How to tell a story with Becki + Chris

In episode 2 of YouTube Masters, an educational series of outstanding creators for creators, the photography and videography duo Becki + Chris decompose the narrative aspect of film production. Watch them take a behind-the-scenes look at their creative process and show how to draw from your life experiences to create an engaging story for your viewers.

We are Becki and Chris from the YouTube channel, Becki and Chris. We do lifestyle vlogs, helicopter videos, home decor videos, photo and video tutorials, FPV drones. We don’t really have any niches, but we do like to tell stories.

We posted a short film on our YouTube channel called The city that changed our lives and the film is a bit about the perception of one’s own life through the lens of social media.

We’ll get you started to finish how we created the whole movie, and hopefully by the end of this video you have a better idea of ​​what our process for creating videos for YouTube is like.

Chris: To The city that changed our lives, in fact, we have drawn from our own experience. In short, we moved from St. John’s, Newfoundland, on the east coast of Canada, to the west coast of Canada, in Vancouver. We went because I had to finish the last year of training for my job. I had a job in a row to get home to Newfoundland.

Unfortunately, while we were there, this job offer was revoked. The general theme was that my extracurricular activities seemed to outweigh my dedication to my main profession. I think a lot of that was based on what people at home perceived through social media.

That was the impetus to make this film. Really show people that not everything is lost. And while it looks like a dark moment, there’s always a silver lining.

Becki: Chris and I actually returned to Vancouver for the first time in four years.

Chris: We didn’t plan on doing this piece until we headed to Vancouver.

Becki: I was crying and I thought, “I think we need to make a video.” Now you know why we got it and what happened to us. Let’s go to the making of the film.

The first thing we will talk about is history. Every good story has a beginning, a middle and an end. So what does that mean?

The beginning is kind of a joke of what’s going on during this video. The center is the plot, so as the story progresses, what is happening. And the end or conclusion is how this story ends. This is the recipe for a good story.

Chris: A part of all these pieces (the beginning, the middle and the end) should be a takeaway or a “lesson” that you have learned or that your viewer has learned, and in this video the two points we were trying to bring to home were: 1) That your life is actually very different from what it looks like on social media and 2) That good things can happen from the darkest moments of your life.

The graphic script

Becki: Writing a brief focus statement for this film really helped us gather our ideas. We had our story uncovered and what the takeaway food was: the next thing we did was develop a storyboard. We wrote a couple of rough notes about what the video would be about, some discussion points, and then I drew a really terrible storyboard about how this story was going to flow from beginning to end.

As long as you understand the script, that’s all that matters … I referred to this script a lot when I was preparing the [day-in-the-life] sequence. I couldn’t remember exactly what I wanted to put where, so I could reference this fact knowing: I need a close-up consent … I knew I had to shoot it. Just like when I put the lines in a frame, [I knew] which was going to be a sequence of multiple clips. I knew I didn’t need just one clip, I needed three to five clips for the sequence for it to work.

Chris: When developing a screenplay, you don’t have to be a top-notch artist. It does not have to be representative of what the final product will look like. It’s really just getting a rough description of the types of shots you need.

The narrative

Becki: Then comes the narration. We don’t do that all the time, but we did for this video.

Chris: We finished the storyboard, went back and referenced the conversation points and created a voice over the narrative or script, then used it to fill in the gaps and attract the viewer through the story.

If you haven’t seen the video, there is a sequence of drones (a continuous shot of an FPV drone) and there is a voice-over that is perfectly synchronized with the events that occur in this plane. For that, obviously, we had to do a script and it made it a lot easier for us.

Becki: Of course, the vlog part of the video was completely free, with no discussion points or anything. It was just direct documentation.

The Rough Edit

Becki: The next thing we did was work out the approximate edition. I did a lot of footage a year and had my graphic script to guide me, so I knew what clips I needed. We didn’t know storytelling was important, so we filmed absolutely everything. I had my own custom image library. I needed a picture of Chris walking with his medical bag. Unlocking the apartment door. Multiple angles of the mixing train (the train going straight, the train going sideways, detailed shots) I got them all. I took all these clips out of the folders and tagged all these folders. Therefore, the whole project is organized by date, camera or scene.

Chris: We now understand that not everyone has documented their lives. At this point, you will need to compile a list of plans and your graphic script will help you.

Becki: Let’s move on to the approximate edition. We started editing the film by putting together these mini-sequences and the main sequence of the film was the sequence of the day in life.

Chris: This was the setup for the viewer to show them what life really was like and what life was like on the internet and that set up the conflict in which someone would take it and misinterpret it.

Becki: Once we had a rough edition together, we realized that some of the scenes needed a more abstract b-roll. We can’t go to the hospital and shoot these scenes, so we decided to shoot them here in the studio. We just made closed, abstract plans to represent what [Chris] felt during the day sequence in life.

The music

Chris: The next, then, is music. Many people wonder if you choose your music first? Or do you choose it later? I don’t think there is really a right or wrong approach. For us, we usually choose it later because we are looking for a certain feeling.

Becki: Going back to this sequence of the day in life, we talked about it a lot again, but that was the main part of the video, we wanted something that was frantic, very tense and hectic. , so we looked for a clue that matched that.

Second, looking at that FPV clip, we wanted something that was cinematic, emotional, and had a structure, and we wanted it to become a slightly more upbeat song that matched what was said in the voiceover.

The voiceover

Then came the voiceover. Still audio, but this is where the story really came together. Even when we did that voice-over of Chris talking about that FPV clip, we still recorded it in the same setting as the interview so that the microphone sounded exactly the same.

Chris: Getting clean audio is about getting the microphone as close as possible to the sound source.

Becki + Chris Story

We lived two different stories in Vancouver, so we wanted our stories to be visually differentiated as well.

Becki: Our main light is the Aputure 120D with a giant Neewer box. In the background, we have the Godox SL-200W. We have the Apputure M9 which only sheds a little light on this plant. And we did a sound treatment, so we have sound blankets all the time with some sound panels around the perimeter of the microphone and the camera.

This process of filming an interview and telling a story after the fact is really helpful if your filming is unpredictable. Doing a debris interview style at the end to tell this whole story can help bring the video together.

The animation

Chris: There were some events in the video that didn’t have a real roll. How do you express that someone gets a job offer or loses a job, without really saying “I have a job!” or “I lost my job!”?

We thought it would be an opportunity for us to break the style down a bit and add some titles or some moving graphics and animations, and that was just an alternative to using b-roll.

The final edition

Becki: We had all the pieces of the puzzle, so now it was just a matter of putting these sequences together and making sure that the scenes flowed from one scene to another and that the rhythm was right throughout the video.

Chris: Then, of course, color correction and color classification: we wanted everything to look visually cohesive. Differences in coloration and classification can invoke emotions unconsciously in the viewer, so this is what we wanted to do. With the story, the editing decisions, the music track and the rating, all of that in combination is what creates that feeling, so it’s just a small part of the puzzle.

Becki: This is the whole process of creating this movie, from start to finish, and basically this is the process we use for each vlog, give or take some details.

The most important thing to really remember when making videos is history is king.

You may have the most beautiful b-roll in the world, but if your video has no story or tells no story or has any kind of value, no one will watch it.

Chris: To capture an audience and capture the viewer, you need to have some kind of story in which they are absorbed.

Becki: Many times in our vlogs we rely on funny things that happen to help convey the story or to help tell a story. All it takes is a really simple idea and then just think about the beginning, the middle, the end and the takeaway and it can really become a fun story.

See ours first episode of YouTube Masters where we chat with Yes Theory on how to find success and generate 5 million subscribers. Make sure subscribe to Musicbed’s YouTube channel if you are interested in watching more of YouTube Masters.

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