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TikTok 101: Tips for Beginners and the Gear All TikTok Users Must Have

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Have you ever wondered what it takes to make a perfect, trend-setting TikTok? Well, you're in luck. We haven't nailed it quite yet, but we have some tips and tricks to help you get started on how to make epic TikTok videos.

We'll level with you, the Lume Cube team has experienced our fair share of Tik Toks. Check them out here. We'd be lying if we said it wasn't fun... It seems like most of society (800 million users to be exact) have hopped on the TikTok bandwagon and we're not mad about it. Athletes, singers, moms, grandparents, celebrities, doctors and more use this upcoming social media platform. Not only do TikToks make you laugh and inspire you to dance, but creators globally are pulling back the curtain to show behind-the-scenes footage of how they are creating cool photos and videos. Better yet, you can find a good workout or even get an amazing visual step-by-step cooking lesson from some TikTok creators. Whatever you use TikTok for, there is a noticeable difference when they are done right and, well, when they aren't.

When it comes to content (what you actually post on TikTok), this platform has seen success in a huge trend culture. According to Later.com, the #1 Instagram Scheduler and Social Media Platform, this means that the best performing videos are the ones that replicate the masses, which are usually the big dance trends (i.e. #toosieslide dance). The other big trends that get soaring views are ones with animals, lip syncs, beauty, fashion, pranks, and challenges. A great starting place for anyone just starting to make a TikTok is their Discovery Page. This page shows trending hashtags based on you location and the breakdown of popular videos.

One of the best parts about TikTok and being a beginner that wants to create the next trending TikTok, is that you don't need a ton of gear to do so. It comes down to two basic items. A smartphone. And good lighting.

A key difference of the good versus the not-so-good TikToks is lighting. Nothing kills a good TikTok idea then a dim/poorly lit video. Although we are not the TikTok experts, Sawyer Hartman, who is a YouTuber with almost 2 million followers and has 1.5 million likes on TikTok, agrees. Hartman gets hundreds of thousands of views on TikTok, some of them with over 3 million views. It is safe to say this guy knows what he's doing when it comes to creating a TikTok. In an interview with Later.com, Hartman was asked if he had any tips for people trying to create amazing TikToks and states, "Oddly enough lighting. I have tested many TikToks with the exact same narrative, same pacing, and music where the only variable is well light and moderately lit." He continues and says that lighting essentially can be your make it or break it moment on the platform by saying, "And I have seen hundreds of thousands of views in difference between those. I've had TikToks with all the key elements, but bad lighting and that video did not even reach 3,000 people." 

Who would we be as a portable lighting company to not dive into this? Lume Cube's newest product, the Panel Mini, is perfect for those who are looking to upgrade their TikToks and be the next Charli D'Amelio. The Panel Mini is extremely portable and allows someone to create a well-lit TikTok wherever they go. Below you can see what it looks like to create a TikTok without our Panel Mini and then what it looks like with our Panel Mini.

Now that you know what gear to have. Let's talk about some of the basics to recording a TikTok. It's GAME TIME... You've practiced your dance 85 times, you added your signature move, you got the props, and you're ready to press record. Make sure you do your best to implement these 4 things before pressing that record button:

- Make sure your lighting is on point. Whether you're using a Panel Mini or a lamp, make sure the lighting is bright enough and looks natural.

- Make sure your phone isn't crooked! Nothing screams amateur more than a crooked video. Combat this by finding a good spot to hold your phone, or investing in a little tripod. We sell one here, along with a smartphone clip here

- Nail your distance from the camera. Not too close, not too far. Find that "just right" distance so people can see your facial expressions, but not too close where you fill up the entire frame.

- Last, but not least. HAVE FUN. Don't make it seem like this is the 86th time you've done the dance. 


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