So now we’re all working from home, it’s down to how we wish to be perceived on screen. As professional as possible is always best for those marketing pieces.
Whether we’re using our mobile phone or laptop camera or a DSLR video camera, try to have it in a fixed position (a small tripod or clip ideal), not handheld.
CONTENT & LENGTH – always ensure you’ve worked out your structure and what you’re going to say before your session. Best keep it to a maximum of 2 minutes, ideally 90 seconds, with no more than 5 points: who, why, what, where, when – with the benefit right at the front. You won’t have a teleprompter/autocue at home, so use a small index card or postcard with your key topics strapped just above your camera/lens with tape or blu-tak.
ENVIRONMENT – ideally this should be in a room, large or small, with no other activity happening – visual or sound – so as not to distract your audience. Best at a time when partners and family are out for their daily exercise. Inside is better than outdoors, which comes with unannounced distractions, sirens, cars, wind noise, people, dogs etc.
BACKGROUNDS – these should be clear and uncluttered, which can be a plain wall with a picture on it, or a plant just in shot. A lot of people use a bookcase, but this can be distracting if viewers are trying to read what you read, unless it’s out of focus!
LIGHTING – be aware of ‘contre jour’, or ‘against the day’. Ensure you are lit mainly from the front, or side, daylight being ideal, perhaps with a ‘warm’ tungsten light to one side to provide extra fill and colour.
SOUND – always very important, so if you don’t have a personal mic from your mobile (hidden under your shirt/blouse), always ensure you are not too close to the laptop mic. Check your settings by doing tests: too close will create ‘popping’, which puts the listener off. Too far away will be too distant and push you to shouting.
POSTURE – ensure you are seated comfortably in a chair without wheels (or you’ll be rolling back and forth), bottom in so your back is straight. Be comfortable before you start, then position your chair for best framing on screen. Don’t be too close up! And for guys, it helps if you check your shiny nose and/or pate: borrow a little matt make-up from your partner: just a little works a treat. A glass of water nearby is also good for your throat. And smile!
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE – before you make your first video. Trick here is to set up and make your first recording, edit and review. If you’re happy with it, send it to your best professional friends/family (max 5) for their constructive comments, not for publication. And then make your recording the following day, so you are fresh. I always say the first take is the best, as it’s always the most natural for people who are not professional actors.
EDITING – If you haven’t already got your editing in situ, there are plenty of apps to choose from: iMovie (ideal for YouTube), Movavi, Adobe Premiere Clip, Splice and Magisto to name but a few. We use Adobe Premiere Pro CC, but you can always look for ‘Lite’ versions of professional editing software.
PUBLISHING – we mainly use Vimeo, as it has no advertising at all, so there are no distractions or competitors! Obviously, you may wish to use YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Tik Tok, depending on your marketplace.
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In the meantime, keep well and good luck!