Are you a Freelance Videographer in Dubai? Watch these videos to up your game!
The journey to becoming a successful freelance videographer who is able to craft engaging narratives over a diverse range of topics is no easy feat. Any videographer worth his salt will tell you that it takes time, commitment, and a whole lot of perseverance. But due to cameras and drones becoming simply a whole lot better, easier to use (and relatively cheaper) than 10 years ago, pretty much anyone can create stunning videos that before were the exclusive purview of big digital marketing agencies. This is why we now have world renowned videographers such as Sam Kolder, Peter Mckinnon & Jacob (to name but 3) who are being hired by mega brands such as Uber, Etihad, and Canon to create content for them. They are able (most probably along with a small team) to land jobs with these global brands, using the same equipment us mere mortals have access to and (perhaps more importantly) can afford.
If you are a freelance videographer in Dubai, or anywhere for that matter, then it’s important to realise that the industry of video production has changed massively in the last ten years. Whilst quality camera gear & drones are important, nowadays it is not the tools that are going to limit or hinder your potential to become a recognised freelance videographer. Rather, it’s your imagination. Your dedication to learning new methods by which you can tell a story and surprise your audience. Your ability to construct a narrative that resonates in a way that hooks your viewers and keeps them coming back for more.
Now, one of the best parts about being a freelance videographer in Dubai is that we live in a city that is pretty much built on promotion; a bastion of unbridled consumerism, branding & entrepreneurship. This place is built upon, and sustained by, a whole lot of advertising and marketing. Budgets are big. And that’s great, if you can land these jobs with the big budgets. But, until then, your best strategy is to up your game as much as possible & to learn from those videographers who have come before you. Today there is an abundance of freely available resources, outside of the traditional institutions, which can help you to improve with the click of a button. Put bluntly, you don’t need to go to film school to be a filmmaker. All you need is a laptop and a decent internet connection. So, with this in mind, we’ve curated a few of the best and most helpful tutorial videos we found out there that you can use to improve your game, and yourself, as a freelance videographer in Dubai.
You know what they say! It’s All in the Edit!
Any aspiring freelance videographer in Dubai knows that to do their job properly they are going to have to be a jack of all trades and not just a master of one. You could be the best cameraman on the planet, but if you can’t edit your footage then no-one is going to see it! The edit is where you bring your raw footage to life in the most engaging way possible.
The two most common editing softwares used by freelance videographers today are Premiere Pro & Final Cut. Here we have provided two videos with easy to follow guidelines for getting started. From importing your raw clips to exporting the final video, these videos will help you on their journey to creating more professional videos.
Here’s a little neat trick for all you freelance videographers out there finding difficulties editing to the beat of a track. Super fast. Super efficient and super awesome. This really helps you understand just how important it is to edit to the beat and the feel of the music. Click here to watch the video.
Should I be using Transitions?
After cutting and splicing your clips in your preferred editing program, a good place to start to bring your footage to life is by adding transitions. So, you’ll need to learn how to transition from one clip to the next. Now for some sage advice… DON’T OVERUSE TRANSITIONS! The best transition is one that the viewer didn’t even notice. A transition should be in keeping with the vibe or mood of the narrative and the message you are trying to get across. When you are beginning out as a freelance videographer don’t fall into the trap that cheap transitions are going to make up for bad footage. Chances are your footage is better than you think and, if anything, the better way to make it come to life is through good colour grading (we’ll get to this later). So, let your footage do the talking and use transitions sparingly.
One last thing, there are different types of transitions. There are transitions you can add later in post and also “in camera” transitions or so called natural transitions. The latter are a really great way to make your edit flow but also to stand out as a professional. So watch this video, grab your camera and start shooting! To browse transition pack plug-ins which you can purchase and download to your editing software feel free to check out vfxmotion.com
When, where & how to use speedramping!
When I started out as a freelance videographer in Dubai I literally had no idea what a speed ramp was, but I use them in almost every edit nowadays. Speed ramping is the art of slowing down and speeding up your footage in order to get from one part of a clip that you would like to focus on, to another. This is a common technique used by big personalities on YouTube, such as Sam Kolder and Peter Mckinnon, and can be used to great effect. Speed ramping can draw attention to a particular part of a clip, usually to create tension, or it can be used very effectively to transition from one clip to the next. This technique has become an iconic & staple visual effect employed by many mainstream videographers and filmmakers today. It’s a technique popularly used in Hollywood too, used to stylish effect in Zack Snyder’s 2006 film 300.
One tip we do advise is having a camera capable of shooting in a high frame rate. We wouldn’t recommend using anything lower than 50fps as otherwise the footage can become too jittery and this effect can become difficult to pull off.
Colour Grading – bring your footage to life!
This is one of the most essential skills to learn as a budding freelance videographer in Dubai, a place where the sun shines bright and there’s a lot of reflective surfaces with high albedo. To be able to effectively colour grade your footage is for sure difficult, but it is an absolutely necessary part of making your edits more memorable. A carefully considered and coherent colour grade can truly take your footage to a whole other level. Of course, whilst shooting try to use the histogram on your camera to ensure there are no underexposed or overexposed areas. This is the very first thing to consider in this process as you can’t really fix this in post. Secondly, try to shoot in Cine D or V-log as these will provide you with the most data with which to manipulate your image in post production (in terms of contrast, colour & detail).
The goal of a good colour grade is to make your footage come to life and to instil your edit with the right vibe. Colour correcting adds mood. It adds attitude & texture; it provides context and coherency (when applied properly). Not only can you create a particular ‘feel’ with different colour grades but you can also make all of your footage, whether filmed on a GoPro, your iPhone, your DSLR or even your drone look as though it was all filmed on one camera.
One last piece of advice, from one freelance to another, is that you should probably try your best to colour grade your footage after you have edited and sequenced your clips as colour graded footage takes a lot longer to render than ungraded clips do. Additionally, you can also use LUTs to create a particular feel or mood throughout the entire edit which you can read more about by clicking here.
Blur the lines with motion… Eh… Blur
Motion blur is the apparent ‘streaking’ of moving objects in a photograph or video, having the effect of leaving a trail of light or smoothing the motion of a particular object. Motion blur is used a lot by freelance videographers & YouTubers nowadays to help create a smooth effect during a speed ramp or to transition from one clip to the next. This visual effect is not available with either Premiere Pro or Final Cut, however, there are multiple free plug-ins and downloads available on the internet. This stylistic effect can be used to add flow to the motion of a person or an object, smoothing out any unwanted jittery movements and making the footage look more dreamy. Just be aware that motion blur effects, whilst easy to use (drag and drop), can take a long time to render so try and use them at the very end of your editing workflow.
Masking – How does it work?
Another useful skill to learn that will help keep your edits unique from other freelance videographers is ‘masking’. This is another one of those stylistic visual effects that has been used by almost every famous videographer you can find on YouTube these days. Used most often to transition from one clip to the next, this, much like camera ‘whipping’, could be considered a ‘natural transition’ effect. It is essentially using an object or a person to block what was previously being focused on. Then, in post production, normally with the help of a speed ramp, you can create a vertical or horizontal swiping effect to transition from your previous clip into the next. By drawing a mask around the tail end of the object or person, the old clip is seen to reveal the beginning of the new clip. This can look great and you won’t believe how easy it is to achieve. It just takes a little patience and attention to detail. Once you learn the technical side of masking, you can then go out and consciously shoot clips intended for masking, like a bus driving in front of your street scene or a person walking very close in front of the camera.
Title Effects! Its not what you say but, how you say it!
Whilst it is impossible here to cover all the different types of title effects that you can add to your edits, it is useful to bring them up and remember that this can be a great way to add style & artistic flare. Title effects can create a certain mood for a whole host of reasons, whether it be the size of the text, the font used, or the manner by which the words appear on the screen. The title effects you choose can help to create the vibe you are trying to instil a particular edit with. Titles (or text effects) can also help to set the scene, the location, the context, and what the audience is about to watch. They can add value, suspense, and keep the viewer hooked by letting them know that the edit they are about to watch appeals to their own passions or brands they like to associate themselves with.
As a freelance videographer in Dubai you may well have a niche for creating edits around a particular industry, such as luxury lifestyle or real estate for example. What you should consider then, is that the fonts and text styles that you use are in keeping with the brand you are working with. You should be aware of different typographies and familiar with a diverse range of fonts. If you want to give your edits a unique touch then feel free to visit www.dafont.com which has a massive range of free fonts which you can search for and download. Lastly, you can purchase title effects online from websites such as motionvfx.com but you can also find a lot of free title effects on YouTube, so just search around and find the cheapest option before splurging your hard-earned cash on expensive plug-ins.
Top Tip: There is a cool website called glyphter.com which allows you to create your own icon alphabet (so to speak) which can be super useful for a whole host of reasons. Check it out!
Hearing is Feeling! Why you need good sound design!
Audio is everything. To create edits that leave lasting impressions on people and thus make you stand out from all the other freelance videographers in Dubai you are going to have to understand what it means to value sound design. Is seeing is believing then hearing is feeling. There are a bunch of different audio licensing platforms to choose from, all of which have massive libraries and a diverse range of genres of music. I myself have used artlist.io but I actually switched over to epidemicsound.com as I felt that artlist.io just didn’t really have the type of audio that matched my editing style. I am genuinely happier with not only the music on offer within the epidemic sound library but also with the user-friendly layout (which they recently updated). So, it all starts here, with choosing a good audio track that matches the vibe or feel of the edit you are trying to create. On top of this, however, you are going to have to think about the sound effects you want to add.
Good news! epidemicsound.com also has an SFX library where you can browse thousands of different sound effects, download them and add them easily into your edit. It will and does take time, so be patient. Good sound design is a job in itself. The main thing to remember here is that good quality audio is super important and is going to have a massive impact on the cinematic quality of your edits. Whether you are filming from a shotgun mic attached to your camera or a lav mic (perhaps during an interview), you need to first of all record audio properly and then, in post, to later manipulate this audio just as you have done for your footage during the colour grading process. Adding SFX is essentially like ‘colour grading’ your audio, adding cinematic style to your edit so that it can have the intended impact!
Well, thanks for tuning in to this blog post and we really hope the information & videos here helps you on your way to becoming a successful freelance videographer. Just stay focused and have a clear image of what it is you are trying to create. What is the narrative? Which emotions do I want to leave the viewer feeling? What effects should I be using in my edit and what style of titles, which kind of colour grade and which genre of audio best adds to the vibe or mood of this particular edit. Stay tuned for our next article!