Technique: How To Film YouTube Rants

Pissed off about something, someone or the world at large? Well, in today’s world, there’s nothing more cathartic than taking to YouTube and unleashing. If you want to make your rant rise above majority of psychotic escapades online, here a few choice tips to make you standout.
youtube rant video technique

Look The Part

You’re the star of this production, even if it’s a rant about fire retardant pajamas, you should look the part. Comb your hair, dress
appropriately, and For The Love Of Gawd, rub the sleep out of your eyes. No one, and by no one I mean even your mother, wants to look at that…

You may be ranting, but take some pride in your appearance. It goes a long way.

Dress Your Set

Whatever is in the camera’s view is your set. Again, just like no one wants to see half your breakfast on your face, they certainly don’t want to see your dirty bra hanging from a lamp in the background. Yes, even Chelsea Handler removes yesterday’s vodka-soaked dresses from the floor of her Netflix set. Clean up the joint and “dress the set” with decor and props that convey your rant’s theme or underlying message.

fluorescent video lighting technique
Joe Edelman provides just one of many sources online for learning how to put together your own economical fluorescent light setup.

Lighting Is Everything

“Lighting is everything” is a film term that’s often thrown around a lot, but it’s as true today as it was during the silent era. Even basic lighting can make you look great, so why not buy a couple of nice fluorescent shop lights and place them on either side of your computer to make you pop from the background, smooth out irregular skin tone and get into the sweet spot of your computer camera’s aperture. Fluorescents provide nice soft lighting, instead of sharp shadows from incandescents, and can even be bounced off of nearby walls for even creamy effects. And they’re super cheap.

Audio-Technica was one of the first companies to debut a USB microphone

Mic Check

Using a designated, external USB mic, instead of the lousy microphone found in the pinhole next to the camera, will make all the difference. Good audio makes everything about your production better and provides a richer experience thanks to increased dynamic range. Poor audio quality, especially in a YouTube rant, gives your performance a lobotomy, even before you open your mouth. You may come up with the most hilarious monologue ever, but if your audience can’t hear you, then no one will end up watching your entire piece.

Most pro ranters place the mic as close to themselves as possible without being seen by the camera. However, if you have a nice looking mic and feel comfortable holding it, it can be a nice prop piece, provided you don’t introduce any “handling noiseSounds from your hand holding the mic being recorded” which can be distracting.

Look Your Audience In The Eye

One of the most amateurish things you can do is address your audience by looking at your computer screen, instead of your camera. The audience can tell you’re not looking directly at them, reducing the power of your delivery and resulting is less audience engagement. To help you deliver your rant directly at the camera, make a face out of paper with a cutout for the camera in one of the eyes and tape it to the front of your computer. This way you can look your audience directly in the “eye,” punching up your performance.

Do Several Takes And Edit

Just because it’s being filmed by your computer, and you’re lazy as hell, doesn’t mean that you can’t, and shouldn’t, edit your YouTube rant into a concise, dynamic and potent piece. Editing also provides another side benefit, you can marry several takes into one rip-roaring, high-energy diatribe. It’s hard to keep a bombastic tirade going, and there will be points when you lose your train-of-thought or your pace drops off. By editing several run-throughs together, you can maintain the intensity, and cut out the ineffective parts. Don’t worry about jump-cuts – cuts to the same angle at a different point in time – this can actually be an effective way to slam home your big idea, and add some comic relief by inserting funny expressions that side-comment on your topic or point.

Use Titles

If you do decide to edit your rant, use titles. Titles, or text on the screen, can be a great way to accentuate your point, provide come commentary on your topic, or even poke fun of yourself. Just don’t over do it. It will lose its effectiveness quite quickly and just end up being “letter pollution” on the screen.

Give Yourself Credit

At the end of your condemnation, give yourself credit, promote your personal brand and propel your audience into further engagement. Have you given Starbucks a nice public flogging in another video rant? Send your audience to that clip! Have a website? Push them there? Selling something? Pitch it here. And if you have some funny bloopers from the editing process, insert them here. Just make sure they are actually funny and as short as possible. Don’t consider anything longer than 10 seconds, unless the payoff is huge. And by huge, I mean laugh out loud, almost funnier than the main event.

Oh, One Last Thing

Don’t do anything distracting or disgusting during your rant. Tweaking your nipples, rubbing a booger between your fingers, and/or picking lint out of your belly-button should not be part of your rant. Your fellow Third-Graders may think it’s the funniest thing ever, but believe me, no one, except maybe your younger cousin with the wandering eye and perpetually running nose, wants to see that. And a year later, when you review the clip, you’ll cringe.

And Here’s The Kicker…

While the advice above was targeted towards YouTube Ranters, this can also apply to any video production where you’re speaking directly to your computer’s camera, including, and maybe most importantly, video conferencing. Product review or unboxing? Check. Religious sermon? Yes. Legal advice? Certainly. Eating a whole pie in one sitting? Boy howdy!

If you have any additional tips or comments, feel free to add them in the comments section below or contact us and we’ll add them.

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