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Video Making Tips

Started by GbH, 10 July, 2011, 12:02:26

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I'm certainly no expert when it comes to video and film stuff, but when watching other kendama videos, there's certainly been times when I've noticed small things that could have significantly improved the end result.  In general, here's a few obvious ones...

1.  Position the camera so that the trick can be clearly seen (unless there's some 'art-y' reason for doing otherwise).  Yeah, this should be obvious, but it doesn't always happen.

2.  Make sure that the kendama can be easily seen against clothing and the background.  Choosing a lighter colour ball can often help here.

3.  Again, to make sure things are properly visible, consider what's going on in regards to lighting and shadows.

4.  Think carefully about the location/background that you're using.  Lots of situations can work well, but others can be distracting.  Don't be afraid to experiment, but be prepared to say to yourself "no, that doesn't work".

5.  If you're going to use it at all, choose background music that matches or enhances the mood of what you do.  Kendama tricks often involve a lot stillness or 'freeze' positions, so consider that in relation to the music.  For juggling/manipulation type videos in general, it's usually best to avoid songs with lyrics, as this can be distracting if they don't relate to what you're doing or feeling.

6.  Think carefully about how you use single trick scenes.  That is, you start the camera, hit one trick, then stop the camera.  Yes, this is probably the most obvious and useful way of filming kendama tricks and there's nothing necessarily wrong with it.  Except, use this format too much and your 'edit' is likely to start looking tedious and predictable very quickly.  It's also a sign that the trick was maybe a one-off fluke, rather than something you've spent time learning to do*.  Using trick sequences is one way to avoid this, but I'm sure you can find many other ways keeping things interesting.

7.  When cutting from one scene to another, try make sure that each scene looks distinctly different.  Use a different background, change camera angles - I'm sure you know the sort of thing I mean.

8.  Think a bit about yourself - who you are or, perhaps, how you'd like to be seen.  Making a kendama video doesn't necessarily just have to be about documenting the technical process of landing a trick, it can be made to be fun to watch, too.  Things like style, emotion, surprise, timing and humour are all there to be used.   

9.  Finally, don't make videos that are longer than they need to be.

Hope this helps.  Please feel free to add more.  I'm sure that there's lots of things that I've missed.


* Maybe this doesn't matter.  I'm sure every video maker has done this, at least a bit, after all.  However, it's much more impressive to see a clip where skill cannot be questioned in this way - which tends to mean using sequences.


Good stuff, Guy. Stickied!

Here are some tips for compressing video:


Good tips, I'll try and add a few of my own as well...

10. Slow motion can be a useful tool for highlighting the more important or technical parts of a trick. It can also be the easiest way to make an edit unbearable to watch if it is not use correctly. When adding slomo parts make them short! Don't make your whole 20 second long tama grip sequence slomo, just cut the clip and slow down the short time that the Ken is in the air for that last two turn lighthouse (for example). Basically, use your discretion, when used correctly slomo can be great.

11. Cut your clips appropriately. I notice this most with the end if clips. Once you've hit the trick and maybe jumped in the air for joy it's time for the next clip! Don't include the footage of you sauntering out the side if the frame, grabbing a snack, checking your email and then finally turning the camera off. All the while we've been left to examine footage of the paint job on your backyard fence...

12. Don't use the same trick more than once! This goes mainly for beginner level players.  I know you're excited you just hit bird to spike for the first time ever, I was too at one point. Don't put 4 clips of you doing it in your edit though. That's just not interesting to watch. Pick the best clip of the trick!

13. They're called 'edits' for a reason! Put a little time and thought into the order of your tricks and the transitions between clips. A great way to give your edit some flow is to cut between clips to the beat of the music (try lining up that big spike at the end of the trick with the beat too!).

14. Intro and closing are key! Artsy shots to start an edit off are nice, but keep them appropriately long. As for tricks, it goes without saying that the best trick you do should usually be the last in the edit. Try to start with a banger as well, it'll grab people's attention and make them want to see what other tricks are in your quiver...

That's it for now. I was actually thinking about making a video about how to make a good edit sometime. If anyone on here follows kendama stuff on Facebook you'll know why. It seems there are more young American teens posting first edits asking for sponsorships than there are people actually watching these edits...

[edited for one small typo - Alex]

Bad Wolf

Ah yes, great information!  It just so happens that i'm reading this while preparing to edit!

I'd like to add my two-cents as well:
When it comes to video quality in the modern world, I feel some people are obligated to shoot in 1080p, super hi-def.  That's how I was for a while too, but when in doubt...

A. If you're worried about file-uploading, go with 720. 
B. If you want to do some slow-mo stuff, try to go with a higher FPS. (60 FPS and up should do the trick.)
C. Shooting in 60 FPS also helps in the editing stage where it will give you "more room" in the cut n' chop stages of editing.

It's my first time doing any type of video recording/editing, so not too sure how credible my advice is, haha.  But these are some basic tricks I've learned from my cinematographer friends.  Hope it helps!


Quote from: Bad Wolf on 15 October, 2012, 09:53:26B. If you want to do some slow-mo stuff, try to go with a higher FPS. (60 FPS and up should do the trick.)
C. Shooting in 60 FPS also helps in the editing stage where it will give you "more room" in the cut n' chop stages of editing.
But what if your camera doesn't shoot in 50p or 60p? If it shoots in 25/29.97 interlaced format (which most older cameras will do), then you can Deinterlace to get great 50/59.94fps footage. Here's a quick overview of how to do it on a Mac program. Other options will be available for other platforms, I'm sure.

(Tick the Double Duration box for smooth slomo)


Hello everyone! I think one of my favorite parts of watching kendama videos is the quality put in to getting some great artistic shots (late colin sanders videos and kendamaUSA-Where we are ext) along with the tricks they pull off!

So my question to you guys is: what are some good tips and tricks that come in handy when filming yourself clicking and clacking? Anyone have any good tips for the (majority?) of us who will be using iphone/consumer grade video techniques? Anyone got any cool camera positions that compliment kendama?

I personally have came across a great way to film yourself with an iphone (if you trust yourself enough)

You start recording and set the phone camera up- right underneath you and your kendama. If you line it up properly (which isnt hard) you can get some amazing footage that really shows a great perspective for technique review. I will post a video showing what i mean - ive only been playing for close to a month so bare with me if im not the best :P


IF you are using an iphone to do any filming try putting it below you while playing for some cool effects. The first trick i do when im silhouetted  is also the same trick with my iphone filming from below in the following clip.

The Void

Hi Brad,

Yeah, trying out a bunch of different camera angles is definitely a good idea.

Even the most basic camera or cameraphone these days usually has a bunch of image/quality adjustments. It's well worth getting to grips with these, as they can really make the images so much better.
I wrote a couple of articles about videography on a site that's no longer online. I still have them though, I'll try and dig them out and post them here.
If you don't want to BUY MY BOOKS 😉, then why not ask your local library to order them in, and read them for free? That would help too. Cheers!


I already  made a thread about this but i figure it would be good to add it on here where people will see it more.

Iphone users! You have a makeshift gopro in your hands!

Jailbreak your iphone and get a free tweak via cydia called CAMERATWEAK

This will allow you to set your:
Aspect Ratio
Image Quality - Up to 1080p
Framerate - 60fps
Plus UI advantages over regular camera app.

Additionally you can get wide angle lens cases for pretty cheap (mine was $20) and then you got yourself a pretty good shot! Add a cheap gorrillaclip knockoff (mine was $3) and find a way to mount it to the case and you also have a tripod.

The Void

This article was originally written in 2008 for (site now defunkt). It was written with juggling conventions in mind, but I'm sure kendama players can get something out of it too.

Making good convention videos

The Void - 26th September, 2008.

I think there are several things to think about when making a convention video.

Are you making the video for yourself, or for your potential viewers? If the former, then just make the kind of video you want to watch. Do you just like pure technical juggling? Then fine, stuff your vid full of nothing but the hard tricks. But if you think about the convention reviews that people post online, so often their convention experience is not just about the juggling - it's about the whole atmosphere and vibe of being at the convention: the people, the workshops, the games, the messing about with plastic ducks (or whatever...). Try to capture some of these kind of moments in your filming, and your video will be more likely to give a good feeling of what the convention was like as a whole, and not just show "what tricks people were doing there".

Spend some time thinking about what your soundtrack will be. If you are far-thinking enough to decide this *before* the convention, you can even set up some shots that will edit particularly well to the music. Also, try to edit to the music, rather than doing all your editing first, and then throwing some music on top of the footage. This will mean much more work, but will result in a more satisfying video.

Get a tripod. Shaky handheld footage should always be a last result.

Learn to use your camera correctly. Read the manual. Learn about manual focus, white balance, and exposure. Don't zoom in mid-shot - it will look rubbish.

Don't make people look bad. Bin that unflattering footage. Unless it's funny.
Check your titles for spelling mistakes. Twice. And make sure you've spelled people's names correctly. And check your titles for spelling mistakes too. ;-)

After you've finished editing, don't ruin it all by using poor compression. See this article in the IJDb compendium for hints on that.

And lastly, don't spend your entire convention "behind the lens" - remember to have some fun yourself too!

The Void

First published on IJDb 9/2008

Comment faire de bonnes vidéos de convention

The Void - 26th September, 2008.
Je pense qu'il y a plusieurs choses à prendre en considération avant de faire une vidéo de convention.

Pour qui fais-tu la vidéo? Pour toi-même, ou pour d'éventuels spectateurs? Si c'est pour toi, fais quelquechose que seul toi as envie de regarder. Est-ce que tu apprécie la jongle technique pure et dure? Et bien alors, n'hésites pas et ne mets dans ta vidéo que des figures balèzes. Mais quand tu vois comment les gens décrivent leurs impressions en convention, il en ressort souvent que ce n'est pas que la jongle qui compte, mais tout ce qu'il y autour, l'atmosphère, l'ambiance, les gens, les ateliers, les jeux, les délires avec des baudruches (ou quoi que ce soit d'autre...). Essaye de capturer ce genre d'instants sur film, et tu auras de bonnes chances de faire une vidéo qui représente bien la convention dans son tout, et qui ne montre pas uniquement "les figures que faisaient les gens là-bas".

Prends aussi le temps de choisir une bande-son convenable. Si tu es prévoyant, et que tu y as pensé *avant* la convention, essaye de filmer des séquences en fonction de la musique. Et quand tu rédiges, fais-le en suivant la musique, plutôt que de tout éditer et de balancer un morceau par-dessus à la fin. Cela implique plus de boulot, mais le résultat en sera d'autant plus satisfaisant.

Trouves-toi un trépied. Des images vacillantes prises à la main devraient toujours être de dernier recours.

Apprends à te servir correctement de ton caméscope. Lis le manuel. Apprends à te servir des fonctions de focus manuel, de la balance des blancs, et de l'exposition. Ne zoome pas au milieu d'un plan, ça ne ressemble à rien.

Ne montre pas les gens sous un mauvais profil. Débarrasse-toi des séquences peu flatteuses. A moins que ce ne soit comique.
Vérifie l'orthographe dans tes titres. Deux fois. Et sois sûr d'écrire les noms de gens sans faire de fautes. Et vérifie aussi l'orthographe dans tes titres. ;-)

Quand tu auras fini de rédiger, ne gâche pas tout en compressant n'importe comment. Vas lire cet article dans le compendium de l'IJDb pour apprendre comment t'y prendre.

Et enfin, souviens-toi de ne pas passer pas tout ton temps "derrière la caméra", amuse-toi aussi un petit peu!

Com fer bons vídeos de convencions

The Void - 26th September, 2008.
Crec que hi ha diversos aspectes a considerar al fer un vídeo d'una convenció.

Esteu fent el vídeo per vosaltres, o per altres potencials espectadors? Si és el primer, aleshores, feu la mena de vídeo que vosaltres voleu veure, Us agrada el malabarisme tècnic pur? Molt bé, ompliu la vostra cinta de només els trucs més difícils. Però si penseu en les ressenyes de convencions que la gent escriu a internet, sovint la seva experiència a una convenció no és només el malabarisme sinó que es sobre l'atmosfera i l'emoció pel fet de ser a la convenció: la gent, els tallers, els jocs, la gresca amb els ànecs de plàstic (o el que sigui...). Proveu de capturar aquesta mena de moments en la vostra filmació i és més probable que el vostre vídeo doni una bona impressió sobre el conjunt de la convenció i no només mostri "els trucs que feien la gent".

Dediqueu una estona a pensar quina serà la banda sonora. Si sou prou previsors per decidir-la *abans* de la convenció, fins i tot podeu preparar algunes filmacions que podran ser particularment ben lligades amb la música. Proveu també d'editar el vídeo en relació a la música, més que no fer totes les edicions primer, i després afegir la música al darrere de les imatges. Això implica molta més feina, però n'obtindreu un vídeo mot més satisfactori.

porteu un trípode. Les filmacions tremoloses fetes a mà han de ser sempre un darrer recurs.

Apreneu a usar la càmara correctament. Llegiu el manual. Aprengueu que és l'enfocament manual, el balanç de blancs i l'exposició. No useu el zoom a mitja filmació – quedarà fatal.

No feu que la gent surti malament. Llenceu les imatges desafavoridores. Sinó és que resulten gracioses.

Comproveu que els títols no tenen faltes d'ortografia. Dos cops. I assegureu-vos que escriviu correctament els noms de la gent. I també comproveu que els títols no tenen faltes d'ortografia. ;-)

Un cop heu acabat l'edició no feu malbé el resultat amb una mala compressió. Llegiu aquest article al compendium de IJDb per trobar consells al respecte.

I, per acabar, no us quedeu tota la convenció "darrera la càmara" – Recordeu-vos també de passar-ho bé!

The Void

Hvordan man laver gode kongresvideoer

The Void - 26th September, 2008.
Jeg synes, der er flere ting, man skal tage i betragtning, når man laver en konventionsvideo.

Laver du den for dig selv, eller for eventuelle seere? Hvis du laver den for dig selv, så lav den slags video kun du vil se. Tænder du på ren teknisk jonglering? Fint så, prop din video fyldt med kun de sværeste tricks. Men hvis du tænker over, hvad folk skriver på nettet, når de har været på træf. Ofte er deres oplevelse af kongressen mere end blot om selve jongleringen. Det handler mere om atmosfæren, og den stemning der er, når man er på træf: folk, workshopperne, legene, fjollerier med en gummi and (eller et eller andet...). Prøv at fange den slags øjeblikke på film, så er det mere sandsynligt, at din video giver et godt indblik i, hvordan træffet var som helhed, og ikke kun viser "de tricks, folk kunne lave derhenne".

Brug noget tid for at tænke over, hvad du skal bruge som baggrundsmusik. Hvis du tænker i forvejen og ved det *før*, du tager af sted, så kan du prøve og optage nogle scener, som vil nemt kunne redigeres i videoen. Du skal også prøve og redigere til musikken, frem for at første redigere det hele, og så kast et eller andet tilfældigt soundtrack på bagefter. Det betyder mere arbejde, men vil resultere i en mere tilfredsstillende video.

Få fat i et stativ. Rystende håndfilmede sekvenser bør kun bruges som sidste udvej.

Lær at bruge dit kamera ordentligt. Læs brugsanvisningen. Lær om manuelt fokus, hvid balance, og eksponering. Lad være med at zoome ind midt i en sekvens, det vil se fjollet ud.

Lad være med at vise folk i dårligt lys. Afskaf alt det, der er mindre flatterende. Medmindre det er sjovt.
Stavetjek titlerne. To gange. Og stav folks navne rigtigt. Og stavetjek titlerne også. ;-)

Når du er færdig med at redigere, lad være med at ødelægge det hele med dårlig komprimering. Kig på denne artikel i IJDb's compendium for fifs om det.

Og til sidst, lad være med at tilbringe hele din konvention "bag linsen", husk at også du skal have det sjovt!
If you don't want to BUY MY BOOKS 😉, then why not ask your local library to order them in, and read them for free? That would help too. Cheers!

The Void

Quote from: GbH on 10 July, 2011, 12:02:261.  Position the camera so that the trick can be clearly seen.
Absolutely. Before you start filming, just take a couple of seconds to ask yourself "Where is the light shining from?". Then point your camera so that shadows are cast away from the camera.

Here are some examples where you can see the difference. (I hope the players from the Endless Combo don't mind me using them as examples!)

I hope some of you find that useful. :)
If you don't want to BUY MY BOOKS 😉, then why not ask your local library to order them in, and read them for free? That would help too. Cheers!


I never realized I was put as a bad example T_T
Spanish Kendama Champion 2010, 2012, 2014-16
Depth Perception is Overrated.

The Void

Glad to see you've got better recently. :-)
If you don't want to BUY MY BOOKS 😉, then why not ask your local library to order them in, and read them for free? That would help too. Cheers!


I'm sorry for bringing up an old thread, but i found this gem and i want to share it with you guys as well!
A good addition to the already great post we have about making videos.

What the trick?