Tips For Video Success Without The Help Of Movie Stars

video success

Looking for video success?  Video is a fresh and exciting direction for bloggers, and the Dash Kitten Crew have some great tips to get you working movie magic!  

You can make good video, using anything from your mobile cellphone to a fancy video camera. The rage for video is hitting social media in a big way and, with a bit of preparation, you can walk the video walk with total confidence. 

There is no steep learning curve – just common sense preparation and a dash of planning. So, don’t be intimidated by the high production values of professional outfits – your aim is quality video values for you and your audience.  Let’s get started!

The Crew’s Top Tips for Video Success

Know your camera

How long it takes to turn on and start working? How much light do you need? Can you use it? Read the manual!

Know how to edit your video.

Polish comes with editing. No, it’s not hard. Learn to trim video footage and, if you need one, add a simple soundtrack. For music, we recommend Incompetech for a wide variety of styles, royalty free under a Creative Commons licence.

Know what kind of video you are shooting

Is it a homestyle vignette, a cat’s adventures, a puppy falling over its paws, a product review, or a sophisticated travelogue? 

Harvey from UHARS from Marjorie Dawson on Vimeo.

Make it a quickie!

Check out our sample movie. Harvey’s simple video was shot and uploaded complete with music in 10 minutes it’s not perfect, but it captured a precious moment. Live video this isn’t but it is close enough. The upside is that your control of the end result reflects better on you, or your brand.  Harvey didn’t go viral, but this video gained him a lot of friends after his ear surgery.

Plan ahead for impact 

For your brand or blog, you may review a product. Where to start?  Here’s an example – a pet garment review. Think of one of those gorgeous cat couture creations, or a practical pups’ winter garment.  Take a couple of long shots, garment in motion, several close-ups of details, and finish with a full length shot. Done in 5 minutes, trim (edit) using an app like Vee, and upload to social media. Immediate, fun and exciting for your followers and friends.

 Can we hear you?

Whether you use the camera’s audio, or a special microphone make sure the sound is clear.

Don’t Wobble

Even professional GoPro users know there is only so much exciting ‘wobble’ a viewer will tolerate before clicking elsewhere.

Cheat like a pro for video success!

If you have access to iMovie you can use their ‘trailer’ format to create a dynamic instant mini movie. (If you are a Windows user, we would welcome your beginner recommendations.) The “Arthur’s Movie” video below was shot on an iPhone 4S then loaded into iMovie and edited using an iMac. iMovie is also available in cut down format for iPhones.

I used the iMovie ‘trailer’ feature because this gave professional polish. The pre-set trailers come ready to use, you just drag and drop video and images into the structured format. They are set up complete with music, royalty free thanks to Apple. Arthur is FIV+ and was looking for a home; I was aiming for a positive vibe and the trailer worked a treat – see what you think.

Oh and Arthur? He found his forever home with a family who adore him!

Arthur’s Movie from Marjorie Dawson on Vimeo

 Self Presentation Video Tips

Don’t just sit there, no matter how important or exciting your message is! You can record a voiceover and present your message, keeping viewer’s interest by cutting between you and the cats, a city view, your product or other interesting visuals…………

  • Sit in good light – or lighten your footage when you edit.
  • Video success means being prepared, so have a mini script or list of ideas
  • Keep your background, and clothing neutral unless you have a specific idea or brand you are promoting.
  • Tell your ‘story’. Have a beginning, a middle, an end, including your Call to Action, if you have one.
  • Have fun, be relaxed and remember – be yourself, your blog, your brand.
  • Don’t UM, AH or ER – EVERRRRRRRR. It makes the brightest most intelligent person sound awful!

Exceptions – OK we have one of those too!

Talking to the camera is boring for the viewer, unless you really have a strong, structured and specific concept. This lady is seller for a company called Scentsy. She generates excitement with product ‘unboxings’ similar to the pet blog posts for cat and dog gift boxes. Note the neutral background, the clear light and although it’s not a perfect studio setup – she nails her message perfectly.

 OK everyone, now grab that camera, your smartphone or fancy video setup, and go shoot for some video success! Use our tips, and let us know when you upload your amazing movies online! If you need video editing app advice  – check our post here.

Silver Kitten
Tech Editor at

Dash Kitten Silver Kitten the Business Cat

Sart Making a Pet Video


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38 thoughts on “Tips For Video Success Without The Help Of Movie Stars

  1. Christine Caplan

    Oh thank you for this! I finally went and bought a tripod so I could get rid of the shaking piece — so worth it. What I need help with is editing. I find it so time consuming. Thanks so much for the music recommendation too – I typically upload my videos to you tube and embed them into my post. Do you have any editing recommendations for Android users?


  2. Tenacious Little Terrier

    I need to work more on video. I have a tripod that can wrap itself around things so it doesn’t have to be on the ground necessarily.


  3. The Daily Pip

    The wobbling thing is challenging for me! Actually, my eleven year old daughter is quite the video editor. I’ve included a few videos lately all of which have been shot and edited by her. LOL.

    Love Harvey’s video with the flowers. I’m going to tweet this as well. Some great tips.


  4. Dear Mishu

    The videos are really helpful to demonstrate these techniques. I found the advice on setting up your shot especially useful!


  5. Rebecca at MattieDog

    Great tips – the don’t shake is harder than it sounds! We have invested in a little tripod, even if we’re shooting on a counter! Thanks for these!


  6. Kitty Cat Chronicles

    These are great tips, and especially timely for me since one of my blogging goals with my accountability partner was to create a video this week. I put it up on the blog today, which you already saw. I used iMovie… nothing fancy. I think it turned out well, just wish the lighting were better. Making videos can be intimidating for me, so I will file these tips away for the next one. Thanks, furiends!
    P.S. Loved the videos of Harvey and Arthur!


  7. Aimable Cats

    Knowing your camera or camera app is important. When I was taking video of Cyril the Virile Feral last week, I discovered the camera on my phone had a fourth zoom setting — I knew it had three, but did not remember the fourth.


  8. Nichole

    Thanks for the great tips – and adorable videos! Happy filming!


  9. Beth

    I haven’t tried making a video, but these tips make it seem less daunting. I am so glad that Arthur has a family to love now.!


  10. Sonja

    Interesting. WE have both artistic video of our travels and “talk to” tips and tricks videos. The talk to videos get more traction. But we enjoy making the artistic ones better. Also lighting lighting lighting.


    1. Sonja

      Oh and … ARTICULATE! and slllllooooowwwww down. THAT one is key. 🙂


  11. kelly

    Fantastic information! I’ve always concentrated on taking photos, but want to venture out into video as well, thanks for the tips and I may just follow up with you on this.


  12. erin the Cat (Princess)

    I love this post, so informative and inspiring! I do feel that I could now do a video too… if only a small one. Not a Spielberg production though. MOL purrs ERin


  13. Malaika Fernandes

    This could not have come at a better time because i am considering doing a video series. Thank you for all the tips.


  14. Robin

    Your timing with this post is great! I have been working on perfecting my video skills. Working in front of the camera is easy for me, it’s behind the camera that is taking a little while. No one wants to see me, they want to see the cats. My biggest issue is the wobble part. I have hand tremors, so I’m working to get the right equipment to help cover that up a bit (hand-holding the camera is a no-no for me in video). I’ve been having my husband do a bit of the filming, but he doesn’t “see the shot” as well as I do. It is a learning process for both of us! Thank you for the tips!


  15. Sweet Purrfections

    Great tips! It took me a couple of years before I realized I had to turn my iPhone sideways to get a video that filled the screen. I also forget to turn off the TV. MOL


    1. Dash Kitten

      Mostly yes ladies, but for mini movies in some apps, like Vine, you hold the camera in portrait mode, that is upright, as if making a call. It’s worth checking to see how an app prefers to be used when you look to try out a new one.


  16. Susan FriedlandSmith (@SaddleSeeksHorse)

    My husband wants me to use more video on my blog. He knows how to edit. I am a simpleton. He just told me tonight he got the updated version of Camtasia. I’m a little overwhelmed as I first got into blogging to write, not do video. Although I like putting quick videos on my Instagram (and they get more views than a picture). All that to say, you blog post is timely. 🙂


  17. Talent Hounds

    We love making videos and it is becoming more and more important. They add credibility and allow people to really get to know you or your pets. I get tons of great footage on my phone and other cameras and use iMovie or Final Cut. Sound can be deadly- I had an issue with my mic connection at Global Pet Expo and at another event and did not realize until I went to edit- SO annoying as too late.


  18. FiveSibesMom

    We love doing videos and photo slideshow videos, some on my cell, but mainly with a videocam and iMovie! You have some great tips here, especially making sure the sound is clear (which can be a bit wonky on a cell if you accidentally cover the mic with your hand!) And I so agree that talking to the camera is very borrring…although there are a few who do do it well!


  19. Maureen

    Wonderful tips! I havent delved into video yet, but these are tips I’m going to save for later!


  20. Beth Patterson

    Thanks for these tips. I am completely intimidated by video, but I know I should give it a try.


  21. Paul Kirhagis

    what sort of tips do you have for the “cell phone camera” videographers in the crowd?


  22. The Daily Pip

    I love both of your videos! The music works well and they both definitely tell a story. I’m determined to start using video more. I don’t know much about it, but my 11 year old daughter is a whiz at editing, etc. Hoping she can teach her old mom some new tricks.


  23. Brian Frum

    We never are too cooperative with the video thingy, we want to move around too much. Great tips though, I may have to try again!


  24. Tenacious Little Terrier

    I keep saying I need to make more videos so thanks for the tips. I have some training of Mr. N to film!


  25. The Island Cats

    Great tips. With Windows, we use Movie Maker to edit videos, add title, credits and other fancy stuff.


  26. The Swiss Cats

    Thank you for those useful tips ! We need to work more with videos. Purrs


  27. Joely Smith

    Great tips! I still shoot videos on my phone lol – I mean it works alright but video’s are NOT my forte yet your suggestions and tips still help TONS! Thank you!


  28. Hindy Pearson

    I keep saying I have to learn to make videos, but never do because it seems a lot more techie than I want to know about. Your post is full of great tips, and it certainly sounds easy, but I think I’ll keep procrastinating.


  29. Cathy Armato

    Video is definitely something I need to work on , big time. I’m literally at the bottom on this. I can shoot a video with my Smartphone and my SLR camera but that’s it. Trimming, any kind of editing, etc. are all way above my “pay grade” for now. It’s on my ever growing To Learn How list!


  30. Bryn Nowell

    Great points! Thanks for sharing. I can’t emphasize the importance of knowing your camera’s specifics and abilities. It’s huge to ensure success and feel like you’re the one who’s in control!


  31. da tabbies o trout towne

    guys…grate mooveez…each one, N harvey…looks like we can say happee
    spring two ewe & yurz !! 984 paws UP !!! thanx for sharin theeze tipz

    heerz two a pineapple fish kinda week oh end ~~~~~~~ insert heartz


  32. Nichole

    We haven’t really gotten into videos… just some quick Instagram clips here and there. Thank you for the great tips!


  33. Three Chatty Cats

    This is a great and informative post! I really need to start doing videos and your post has inspired me to try. I will definitely be putting these tips to good use. I love the trailer you put together, too!


  34. mommakatandherbearcat

    This is great! I know videos are popular and it’s on my list of things to add to our blog. I’ve been a bit overwhelmed at the thought – but these are great tips! Thank you.


  35. Charles Huss

    I learned another lesson on my last video. Use manual focus when possible. My camera went crazy the other day and decided to randomly change the area of focus every few seconds.


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