Our Favorite Video Tools

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Filming while drivingDo you sometimes film yourself while driving? Some law and order types would call it driving while filming. Actually, that can be a tricky thing to pull off, for a number of reasons. You could get pulled over by the local gendarmes, accused of driving while distracted, and any number of driving-related issues.

But actually, that’s not the big issue. And believe me, there is one. Fortunately I’ve recently solved it for myself.

So take a quick look at how I do the drive and talk and you can decide if this works for you as well.

What’s your showstopper? Are there any things that you’re just too overwhelmed to try? Things that you know would make your videos real sing if only you could (fill in the blank). Let me know below!

Got something really special for you coming later this week. I was inspired by all your comments a few weeks ago on the blog and have been working on some “Video Hacks” based on what you told me. Not quite ready to discuss what my definition of a video hack is, but please look for something from me around Friday…

    24 replies to "Driving While Filming – How to do the “Drive and Talk”"

    • Bill G.

      Hi Steven,

      How about adding a little excitement to your ‘driving in the car’ video? Something like a police chase scene or a drive by shooting? At the very least, you could include a ‘road rage’ scene where you get into a fist fight with another motorist. Or you could cruise over to the ‘funky’ side of town and chat with a few hookers.

      I know I’d like to see that!

    • Steven Washer

      Um…thanks for the suggestions, Bill.

    • Steve Falter

      Perfect timing, Steve! I just shot my first “One Minute Guitar Lesson” last week, in the car, and needed a way to improve it. My plan is to shoot and post one each week and you were the inspiration.
      http://www.stevefaltermusic.com/?p=2128

      By the way, I picked up a Joby GripTight with GorillaPod Stand for about $15 on Amazon.

      Thanks!

      • Steven Washer

        Talk about taking massive action. Way to go, Steve! And that Joby should come in handy for finding little nooks and crannies to hold onto.

        • David P

          I know a guy who shoots video while he’s driving down a highway and he uploads these to his YouTube account and they get tons of views because, like yours here, they have good content in them. But, unlike yours, he has his camera stuck somewhere on the driver’s side (window I think).
          The only thing I’d add here is how about the adding some details as to how to mount the camera and add the mic for great sound quality. I think that would complete the picture nicely. Love your vids Steve. My wife and I enjoy watching them during our lunch breaks together.

          • Steven Washer

            You know, I thought about showing how I secured the camera, but this was a VERY spontaneous shoot. I didn’t plan it much at all and that would have required me to think more than I really wanted to. 🙂

            I can tell you that the audio quality was largely due to post-processing as I did not use a mic other than the one on the iPhone. Yep, it’s summer time and Steve’s become a slacker!

            Thanks for that detail about watching with your wife during lunch. Much appreciated!

    • Steve Falter

      By the way, I learned, when shooting with my smartphone, to have the record button on the right, or else the video will be upside down on anything other than your smartphone (it auto rotates).

    • Jaime

      I hate to be a downer but, I really can’t think of a more pointless place to shoot a video (unless you’re an expert chauffeur). There are a host of problems:
      – imprecise (and often unflattering) camera angles dictated by the height of your dashboard
      – monotonous road noise
      – changing light
      – distractions that make sentences come out all weird
      – an environment that does nothing to reinforce your expertise in any way and probably just pulls your viewers’ attention away from your message and creates distracting questions like “Is that a highway? Does he drive a truck or a sedan? Maybe I should shoot a video while driving — except I don’t have a car… Is it worth borrowing one?”

      • Steven Washer

        To each his own, Jaime. Many people will shoot videos in their cars despite the potential downsides that I cover in the video and in your list. This is simply about a way to minimize the problems.

    • Sandra Zimmer

      Hi Steve

      You made me smile all the way through this video! Your style of speaking is so easy and charming. Loved this idea as I often think of ideas while driving.

      Sandra Zimmer

      • Steven Washer

        Thanks, Sandra! It’s fun to do this, though I don’t think I’ll do a lot of them. Still, as a way for people to get to know you from a slightly different perspective, I think if you do it carefully it can be kinda cool!

    • Michael Gorman

      I have noticed a few marketers using this technique Steven – a U.K lady name of Sarah Staar often shoots a video in her car – drives for a minute then pulls over, so it is definitely effective. The endless quest to entertain your clients invites all kinds of novel video ideas. What do you think of these vodeo production applications that have come onto the market recently-like VideoFX and Easy Sketch Pro?
      Cheers

      • Steven Washer

        Back in prehistoric times there was a meme that went like this: If you put a thousand monkeys in a room and gave them a typewriter, how long would it take for them to stumble onto writing the collected works of William Shakespeare?

        These new production applications are yet another attempt to use a dumb way to get to a smart goal. There is no reason to believe that you can replace the human being with an animation. There is no reason to believe that video production, like writing, can be replaced by a computer program.

        This is how these programs are mostly being positioned, so 99% of their buyers will be just as disappointed in their results as the frustrated monkeys in the writer’s room.

        However, if you look at the program as a kind of word processor, then it takes on a more helpful role. Just as word processors have replaced typewriters, better software can replace clunkier ways of creating animation.

        But animation, like novel writing, is an art form best left to the pros or the highly motivated who do it because they absolutely love it for its own sake. Almost anyone can learn it, but by the time you learn it, you ARE a pro.

    • Lucien Vaillancourt

      I like the idea of driving videos Steve. I use them to show neighborhoods and area attractions to people considering moving into the area. My method is slightly different in that I start parked for the intro and then change the view to the outside for the tour. I think a car is something most people can relate to and feel comfortable in. It also creates a more intimate feel just as if you are actually sitting in the car with the person on video.

      By the way, I found myself expecting to see little Stevie in the back seat continually asking “are we there yet”. Great stuff as always Steve. Appreciate all you do.

      • Steven Washer

        Great idea, Lucien! It reminds me a little bit of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. So even Jerry Seinfeld has found this concept riveting.

        You do know that Stevie is restricted to the virtual world, right? If he ever makes it out into the sunshine, heaven help us all! 🙂

    • Duane Hoffbauer

      I seem to have a problem with glare/reflection in my eyeglasses, from the 3 point lighting, almost all the time.
      There is a spot that when I check the video that doesn’t glare back to the camera. But its almost impossible to know where and hold that head position, plus it make a person look rigid and not in the moment. Steve what can I do? 🙂

      • Steven Washer

        Three are lots of things you can do.

        One key to getting rid of glare is to raise the lighting instrument as high as you can. Also raise the camera up a bit more so that it’s tilting down at you.

        Something else you can try is using bounce light off a foam core or very reflective white posterboard. That way you’re literally lighting the scene with ambient light rather than directed light.

        Adding a non-reflective coating to the glasses will often work. You can also tilt the earpieces of the glasses up so that the lens tilts down a little more.

        All of these are somewhat dependent on the level of prescription and size of the lens, but you should be able to find something in this vein that will work.

    • James Stuart

      Hi Steve there was one element missing from this video and that is… How do you position the camera so it doesn’t rattle or pickup any excess noise as you’re driving??? Thanks for all you share,

      James…

      • Steven Washer

        So to give yourself maximum choices, first encase your iPhone in an Otterbox. The next best alternative would be any sort of rubberized case. And finally, if you just can’t swing an enclosure, use a rubber band. You need this kind of stickiness so that the camera stays where you place it. The principle is to wedge it in wherever it goes.

        In this video, it was wedged in between the driver’s window and the windshield. This is also what reduces the vibration. Excess noise is not heard if the windows are closed.

        Every vehicle is different in the areas it allows you to create wedgies, so you’ll have to figure out where that is for your car.

        So only one element missing? I guess I’m batting .400! 🙂

        • James Stuart

          Thanks Steve 🙂

    • James

      Hi Steven,
      Props for your final solution.
      I remember watching a similar video a guy did that recently went viral on fb.
      Supposedly he’d was so overcome by passion for his topic he had already pulled off to record his piece to camera.
      .
      As I watched it, though, I and I’m sure many others had a lot of respect he wasn’t trying to juggle recording and driving.
      Last thing anyone of us really ought want to do is record a cautionary tale cum Darwin Award for how we ended our days and possibly those of innocents because we underestimated the serious business of steering a ton of metal through our world of fragile fellow mortals.

      • Steven Washer

        Absolutely, James! Besides, the posthumous shame of having your legacy be a Darwin Award is just too awful to consider. 🙂

    • Eddie Oxedine

      I plan on doing some video in my truck but I don’t have a smartphone I will be using canon rebel and I would like to place it on the right side . Looking as if I am talking to a passenger . By the way I signed up for your course months ago but I’ve been dragging my feet but that is about to change and start a blog that will help others mostly people over 50.

      • Steven Washer

        Glad to hear that, Eddie. I believe there are not nearly enough people talking to those over 50!

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