I like to make DIY videos about boat repair that will help my friends. Several have indicated that they think the clips go too fast and should go into more detail. I try very hard to keep them under 5 minutes max. How would you handle this time problem?

–Vern Mowrey, Newburyport, MA

Great idea, Vern.  You already seem to be getting a lot of views, and your videos have unique tone– very New England!

As to improving– there’s a difference between what your friends are saying and what their real problem is. Your friends are left frustrated and wanting more not because the clips are too fast– it’s because they’re not communicating enough interesting information. What they’re really saying: they need to be getting some action.

To give it to them, try these tips:

1)  Every shot needs to have an action– somebody doing something. Think noun/verb/noun, just like your 3rd grade teacher taught you in English.  The shiny paint on the boat’s hull contains no action– it’s a still photograph. Contrast that with Jim (N) paints (V) a second coat on the hull (N). Action makes this a shot.

2)  Use people: You’re missing the whole “Y” in “DIY”–not one of your shots contains a human. Humans love watching other humans– plus, they make it easy to bring action to the video.  Which would you rather watch:  a guy wearing a dust mask running a belt sander across the weathered hull of an old boat, or  a dust mask sitting motionless on a desk?

3) Edit shots to the length they want to be. Linger on great video.  Spend less time on the stuff that’s a “quick read”– informational, but not fascinating.

If you really want to show us the brand of paint you use– a fine thing in a DIY video– show us FAST.  But if you’ve got a guy backing a huge boat into an impossibly small garage (a great action shot from one of your other videos) take your sweet time and let us be amazed.  Show us detail and alternate angles.  Interview the driver about how tough it is to back the trailer without wrecking boat and garage.Get a closeup of the hull missing the door jamb by 1/16 of an inch.  That’s the kind of information that will keep your friends (and me) fascinated.

If you have long lists of product you want to show, scroll a supply list at the end.  Better still, link to the list on your blog for more customer engagement.

4) Cut the Dissolves:  You use dissolves (cross-fades) in all your transitions. Dissolves feel like movement, but they don’t take us anywhere.  Instead, they eat up time without giving us new information. Time spent dissolving is time spent NOT showing somebody doing something. Use cuts to pick up the pace.

Following all these tips may actually make your video shorter.  But you’ll deliver much more information and much more entertainment value in your video.  To your friends, they’ll feel action packed and interesting.

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