was going to fix everything). That being said, a gimbal with an L bracket is a great way to create very stable vertical footage. You could also invest in a small gimbal for a cellphone and shoot vertical with that.


Cellphones are not to be scoffed at. Even without a gimbal, the new cameras on most of the new flagship phones offer incredible stability and image quality.


Continuous autofocus (AF-C) – all cameras have a continuous autofocus setting. This allows the camera to re-adjust it’s focus lock on your subject as you move around. This will make sense as you start to use it. If the camera stays on single autofocus, you will be forced to half press the shutter button every few seconds to re-adjust, this will also add shake in your shot, which you don’t want.

Try shoot wide open – this is true because you want as much light to enter your camera to reduce grain. It’s also true because it creates that background blur which gives your video a nice aesthetic look. HOWEVER beginners beware, wide open will also make focusing more difficult especially on cheaper cameras. So proceed with a little caution here.

ISO as low as possible – make sure you know where you can constantly set your ISO to its lowest possible setting. A lower ISO means less grain in your footage.

5. 180 Degree Rule

This is a “rule” made by Hollywood years ago, where the shutter is set in degrees on cinema cameras. Effectively what it means is that you need to keep your shutter speed as close to double your frame rate at all times. This will create a natural motion blur that is pleasing to the eye. So if you’re shooting at 50fps (frames per second) you should have a shutter speed of 1/100.

6. ND Filters

Get yourself a quality variable ND filter. Once your ISO is set, your aperture is set and your shutter speed is set and you’re still overexposed (too much light), you’re going to need a “filter” to block out more light. A variable ND filter can be set to variable intensity levels to get you to the exposure level you need to be at.

7. Short clips

Within our specific context of making vertical video for social media, you need to try predict what you’re going to need for your Instagram TV or TikTok clip. And then shoot short clips of each stage of the subject you’re shooting. In my case it was nails, so I made sure I got each step of the manicure.

8. Project settings

Something I never mentioned in the video is to make sure you’re setting up the project in Final Cut Pro or Premiere Pro or LumaFusion to “vertical mode”. All this means is that instead of 16:9 it will be 9:16 or instead of 1920 x 1080 it must be 1080 x 1920

Thanks so much for reading this short tutorial. Please consider subscribing to the mailing list to get more of these advice blogs, and also please on the video in the video and subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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