Do you want to start filming videos to help grow your speaking business? Here’s a long list, plus extra tips and tricks, on shooting great videos.
Basic Camera Do’s & Don’ts
If delivering content directly to the camera:
-Stand if possible
-Plant feet and keep knees slightly bent
-Practice calming down your quirks (knee popper, foot shuffler, shirt grabber, arm flayer). Take excess nerves and energy and practice projecting it through your voice and eyes.
-Don’t look at the camera, look through it.
-Learn to relax shoulders and keep head mostly still to stay inside the “frame”.
-Know where your “mark” is. If walking forward or sideways, hit your mark without looking by using visual ques of your surroundings.
-When they call “action” give a 3 count before beginning. Also, hold when you are done until the call “cut”. This helps the editing process.
-Be careful not to hold anything across your body, or gesture out of the frame or in front of your face. The camera catches everything and makes it bigger than it is. (Think of a bad ex-girlfriend who made drama out of everything. This is what the camera does.)
-If sitting, ladies sit on a phone book or something that slightly elevates your rear. Make you appear thinner and naturally sit straighter.
-Ladies, cross your legs the “newscaster” way. Keeps camera from shooting up your skirt.
-Breathe!…(but not too loud)
-Lighting and sound is everything
-Don’t be afraid of a teleprompter or ear prompter if you have a written script. Lots of apps for teleprompters. Practice with different speeds. Mark your scripts! Mark for pauses, camera angle changes, mood shifts, etc.
-Practice, practice, practice!
-Have camera just above eye level.
-Know who you are talking to. Talk Don’t stare at the view finder. Either look directly at camera or choose a focal point where you are looking just off the side of the frame.
-Make it urgent and important. If yours is the last video they will ever see regarding the problem make it count.
-All videos should have a beginning, conflict, and an end.
-If you’re filming with someone, be forewarned you will be extremely close.
-All videos should have a beginning, middle, end
-Have your opener memorized, and your exit strategy. For the rest be very familiar with what you are going to say, but don’t worry about having it word for word.
When delivering content on stage to be filmed:
-Know your sightlines. Be clear on what portion of the stage the camera will cover and not cover. Mark the stage with gaffer or glow tape if needed.
-Keep body position open
-Be clear on where the cameras will be placed
-Always walk the stage beforehand!!!! You never know what little surprises-cracks, holes, step ups/downs are waiting there for you-especially if you’re wearing heels.
-Don’t look directly at the camera, even if it’s right in your face, unless you’ve specifically chosen that for style. (Called “breaking the fourth wall”)
-If your audio will be directly inputted in the recording through the sound board, ask about also recording ambient sound if you need to show audience engagement.
-Avoid green or blue if using green screen
-Avoid white or pale colors on stage. (Usually good to always avoid on stage-not just for filming. Lighting washes you out.)
-Be leery of red. Most high definition cameras can handle red now, but it’s a bold color that draws strong visual attention on film.
-Blue, green, indigo and violet make excellent choices.
-No busy patters, stripes, etc. Best to use solid colors, especially those of your brand if you want the video on your website.
-If you wear glasses, make sure they have an anti-glare coating on them.
-Ladies, if wearing a dress, remember mic pack so think Spanx, sturdy bra, etc. I always have pockets in my dresses, as an extra back up. Pockets gets used more than I care to admit. (I have problems keeping my mic on from moving too much or utilizing the floor.)
-Best to bring button up shirt for eating and make up application. Keeps from messing up your hair when changing. NEVER eat and try not to drink anything staining during shoot.
-Always bring several outfits to choose from, especially if filming with another person, such as an interview. Lighting can really change the way an outfit looks, plus you don’t want to accidently match match your screen partner/partners.
-Having a grooming kit. This includes:
-Bleach pen for make up or food accidents.
-Small sewing kit
-Rice paper for shine for both men and women. Can also use Mac Blot Film
-Powder for women or for men who wear foundation. (Recommend MakeUp Forever HD Microfinish Powder)
-Anti static hair shine spray such as John Freida Frizz Ease, Bed Head Freak Serum, Straight & Sexy Hair Smooth
-Comb or anti-static brush
-Peppermint (helps with dry mouth or tired voice)
-Nail polish for accidental chips while on set
-Shave kit for men
-If possible-hire a make-up artist if you know you are being filmed!! (Learned the hard way with free filming, but looked so bad couldn’t use the footage. $100 is cheap for a filmed talk.)
What to do when you mess up during filming:
-NEVER stop unless whoever is running the camera tells you to. Instead, stop talking without breaking your concentration, give a pause, go back a few lines, and re-start as if nothing happened, all while the camera is rolling. This helps the editing process and saves a lot of time. Never stop holding your focus/concentration/etc., until they say “cut”.
-If on the stage, and you are doing your speech SPECIFICALLY for filming purposes only, do the same as the above. You’ll save lots of time-which equals lots of dollars on your end.
-Don’t freak out-everyone messes up.
-Everyone-even seasoned actors, etc., get nervous right before the cameras start rolling.
-There are those who are afraid so they don’t. There are those who are afraid and they do it anyway.
-There will always be someone prettier, smarter, thinner, better than you. Stop worrying about competing and being less than. Just be yourself.
Basic stage terms:
-Know your stage directions such as upstage/downstage. This is a good thing to know anyway for when you communicate with anyone regarding preparing the stage with props, lighting, podium, etc., for your talk.
-If holding anything from props to a power point, use your upstage hand.
-“Back of the house” means the back of the audience. Cameras are usually placed there for the “wide shot”.
-“Wings” are important for sightlines. If you can see the audience-they can see you. If you’re “appearing” from the wings, make sure you can’t see the audience. This is called “waiting in the wings”.
-If someone introduces you and exits as you enter, make sure you cross downstage to take focus.
-“Share focus” if someone is introducing you and you are onstage with them.
-Understand how to know if you are in the light if there are “hot spots” on stage. Lights are hung at a 45 degree angle, so you need to stand near the back of the hot spot, not the center to keep the top of your head from being chopped off.
Basic film terms if you choose to professionally shoot:
(The more you know how the filming process works and how to make everyone else’s job easier, the more $ you’ll save when filming.)
-Rolling. When the camera has begun filming.
-Speed. When the sound begins (this is usually when the clapboard is used to help in the editing process line up the sound with the visual.)
-Action, start (but use your 3 count).
-Camera right-right side of the screen. This will be your left.
-Camera left-left side of the screen. This will be your left.
-Pan in-when camera zooms in closer
-Over the shoulder shot. (This is very awkward when you first experience this.) If you are filming with someone else such as an interview, they will want to get each of your reactions. In order to film your partners they will stick the camera right over your shoulder.)
-Cheating out. You’ll need to cheat your body towards the camera when talking with a partner and sometimes even carry a conversation without even looking at them but a spot that is closer to the camera. This can be difficult at first, but happens often. You can always ask your partner to stand wherever they’ve asked you to look for the shot and deliver your questions/answers that way.
-Wide shot. One shot that gets everything from a distance.
– ¾ shot-3/4 of your body.
-Close up-usually your shoulders and face.
-Extreme close up-shot for things like your eyes or your hand holding something.
-If you are interviewing or sharing a scene and you are having a conversation with your partner, you need to look in their eye that is the closest to the camera.
-“Hit your mark” designated spot on the floor where the camera is focused. If you miss it-you’ll be out of focus
-“Back to one” back to the beginning
If you are designing and paying for your shoot:
-You need a storyboard. This is a list of shots you want. Basically, your design for the shoot. You can work with the videographer, or if you have a decent budget and have a producer, director, etc., you’d work with them on this. This saves a TON of time the day of the shoot AND during editing.
-Remember your face is flipped in the camera from what you are used to seeing. The camera is what you actually look like. The mirror is a reversed image.
-The sound of your voice on camera is what you really sound like.
-You’ll need to watch a video at least 7 times to start getting over being grossed out about yourself and move on to the things that matter.
-Hire a makeup artist and stylist if you don’t know what’s good on camera. BUT hire them for the whole day. Don’t just have them make you up and run. They’ll take care of hair fly always, shine, crooked tie, sliding necklace, etc., in-between shots. Trust me Videographers NEVER notice these things and they can make or break your footage.
-Hydrate several days before the shoot so you look your best.
Favorite go to beauty routines before a shoot. As an actor, it’s a luxury to know, even 1 week out, the shoot date, as most of the time we have 48 hour or less notice. Consider it a blessing you have time to prepare! (Learned these through the years with modeling, film and always ask every make-up artist their advice. These are ones that have made a difference. High Def cameras show EVERYTHING!!!):
-3 days out start drinking a green smoothie that includes aloe vera juice and fish oil or flax oil once a day. Totally disgusting. Totally worth it.
-3 days out begin drinking water that has cucumber, blueberries, mint, lemon slices and a little ginger. Reduces puffiness and makes the skin look younger.
-Cheapest-most effective beauty mask: A little raw honey, plain yogurt or cream, and egg white. Steam your face for 10 minutes than put the mask on and leave for 30 minutes to one hour. Once again, totally disgusting. Totally worth it.
-Color your hair 2 weeks prior.
-No dairy or chocolate 24 hours prior to filming. I do this with performing in general is it effect your voice.
-No alcohol the night before. Makes your eyes puffy and red.
-Day of shoot eat easy to digest protein such as an egg and a complex carb such as sprouted grain toast. Eat low bloat foods.
Common denominators of extremely successful YouTube videos:
- Title has 3 words or less
- The word “funny” is helpful
- There is either a look of surprise on the thumbnail, or a sexy image of a woman.
- Thumbnails that are automatically generated by YouTube are the opening shot, closing shot, and exactly in the middle. Keeps this in mind when editing if you want to use their thumbnails.
- The use of closed caption can up your ranks
- Videos are under 2 minutes
- The first 2 sentences in your description are key
- Some people post the transcript under the video to make it keyword rich
- If you want your video to go to a certain country besides the US, make the title both in English and the other language. (80% of YouTube viewers are from outside the US.)
- Current best times to post are Thursday-Friday 12-3 pm, Saturday-Sunday 9-11 am
If you found this helpful, please pass on. 🙂
Stacy Pederson is a Colorado based Humorist and Funny Motivational Speaker who is incessantly insecure with a chronic Thai Food / Netflix binge habit.