Make Your Own Video!

Whether you’re making a video book review or some other video, here are some guidelines to help you put together something fun and interesting to watch.

First, you will need equipment. A camera, a computer, software, a link to the internet. Those are the basics, and you may already have everything you need to get started.

  • Digital video cameras come in all shapes and sizes now. Most newer digital cameras that are designed to take photographs also have a setting for video. Some cell phones also can take video. You can also choose a camera that is specifically designed to shoot digital video. Some cameras designed to shoot video are made so that the picture will look good, even on a big television screen. Other cameras are designed only to look good on a computer screen, or as a small part of a computer screen. Depending on what you want to do with your video, any one of these different options may be the best choice for you.
  • Any newer computer should be able to handle basic video production, provided you have the right software.
  • Software comes in various shapes and sizes too – most Windows machines now have Windows Movie Maker as part of the package when you buy the machine. Macs often come with iMovie.
  • A fast internet connection is better than a slow one.


There are some things you will want to consider while planning and making your videos. Keeping these things in mind will help your video be awesome. Or at least a little awesomer than it would have been if you had not considered them.

  • Sound – Any camera that can shoot video has a microphone – but not necessarily a good one. For better quality, invest in a microphone that can be held or clipped on. Or, record a voice-over later with a computer mic.
  • Light – If there is too much light shining towards the camera, then the person or thing you are trying to video will look like a silhouette, or take on strange colors as the camera tries to adjust.
  • Editing – Whether you’re making a “movie,” documenting an occasion, or vlogging, a little editing can go a long way. Do your best to give takes some room on either side – start recording a few seconds before, if possible, and keep recording for a few seconds afterwards.


    You can do a lot with digital photos, powerpoint slides, and other non-video media. There are several great tools available online for free and low-cost, and no doubt more will be made as time goes on.


    Adding sound to your video can give it a big boost. A voice over can be great, if your camera doesn’t have a good mic. Invest in a nice mic for your computer. You’ll need sound recording software, too. A good open source option is Audacity. Be sure to also download the LAME mp3 converter that goes with it.
    You can find great music from the public domain at the Internet Archive. You can also upload your own sound there, to make it easier to use at slideshare or elsewhere online.

    Now that you know how to make a video, do a little experiment, and record yourself talking about a book you’ve read, edit it, upload it to Youtube or somewhere, and then tell me about it!

    Here’s what you do:

    • Video yourself talking about a book.
    • Edit it to about a minute (if you can).
    • Upload it to YouTube or and tag it with “oneminutecritic”
    • Comment here, and tell me where you put it!

    Guidelines for videos:

    • Family friendly content in the video – the books you are reviewing can be anything.
    • Short (1-2minutes)

    How To Write A One Minute Review:

    5-8 sentences long is plenty. 150 words is best – over 200 and you’d have to be a speed reader to get through it in one minute. In your review, include:

    1. Title and Author.
    2. What I liked (or disliked) about the book is…
      1. A good review makes a personal connection – you’re telling us a little about yourself by saying right up front what you liked most about the book.
    3. The book is the story of…
      1. Use this part for some of the facts of the book. The plot if it has one, or it’s defining features. This type of information is like a very condensed version of what you might find on a dust-jacket. Give just enough that your audience’s interest is piqued, but leave enough out that people still need to read the book.
    4. Who would you recommend the book to?
      1. A recommendation can tie things together nicely – if the book is accessible, you might recommend it to anyone, but if it’s a tough read, you might only recommend it to fans of Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy.

    I have included a template to help write out your own review. Print out a couple of copies and write a few different reviews – that way if someone else reviews your first choice, you have a backup! We won’t stop you from reviewing the same book as someone else, but we also like to hear about lots of different books.

    Follow the link to get to the form: One Minute Critic Review Form

6 comments so far

  1. Michael Christian on

    I love your reviews!

  2. Hamilton Vuu on

    i like your vids on on youtube

  3. silvia on

    love your reviews. i found them while searching for murakami vids on youtube.

  4. JP on

    Found your site while searching for Murakami vids on youtube as well.

  5. Mead on

    Hey, OMC, love your format, thank you for this fun approach to reviewing. How about reviewing Portland Noir for a fresh challenge? I figure you’d have just four seconds for each story.

    • supercrazylibrarianguy on

      Hmmm… 4 seconds per story. Sounds like a challenge! Maybe I could three stories at a time over at!

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