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  • Christine Lotis

How to Start Filming Tutorials

A lot of people are under the false impression that you need expensive lighting and a top of the line camera, with a crazy backdrop, and so on...


But the truth is, to start filming tutorials for your Instagram page or Youtube Channel, you really only need the basics. Once you start to get a larger following or get some more money in, then you can consider buying more equipment. But the most important thing to remember is that everybody starts somewhere. Even the biggest makeup influencers in the game started with what they had, and you can too. Some of the products used have been linked, so you can check them out for yourself to get an idea of how much these items cost, and where you can purchase them (Takealot is great).


The first thing to remember when starting a YouTube Channel or starting to film tutorials for your followers, is to use natural lighting if you don't have a ring light, or other artificial lighting. Natural lighting is actually the best to do your makeup in, as it shows what your makeup looks like in real life, without the filters and bright lights.


When I first started filming my makeup looks and tutorials, I used to sit in front of my big sliding glass door, and stack books on top of a chair, and sit my mom's camera on top of it. I didn't have a backdrop, a tripod, lighting, or any of this other fancy equipment. My first purchase was a backdrop stand, which wasn't cheap, but it will last me a lifetime. I then went to a fabric store and purchased 2 large pieces of fabric; 1 black piece and 1 silver sequin piece. If you don't have backdrop, you can arrange your background to look aesthetically pleasing. Place some flowers, a candle, some cute books and ornaments, and you're good to go, or just simply sit in front of a white wall.


You also don't need to have the best camera on the market. At first I used my mom's camera, but now I just use my phone (iPhone 11), which takes amazing quality pictures and videos (dare I might say, better than the camera I was using). Filming on your phone is so easy and you're able to transfer the files to your computer quickly for post-editing. My second purchase was a selfie ring light, those tiny ones that you clip over your phone, just for that added light when natural light just wasn't enough (you have to time your filming well so that lighting is best either early morning, or late afternoon, around 4pm). I also purchased a cheap cellphone tripod. I think these 2 items together probably cost me about R500.




After using my small cell phone ring light and phone tripod for about a year or two, I finally got a proper ring light on a stand, which had a cellphone holder attached to it. It was about R1000 for this, but has made such a difference. You can find cheaper ones online too. It's also not a top of the line one, as these can be a lot more pricey. I got it from one of those small tech-gadget shops. It's great because you simply plug it in with a USB adapter, and you can change the light to either white light or yellow light, and you can also change the intensity. White light looks more artificial whereas yellow light is more natural, like the sun.



My setup is quite simple compared to some setups out there. I simply have my backdrop stand with my chosen fabric, my ring light, and a small table and chair where I set up my makeup products, and my laptop. I attach my phone to my laptop with the lightning cable, and open up QuickTime on my MacBook. I then choose a new video recording, and press record on my phone. (The back camera quality is much better than the front camera), so this way I can see what the video looks like on my laptop in real time while i'm recording.



Once recording is done, I airdrop the file to my laptop to start editing. I use iMovie - it's a free app that comes with your Mac. It took me some time to get used to the editing process, and I watched many videos on YouTube on how to cut and edit my videos, while adding transitions, and speeding up aspects of the tutorial that take some time to complete. Watch this video to get an idea of how the app works.


Remember to try and make your tutorials as easy and to-the-point as possible. I try to make my videos no longer than 15-20 minutes for YouTube and less than 10 minutes for IGTV (this is the limit on IGTV). People get bored if videos are too long, so make them simple and fun for your viewers. Before you start filming, make sure you know what you're going to do and what you're going to say, so that it runs smoothly. You don't have to speak in your videos, but if you do, make sure you're fun, relaxed, and insightful. Don't try to be fake or overly funny, as this just ends up being a bit cringe. Give your viewers tutorials that they want to see. What i've noticed over the years is that while people love to watch crazy special effects tutorials and bright colourful makeup, these are often not wearable, so mix it up with interesting tutorials, as well as tutorials that actually help people with the basics, like how to contour or fill in your brows.



You will get better and better the more you practice, so start out basic and simple, and then grow from there. Don't be afraid to ask your followers what they struggle with or what they want to see, and do polls on your story so that you're actually providing people with meaningful content. And the rest is up to you! Good luck, and take that leap, no matter how awkward or out of your comfort zone you may feel at first!

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