Since its inception in 2005, YouTube has steadily grown to become the biggest video sharing website on the planet. Through the years there have been many genres of video that have shown to be the YouTube key to success and one of those genres is the Prank Video.
If you’ve been thinking of making a prank video then you’re in luck! By the end of this article you should have all the necessary information about creating a great quality prank video that hopefully grows your channel.
When it comes to prank videos, YouTube has its fair share of creators who focus on this specific genre of video. But there are several elements that many new creators fail to think about when starting their own channels, the biggest of which is the equipment necessary for making a good quality prank video.
Cameras like the Sony CX625 Handycam are perfect for this shooting style. A quick and easy zoom function on a camera that fits into the palm of your hand makes it ideal for your cameraman to hide while you prank the unsuspecting public.
Just having a good camera isn’t enough to make it in the world of prank videos. You’ll also need a good microphone. The best type to use is lavalier microphone that clips to the talent’s clothing.
Microphones like the RØDELink Filmmaker Kit, which comes with a broadcast lavalier microphone and works at a range of about 100 metres, are perfect because they allow your camera operator to hide away somewhere and still get clean sound.
PLANNING IS KEY
Now comes the actual planning and production of the prank video. The planning part is fairly simple; once you’ve thought of what kind of prank video you want to shoot, you need to find a location that works and carry out the prank. Just make sure that the location you’re shooting will allow you to do so, and that you get consent from all the participants — after they’ve fallen for your tricks, of course. You can do this by having them fill out simple location release forms or talent release forms. Templates for both can be found easily through a Google search.
The execution of a prank video is very different to other content on YouTube. Remember, your camera operator will probably be hidden somewhere, so you’ll need to be in constant communication with them either to let them know when to start shooting or to find out if they managed to get the shot you wanted.
Another important factor at play when executing a prank video is the prank itself. In order to get the best possible versions of your prank, you’ll need to rehearse your part at least a few times. Once you have practiced it enough, you can try it out with the public.
It’s difficult to capture a prank on video without hiding the camera. The minute your target sees the lens they’ll know what’s going on.
Many channels have their camera person shooting from the inside of a car or from a large distance away. Having the camera further away makes it easier to record a prank as there’s a lesser likelihood of the target seeing the camera. This is why most prank channels use digital camcorders rather than DSLRs; they typically have a powerful built-in zoom that covers larger distances.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
Creators making prank videos will encounter very specific problems and issues when it comes to the actual recording of the video. One issue leads to another. Keeping the camera discreet at a distance makes it difficult to keep the shot stable. Most prank videos will be shot handheld, so keeping a stable shot becomes trickier.
Using camera handle rigs like the Opteka DSLR Handle allows you to remove that unnecessary shake while keeping the camera physically close to you, giving you the ability to keep the camera discreet while you shoot.
WHAT ABOUT LIGHTING?
We all know the importance of having good lighting when filming something. Prank videos however, are a bit of a complex issue when it comes to lighting. You can’t exactly set up film lights around the area you plan on shooting because it will basically tell people that something is going on. You’ll have to rely on whatever natural light is available to you. If you’re shooting during the day, you shouldn’t have any issues, but if you’re filming at night, try to find a location that is well-lit by either a street light or something similar, and use a camera that can handle low-light situations.
DON’T BREAK THROUGH BY BREAKING THE LAW
Even though prank videos are quite popular on the internet, there is a stigma attached to them. There’s a belief they’re all faked — either set up with paid actors or edited in a way that will get the best reactions from audiences. Channels like fouseyTUBE have often been accused of faking pranks for the sake of getting views. Faking a prank video is not respected among the creative community since it’s seen as lying to the audience.
Many prank channels promote inappropriate and offensive behavior with the excuse “It’s just a prank.” Channels such as VitalyzdTv have uploaded videos that can be considered harassment and a clear violation of the law, which gives a bad example for new prank channels starting out and might influence a new creator to make some bad choices.
Some of the more popular prank videos are those that involve a play on words; you say one thing that sounds a certain way but means something else, getting an odd reaction. This makes for a great prank video with relatively benign results. Another popular type of prank video is the “everyone laughs” type, where a simple yet silly act gets anyone involved in a brighter spirit.
Remember, making someone laugh and brightening their day is a much better way to end a prank video than insulting them.
In summary, make sure you get all the necessary equipment for your type of prank videos and plan your pranks in advance so you can get the most satisfying reactions. Sticking within the boundaries of the law seems to be challenging for some prank channels, but if you successfully do it and also make your audience laugh without causing offense or harm to the people being pranked, you should have no problem gaining views and subscribers for your channel.
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