5 Lessons I Learned When Beginning Recipe Videos on Adobe Premiere Pro
As a food blogger, I have a love/hate relationship with Adobe Premier Pro right now. Mostly because it has taken up 21 of the past 48 hours of my life trying to produce a recipe video. This isn't my first rodeo producing a recipe video. I published this Carolina Kale Mason Jar Salad video last week using APP (Adobe Premiere Pro). Yet, for whatever reason this week it was like I had to re-learn the software all over again.
My assumption was, "I've already made 1 recipe video, I'll be much better at it this time". Wrong! The kale salad recipe was 5 ingredients and minutes to put together. I did text titles during each step of the kale salad recipe, but there was significantly less work than my upcoming recipe video. It's not even that the recipe is much harder, but it does take a little more direction/clarifying in this video versus the last.
Boy, oh boy, did I learn a few hard lessons over the past week, friend. If you're considering diving into the exciting, rewarding, yet CHALLENGING world of recipe videos with Adobe Premiere Pro, I've got 5 lessons I learned to share with you.
The 5 beginner lessons learned from editing recipe videos on Adobe Premiere Pro:
1 • Just because you've nailed Lightroom + Photoshop does NOT mean premiere pro will come naturally.
Okay, I've been shooting recipes and editing them using Photoshop & Lightroom for about a year. I've got my editing formula down. I know most of the editing tools and how to navigate around each application like the back of my hand. I realize Premiere Pro is a video editing software. However, I thought surely I'd be able to recognize at least a few of the tools to get me started - right? Nope! Well, sorry, I did recognize the Text tool, Hand tool, and the Select tool (after a few misuses of other tools).
Just because you've gotten really good at your editing process in Lightroom and/or Photoshop doesn't mean that you'll pick up Premiere Pro easily. I don't know, you might be a super genius and figure it out in a second. I hope that happens for you... but it probably won't.
Bottom line: Invest some time (and potentially money) in learning Adobe Premiere Pro. I spent a LOT of time watching video after video of how to use APP. I watched the basic 101 videos, the "what to do when (XYZ) goes wrong" videos, and everything in-between. Let me tell you, the time I put into learning how to use APP has been essential to me actually producing a video. If I hadn't watched several "how-to" videos, then I'd probably still be tinkering with choppy clips on the timeline and trying to understand what the heck a "bin" is.
Invest time learning. Whether that looks like a course, free youtube videos or having an experienced friend come over to show you, just get some guidance before diving in. Trust me, you'll thank yourself in the long run. I personally took the route of both free YouTube videos AND followed a video editing course within Food Blogger Pro. This course was worth it's weight in gold to me. They give you a step-by-step walk-through of how to import your clips, essential editing tools, and exporting. PLUS they talk about video pre-production planning which is an incredibly important part of filming recipe videos. I could not recommend this online learning and community platform more.
2 • A great video will start with great footage.
Long before you've sat down at the computer, you'd better make sure you have great footage to work with before putting in a second of editing time. It's sort of like cooking with bad wine that you'd never drink, but think it's fine for cooking. If you take half-hearted video footage with bad lighting or the color scheme doesn't make sense, no amount of editing will turn your footage into a great video. In fact, you'll put a lot more work into editing, trying to make the video look good. You should think about how you want your video to flow in it's final form before filming. Then, take steps to ensure the video flow & angels make sense from the start. For example, if you're going for an overhead shot, you wouldn't want to make your recipe from a weird angle or the left or right of the frame. Overhead shots are engaging because of the arms & hands making the recipe from the bottom center of the frame. It looks like we ourselves could be making the recipe.
My first recipe video I made, I was filming the recipe the entire time with my hands at an awkward angle on playback. It was comfortable for me to make the recipe so I wasn't in the way of the tripod, but it looked terrible when I played back the footage.
Bottom line: The hard work should be done before you import your first clip into Adobe Premiere Pro. it takes solid, thorough pre-video planning & good footage to make a great recipe video. Make a checklist of ingredients & props you need and have them handy before filming. Also, sketch out a timeline and think about what text you want to display on the screen when filming each step of the recipe.
3 • It will take A LOT of time to produce your first few videos.
Have coffee handy in the morning, water during the day, and a glass of wine/beer (or both, in a cocktail) nearby at night. You're going to need it. You'll spend a LOT more time than you'd expect editing your first few videos. Since you're learning a new program, it's going to take hours of work to produce a video you're excited to publish. It's not a bad thing! It's just a thing to consider when planning your content schedule.
Bottom line: If you're new to video and Adobe Premiere Pro, then I would personally recommend carving out 3-4 days of learning/editing/tinkering with your first few videos. I know that sounds like a lot, but you can streamline the process. For example, I'd use one day to import & organize media, another day to cut down clips and organize them on the timeline, then another to add text and any music/effects. Then, you won't be so stressed and get instant burnout of the whole process (like I'm trying to avoid right now :) ). This way, you'll see steady progress and get excited to publish your work.
4 • Think about all the extras besides your recipe & the video footage.
What goes into a recipe video isn't just the footage & some editing. No, no, my friend. There are so many other things to consider such as: the text fonts you want to appear overtop each directional step, do you want to do an intro, how about music in the background? AUDIO editing eats up a TON of time in Premiere Pro. I'm sure other editing softwares require a lot of playing around with as well. However, because of the many control & editing options Adobe Premiere Pro gives you, there are a lot of controls to get lost with. There are 3 or 4 different audio panels to adjust certain parts of your clips in Adobe Premiere Pro. I would honestly dedicate an entire day or work session to audio when just learning APP for recipe videos. You will need sufficient time to learn and edit the way you want.
If you do an intro clip of yourself, you've go to think about matching up your audio with the video. Despite 18 tries, I still managed to mess up one part of the best take I had. I was talking quickly and I needed to edit a part out. That took my approximately an hour of tinkering. An HOUR of my life trying to create a smooth cut-out of my flub (see: lesson #2 - you just can't perfect bad footage through editing).
I personally love music in the background of a video. However, when you want to add music into your videos, that's another HUGE item to consider. I spent 3-4 hours learning about royalty-free music. I learned what advertised "free music" really meant and then what licensing music gets you. That's an entire blog post/conversation on it's own (there are many helpful ones out there).
Bottom line: there are SO many extra components to editing recipe videos that you don't even think about in the beginning (or at least I didn't). Have you considered audio? Intro clips? Music? These items work beautifully in Adobe Premiere Pro, but they take a LOT of time to learn. Consider reading up on royalty free music and think about how involved you want to be with audio.
5 • Consider the overall investment and plan accordingly.
Not just the money, but the time and energy recipe videos will take. I personally think the Adobe Premiere Pro is priced pretty fairly. If you're looking for a professional-quality video, then APP has the features to make that happen. No, it isn't cheap, but again, you're asking for professional quality. You'll invest a little more to get the best quality. Aside from financially, learning Adobe Premiere Pro for food videos takes a lot of time. It takes time to learn and produce a video you're happy with if you don't have a background in film editing.
Bottom line: If you're thinking about making recipe videos on Adobe Premiere Pro - go for it! I'm not writing this to discourage you from using this amazing program to make amazing videos. I'm just relaying the lessons I've learned over the past few weeks in hopes it can help. Again, it's not a bad thing that it takes time to learn how to use it. It's simply something to consider and plan accordingly. This way, you're not frustrated with the program or yourself. Really invest the time in learning about Premiere Pro and how to use it before importing clips. Then sign up for the free trial and play around with the tools and features yourself.
I chose to learn Adobe Premiere Pro because I fell in love with the creative cloud photo editors. I'd watched beautiful videos made with Premiere Pro and just got the "I'm going for it!" attitude. Since I was familiar with the other Adobe programs, I thought I'd continue with what (I thought) was familiar to me. Though it's certainly been a challenging, late-night learning period, I'm really happy with the final videos. Once I push past the frustration with myself, I start enjoying the editing process.
The thing about Adobe Premiere Pro is that you have so much control. This is an amazing thing for seasoned video editors, but a tough thing for newbies. There are a lot of customization options which are both awesome and overwhelming at the same time.
I'm reminding myself that practice makes perfect. Now that I've finally started learning my way around Adobe Premiere Pro, I'm excited about the possibilities. Practice & progress over perfect, right? That's a continual lesson I'm having to live by in this food blog learning days. If I can do it, you can do it. Take these lessons into consideration and start prepping for your next great recipe video!
Are you considering starting recipe videos with Adobe Premiere Pro? What are your fears or curiosities about using it? I'm an open book! Comment below and let me know!