Video Tutorial Building - A Passion That Can Make You Money

by Jerrico_Usher

How I developed a passion for video production making videos and tutorials into a career

It's been quite the journey learning to make quality videos. I've been making videos since I was about 17 (1992-3) as a passion to expend my overwhelming need to express my creativity. My brain is always coming up with great ideas and if there is one place creativity is exhausted nicely it's video production.

At first I made music video's by taping all sorts of things and cutting it into bits and pieces using two VCR dinosaurs and a camcorder as my "editing" equipment.

There weren't many video editing software titles back then and computers were relatively new to me at the time so my videos weren't fancy yet (but for what I had to work with I think I did pretty good). In this article I'm going to share some of my journey in learning the skill set. You'd be surprised how many cool things you can do to develop your skill set without frustrating yourself! I'll also share a few of my video concoctions as far back and recent as I can find.



Introduction and my background story...

I'm going to give you the quick evolution over the past 4 years then I'll dive deeper back to the 90's where I really got excited about video creation. This is important because a lot of things I learned back then with trial and error affect how I learn today.

To catch you up- several years ago I got really excited about making videos- more so editing videos into collages and applying affects. I played around with software for years but until about 2 years ago I didn't really push myself to develop. The last year has been the most impactful because what motivated me was getting paid to build tutorials.

Over the years as I developed my adeptness on a computer I dabbled in free software like windows movie maker but didn't really put much time into it- this software scared me to be blunt! Over time I played around and somewhere around 2010 I acquired camtasia 5.0.

"If You Build It They Will Come"

My boss saw some of my work and asked me to make a few videos for him. I was using an outdated version with less features at the time but it got my skill set acquisition underway. He needed a few basic tutorials for how to use his membership site.  In building that first video which came out ok, nothing fancy, I developed a more robust feel for the software. I hadn't even tapped into the callouts (effects like blur, spotlight, text, etc...) or features that would really make my videos interesting yet.

That was, however, where my skill sets really kicked in as I wanted to impress and worked the software into a frenzy to make a great tutorial video. I learned tricks from YouTube tutorials others wrote, painstakingly watching horribly made videos with NO editing done just to learn how do do one thing! Once I learned it it was engraved in stone in my brain.

50 tutorial videos for 2 sites (,, later I really started to figure it out and had tapped into the core power of Camtasia. Each video taught me a little bit more and before I knew it I was mastering the features, the timeline, and really started to make videos that looked great (IMO).

Now, it's more about being creative with the tools to make effects that stun than having to figure out the software. I acquired most of my self training in the last year as my boss told me my voice was perfect for it and my editing skills were drastically improving and fast. He had a large project to make about 30 videos, 4-10 minutes long each to cover the robust features of his site for new members that signed up.

Camcorder 90's

As I started to taper up my game my boss noticed and asked me to put together a portfolio. He wanted to monetize my services as a video tutorial and marketing video maker (still afraid to tackle those marketing videos but that's next). But I wasn't/am not yet, ready for that yet. I went on a frenzy making more videos for his other sites and in the meantime reading, watching tutorials, and learning from shows like "Las Vegas" where they do incredibly vivid and cool cut always. I wanted my videos to have that bling and in time they did (see Wizzley tutorial in this article near the end).

You can visit either of those sites above linked (AZ or SA) to see how the tutorials I made came out. I can't display them here because I don't own them anymore. The Articlez site is a free membership site you can sign up for and see the videos inside, you don't have to actually use your membership, the Super Apprentice site is a membership site (site builder/IM training ground) so unless your interested in joining a site used for building and flipping websites for profit, I'm afraid you won't be able to see them.

The common denominator here is that I just chased what I enjoyed doing and people took notice of my results. Now I face an opportunity to make a great deal of money building videos for clients that will be handed to me on a silver platter. That's how I got into video editing professionally in a nutshell. (doing anything professionally just means you get paid for it).

The adage "if you build it they will come" applies here. I was hired as a writer for this man because he saw my work on hubpages and liked it, I later became tech support over writers/customers for his business. He saw my videos (I sent them to him to generate an opportunity) and he liked them and months later he was asking me to make videos for him. You have to chase opportunities by displaying your skills!

If you chase what you love doing you will do it well and opportunities come to you at that point, you don't have to chase them down, you just have to show off what you can do!

Now That You Know The Last 4-5 years, I'll Back Up To Y2K When My Passion Started To Grow

The Year 2000+ Camcorders Got Smaller

In the early 2000's I used a smaller 1 lb camcorder (as opposed to the 30 lb dinosaur camcorder I was using in the early to late 90's) to make an episode of "charmed" with my god daughters- they would run, I'd chase them turning the film on then making a sound just before turning the camera back on (then pausing a second with a practiced Freeze motion) and continue after turning it back on.

Newer cameras turned on and off pretty instantly so this was great. The effect showed a chase in first person and Hailey would snap her fingers on cue and in the film without stopping (perceptively) the chase she'd vanish. We did the fireball throwing scenes with tennis balls we'd have appear on cue (stop start camera), then she'd throw them... just basic stuff but it really spiced up home videos (of which I no longer have unfortunately).

It began as a curiosity and a passion I wanted to exploit. I'd made video compilations the hard manual way with those heavy 30 lb camcorders in the 90's wayyy before digital editing was mainstream and made some really interesting pieces- even with no skills.

I took cues from shows like bewitched and reading articles on special effects like how they would snap fingers and vanish (stop camera, remove actor start camera- poof, add some sound effects to just before (snapping fingers and a bell) and a "whoosh" after and the effect is complete).

Creative Outlet, Passion Inlet

(this is redundant for a reason, I want to catch you up and give you a more details about what sparked my career in selling my skills)

(I'll back track just a bit to add more information about how work inspired my passion for video production/tutorial building)

Those days of making fun videos spawned a passion in me for a creative outlet I desperately needed. My creativity is often through the roof and frustrates me if i don't tame it. I went several years "wanting" to make more but simply not having the resources or patience to learn the skill set of online or computer editing- and software was pretty expensive.

My job eventually would include various tasks of which one became creating tutorials for my bosses business to show his users how to use the site. Intrigued and needing something fun to do- I volunteered to do it.

Nothing happened for months but one day out of the blue (and after I'd acquired a borrowed copy of the Camtasia program (5.0) myself and started learning how it worked) I found it not that difficult to learn- just do it and eventually you figure it out- use online YouTube tutorials to learn the basics and from there it's about necessity (you need this, you research and someone says do that).

At first I'd just edit home videos taken by a digital camera (even smaller camcorder lol) of road trips my family and extended family took. I'd post these to facebook and they came out great!

I got to thinking about the Camtasia program and my favorite saved videos and thought, hmmm...

The video below was my first live video/still images collage created to document our first road trip (me, Michelle my fiance', her sister and friend Amber) to Lincoln City, Oregon (from bend). We took about a hundred pictures as we toured all the antique shops in Lincoln City, I back dropped it with the Ludacris Knight Rider song (instrumental) to pass through the images in quick succession.

This was incredibly taxing- I had to import each image, then re-size how long it played on the time line to less than a second and repeat about 100 times. I then meshed in video of us on the road singing "Bohemian Rhapsody" then returned to the same images in a slower slide show... again, basic but this was a start.

I used this to learn basic cuts, effects, splices an especially TIMING... all the words were created in Photoshop on a black background and faded into the shot. There was a few personal phrases I blurred out for privacy. This is us having a great time :). My mission was to make a much cooler slide show and embed video to show off the trip in style. This was the first time me and my fiance, her sister, and sisters friend (the one with glasses) hung out all day together on a 400 mile road trip:

Jib Jab Madness - And Visualizing Ideas

Last year I really got into it and spent entire months doing nothing but video production and editing for fun and work!

It started when I started to fall in love with those cleaver JibJab videos where you can insert head images and create entire stories to send to your friends. I got the idea in my head that I could use these videos to create a music video and practice the many angles of video editing/post production. My first official complete video was a collage of JibJab videos turned into a music video.

(see below video).

Note: I originally had Kid Rock's Song "Bawitdaba" and it was optimized for it, (I liked the beat), as the main video music (music video parody) but YouTube blocked the video. I changed the song to one of the YouTube library videos but this matched up pretty great. I had the song from the social network movie rolling in the credits this too was replaced... it cuts off drastically at the end but you can't go in ad fix this because it's using a monetized audio track (you get to use it free but the artist gets revenue from ads surrounding the video).

This was basic pan and zooms, cut/paste pieces of several JibJab videos into a music video. This took me 9 hours to complete and as you can see it's ok, but I didn't much know what I was doing. (hence the green triangles in some of the zooms).... If you want to view this with the original music just play the song from (Bawitdaba, Kid rock) and line it up with the start.

Created with 4 different jibjab videos edited together strategically (the long intro was to coincide with the original music track)


I came to realize I really needed to learn how to integrate "heads" on the JibJab bodies- I'm more fluent at it now but mine and ambers heads seem to fit seamless (the girl with the glasses and grumpy looking santa guy).

I blended a few videos together for practice of me and my (extended) family as the back up players (not dancing but other funny situations in these videos. I'd basically use Camtasia to record the screen, crop it, and even record the music but in the end the sound track which was all music anyway- was removed so I could edit the videos together into a movie then make it all feel as one with a single track that made it all work! I hadn't yet found the time to  make another of those but when I do I'll put it up here (complete with all my new skills it should be more cleanly edited).

At first my edits were very choppy, and it took weeks to combine these into a coherent set but this was me learning editing, focusing, panning, and general special effects. I ended up using Camtasia and Windows Movie Maker for various things (WMM I got great "matrix" type filters to make the video do amazing cuts and effects). I would move the video between them until I figured out that one would often distort the other when I compiled it. The filters I found (you can buy them for 15.00) for windows movie maker could do amazing.

Below is another video (very short) that I made of our cats at the time. My fiance and her family moved into the house I was renting (it was very big) and we had all the cats from both sides, so I decided to make a video specifically for learning zoom effects, calibration/timing. I used the song "colors" from the movie sound track (but the instrumental) to give it a gangsta feel (you'll see why- all the cats are different colors and most are calico)... it came out great and I learned a lot (for some reason the first part of the song entry got cut off when uploading it to youtube):

Gangsta Kitties (Zoom Pan Timing Practice)

This started a new passion for me and I started to want to make videos all the time. The problem is there are limited hours in my day to edit videos. If I shoot a tutorial which takes about 20 minutes to complete and ends up at 8 minutes after an entire day of editing and tweaking of the footage, the rest of my day is shot.

I get so worn out by the process (but love it), and by the end of it I can't even see the forest for the trees. You can see such a project in my video tutorial about "How To Make Jump Links On Hubpages" Below. I'm getting better at this point (that was a year ago I think that I made that)...

I think that came out very professional

(in hindsight in the beginning my voice is "tired" as I was VERY tired that day and YouTube's compression of the video slowed it down even more but it picks up as I go, today I'd not of published this video but as an example of the evolution of my skill set I added it below - also I can see that the music is at times a bit loud- but it's not so bad (the talking sped up as I got my mojo going and the music isn't overwhelming to the point of distraction) that I'd agonize over recompiling it (takes like 15 minutes to compile 2 minutes to fix)

One of my first tutorial videos, I'm still a bit green in the process but my skill set is growing....

Compare this to the wizzley video below (which was made June 2012)- big difference no?

Wizzley Tutorial Beta (this is not my finished copy but shows drastic improvements in the skill set)

In conclusion

There are a lot of steps, video's, and lessons between each of the sample videos I showed in this article, but I wanted to keep this, to some degree, short and to the point. I wanted to point out some tools I used like JibJab videos (practice with editing/cutting together, zooms, pans, etc...) to make the learning curve more fun, and I wanted to show that nobody gets this right out the gate. I'm a fast learner and it still took me 2 years roughly to get as good as I am now. I don't consider myself expert or even intermediate yet, but I'm getting closer every time I make a new video. I'm getting paid to make videos that the client loves (but I'm a bit critical of still) and that's exciting.

I want to close this by saying that many videos on YouTube for tutorials, tips, tricks, and the like are often made quickly and not often to the point. I want to point out that a video that gives people a quick summary or to the point explanation is important and credit building. Just as an article that is too long and winded can tend to annoy people wanting a quick answer and causes bounce rates to be high, a video that has too much glamour, too long an introduction, and that has no edits such as coughing, breathing, and uh uh uhhhh's, is, to the person trying to learn something from your tutorial- not going to be viewed completely.

I'm going to create a video tutorial showing you how to build a basic tutorial video and what anyone can learn to do pretty quickly. A few more minutes of edits can make all the difference in the world. Your video doesn't have to be stunning to look at to grab attention- it just has to be succinct and to the point, informative, and useful. In another article/wizzle I'll cover this, time is not on my side these days but I will get it out so if you'd like to learn how to make video tutorials that can be used to drive traffic to your articles from YouTube- bookmark this page and check back.

Until then, I wish you luck. Thank you for reading/watching! Comments are appreciated.




p.s. I use Camtasia 7.1 to make all my videos, I'm about to upgrade to 8.0 but it's a new build that will take some time to learn/adapt to so for the moment I'll use 7.1 for all tutorials about making videos.

Updated: 06/28/2012, Jerrico_Usher
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


Jerrico_Usher on 11/23/2012

the only way in my experience to learn to make bad ass videos is to just do it and let your creative nature take over- the tools seem to just make sense when you need a solution (or a trick done etc...).. THAT is where the ambition to push through harder video techniques comes from- interest. You have to make a bunch of videos for nothing but fun and learning- it all came to me in under a year...

katiem2 on 11/22/2012

Just back for a session, great tutorial for video building. I'm learning... :)K

Jerrico_Usher on 06/29/2012

I spent 2 days making the wizzley video above. Generally for a 3 minute video I can spend all day building it. The time gets smaller as you develop your skill set. I come to realize things I should have done before editing i.e. in how I shoot the video that can make all the difference in the world and those save time. For example I realize I can record and keep repeating something until it comes out the way I want to "print" it, later I'll edit out all but the best one (and sometimes it's not the last one)... You also think ahead the whole time i.e. cause effect on the timeline.... You can easily lose and entire day in even a 3 minute video so yes 3 hours sounds about right. Whats the url to your video I'd like to take a look :)

lobobrandon on 06/29/2012

Jerrico, I made a video for HP using Movie Maker and I guess it was real easy to figure out. But, it would help people getting started. It took me 3 hours for a 5 minute video - is that normal? That's why I never gave it a go again :D

Jerrico_Usher on 06/29/2012

I'll keep that in mind 2uesday... I'm thinking of doing one with windows movie maker since anyone with windows will have it already (and that's where I started), then do a series of how to videos's/articles, then move into camtasia later... Both movie makers are great but I think WMM is easier for the complete newbie to editing... This will take some time to plan out and execute but I'll start this weekend

2uesday on 06/29/2012

Looking forward to finding out about this as I have a collection of garden flower videos I would like to put together. Maybe you could do two versions, one a simple easy steps one and a more advanced version. I think I would need the easy step by step version.

Jerrico_Usher on 06/29/2012

Thanks guys, I'm trying to figure out the best way to go about building the tutorial I'm going to start working on it this weekend, time permitting...

lobobrandon on 06/29/2012

Just as Katie stated, I've been waiting for this as well - like I said in the forums :) Yes, there's a huge difference between the videos (Then and now). It's amazing!

Angel on 06/29/2012

Great info Jerrico. I have been interested in making some makeup application tutorial videos to post on my website but don't even know where to start. I will also have to bookmark this for reference. Thanks for sharing!

katiem2 on 06/28/2012

Sweet, I've been waiting for this. Book marking it as this student will be coming to class everyday till I get it! Thanks for the awesome video tutorial building guide.

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