Film someone doing something, then later lay down a sound track to explain what they’re doing.  You can make a great how-to video with very little editing.  Here’s how:

First, get permission from the person or persons you’re filming, and be sure to get names so that you can credit them.  I was recently traveling in the mountains of North Carolina and visited the Mud Dabbers pottery, near Brevard.

Potter Cindy Farley kindly allowed me to video her throwing a pot that will be used to bake eggs in the oven.  Her colleague, potter Peter Mockridge, did the narration later that evening.  For the impromptu shoot I used my carry-everywhere point-and-shoot Leica D-Lux 4, which takes great HD video. I steadied my shot by bracing my forearm against a nearby shelf.

When you do an impromptu documentary shoot you may decide to keep some of the video sound track.   However, it will be easier to strip away the original sound track and replace it with a narrated track.  Try your best to film the entire action in one clip.

Next, prepare to record the your narration.  You could record a file on your computer using an application like Audacity.   However,  for the video in this post I recorded the narration with my Olympus LS-10, a great digital field recorder.

Start your recording.  Then click the play arrow on the video clip.  As you watch what’s happening, narrate the action.  Stop your narration recording when the video clip ends.

Open the narration file in Audacity and trim away silence at the beginning and end of the file.  You now have a sound track that will sync perfectly with the video track.

In your video editing application open your video clip and ungroup the video track and sound track.  This will allow you to delete the original sound track.  Delete it.  Then, in the empty space lay in the narrated track.  Match up the beginning of the narration with the first action in the video.  This should not be difficult, since the length of the video and narrated track should be almost identical.  You can now regroup the video with the sound track so that you can drag both on the timeline as a unit.

Insert title clips for the beginning and end of the film.  Voila!  You have made a quick how-to video with very little editing!  View my example below.


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