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Getting Started

Let's Start!

Note: Before we really start, there are many apps - e.g., Powtoon, Doodly - that allow you to plug in content to create your videos. The series presented below outlines how you do the whole process: plan, shoot and edit etc..

Good videos come from good planning. 

The goal of this lesson is to familiarize yourself with video production and to learn about the planning process.

Let's get started!

The Basics

As a foundation, we recommend becoming familiar with the process of making videos. Reviewing these resources will help you become proficient in video production.

To begin, please view the recording of the February webinar "Adding Video to Your Extension Toolbox" if you have not done so already. This video covers some basic ideas and resources available to you now.

Adding Video to Your Extension Toolbox Webinar Recording

A PowerPoint of the presentation is available.

Petr Kosina and Steve Elliot have created a written guide to video production. If you would like to read it it can be downloaded here: Video 101  

Because there are many formats and choices that need to be made with videos, UC ANR has a "Video Checklist" that will help point you in the right direction when a decision needs to be made. It will also help to remind you of a few items that will help you comply with the University's requirements. Video Production Checklist

Also try this "how to" make "how to" videos (18 minutes) by UC Master Gardener Bob Carey.

Be sure to visit the branded assets page to get the latest assets and guidance for use in videos. If you haven't yet seen it, please review the UC ANR YouTube channel to get an idea of what videos have been posted and how our branding works.


The Learning & Development site has a list of recommended equipment for creating how-to videos. Guide: Video Equipment Guide (Current as of February 2020.)

While some specific recommendations are listed on the above sheet, the key things you will need for this course are:

  • Smartphone (and headphone dongle if required for your phone)
  • Tripod, cheap is fine
  • A phone holder to mount on a tripod
  • A lapel mic with TRRS-type connector (Not sure which yours is?: see this image.)
  • Adobe Premiere Elements, 2019 or newer

This assumes you will be filming in a bright location with even lighting. For filming outdoors, a 5-in-1 reflector set is highly recommended. If your filming location is indoors and is dark or strongly back-lit, you may want to add an LED video light. Either one of those options will work better with an assistant to hold it, or by using an additional light stand or tripod to keep it in place.

(It is OK to hold off on buying a reflector or light: either record outside in morning or evening, or move to a different location indoors. Next to a large window may be a good choice.)

Additional information and demonstrations of equipment were covered during this webinar. Be sure to watch it. 

There is more information in using the equipment in the Recording section.

April Virtual Workshop

APRIL (gclipart.com)

As part of the Online Video Clinic series, the webinar recorded in April 2020 covers most of the content on this page. If you are a visual learner or want to see some of the equipment, that video will expand on this content. 

Follow this link to view the webinar. Start times for each topic are included if you want to skip to the section that interests you.

Developing Your Idea

Your video should be planned in advance. Our goal in this program is to produce short how-to videos. Videos 2 to 7 minutes long are easy to share and watch, especially on social media. UC ANR is looking for videos ideally between 3 and 15 minutes for its YouTube channel.

Sometimes there is a need to make longer videos. Maybe a recorded seminar or a complex topic would require much more time. A video teaching Master Gardeners about general entomology may be several hours. But as a video's length increases, the work and time required to produce it also increases dramatically. 

We recommend starting small. A 2 to 5 minute video is a great place to begin. 

Remember the goal of this course is short, focused how-to videos. Other video types certainly have their place, but that is not our focus. 

In order to develop a short video, you will have to be concise and on-topic. Rambling speeches and complex topics will lead to longer videos and more work. Planning is the secret sauce that will save you work and make for a better final product.

The key to developing concise, well planned videos is to think ahead about your learning objectives. Vague objectives will lead to a meandering experience for the viewer and to a longer video.

There are many approaches to developing good learning objectives. Many people in Extension have hit upon an approach that works for their own use through experience. If you are unsure about your experience in developing good, measurable objectives consider revising and refocusing them using a framework called Bloom's Taxonomy. 

Bloom's Taxonomy uses an organized system of action verbs that can be measured. Vanderbilt University has a website dedicated to the topic. If you're in a hurry, an abbreviated tool is available for downloading: How To Write Clear Learning Objectives (PDF)

Even while learning objectives can help you to stay focused, you may still have a topic with too much depth to be covered in a short video. 

If your topic is long and complex, a good strategy to better manage your time is to divide the project up into smaller, independent sections that are part of a series that addresses the larger topic. 

Dividing a video into "Part 1" and "Part 2" helps, but in reality you're still making a long, complex project. A better approach would be to make separate but related topics as different videos. As an example consider a project that addresses Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus. Instead of a comprehensive video about the topic, a simpler approach might be to create a series of videos:

  1. Identifying tomato spotted wilt disease
  2. Monitoring thrips insects
  3. Thrips management strategies
  4. Resistant varieties

Of course, understand your audience. Those 4 videos above would look very different if aimed at a commercial grower vs. a home gardener.

Before you begin think of a single, clear message you wish to convey. This is where the learning objectives you created come into play.

Strategies that will keep things concise include:

  • Having a clear statement of the problem
  • Knowing your audience
  • Understanding in advance why this is important to the viewer
  • Clearly figuring out in advance what viewers need to know
  • Planning your video in advance

Most film projects are planned in advance using either an annotated script or a storyboard. Both are acceptable. (We will focus on storyboarding.)

An annotated script uses text to display the spoken content and describes the footage that goes with it:


NARRATOR: Laundry doesn't have to be hard. [Adding laundry to washer.] Simply toss your clothes to the washer, [Adding detergent] add a reasonable amount of detergent, [Set the temperature] adjust the temperature, [Close lid and start] start the washer.

Storyboards are more flexible and expressive. They can contain your script as well. This template (Word doc.) is a good tool to use when developing your story: Storyboard Template   Here are instructions for using the template: Creating Storyboards (PDF)

The webinar recorded in February 2020 (above) has a good review of storyboards. It begins at 19:27 if you need a refresher.

There are many ways to create storyboards. These videos on YouTube represent a variety of approaches for different styles.

UC ANR's Petr Kosina reviews some proposals by our colleagues and offers feedback and suggestions at the webinar recorded in April 2020. View it on this site or on YouTube. (Start at 9:36 seconds.)

Introduction to Storyboarding

The video above isn't the original one posted in the course, however, it's fun to watch. Its audience is more focused on cinema, but the content is good. It shows the connection between storyboards and final product very clearly.

Storyboarding for People Who Can't Draw

How I Write Scripts for My YouTube Videos 
(This is very different approach, here for a contrast in style.)

Although we highly recommend you plan your videos, sometimes opportunity knocks without warning. Here is an approach to filming without a storyboard that may be helpful in a pinch. It provides flexibility, but it's not random or thoughtless.

How I Shoot without a Storyboard

When developing your video and script, think of shots and footage you will need to illustrate your point. We will cover shooting in the Recording section, but think of still shots (photos) or video you will need to collect.

Having a good storyboard will help you to create a list of what specific shots you will need to record. Understanding what each shot will require will help you to arrange props, images, sounds, and environmental sounds and video.

Keep in mind that some content you may be considering for inclusion into your project may have some copyright issues

Your storyboard is for your own use. Don't worry about its artistic merit! Instead decide whether it provides direction to your project. Add details to the point it becomes a good road map and move forward from there.


It may help you to gain experience storyboarding if you start with a project that you know you won't be filming, so there is no pressure to "get it right."

For practice we will storyboard a short video on how to make scrambled eggs.

6 brown eggs and a metal whisk

Although everyone has their own way to make scrambled eggs, this is the process for making simple scrambled eggs that we will use: crack open eggs into a bowl, whisk eggs, heat pan to medium heat with some oil to prevent sticking, cook in pan using spatula until congealed, serve.

Include what shots you need and the associated draft script that goes with each shot. Do not worry about intros/outros at this point. Focus only on making scrambled eggs.

Use this storyboard template: Storyboard Template (Same file as template above.) You should need 5 to 8 panels.