How will you present yourself?
You will want to ensure that you present a consistent version of yourself, so try to avoid, recording videos straight after getting up in the morning before your shower. Remember, this is going out TO THE WORLD! So, before you press record ensure you putting across a version of yourself that you’re happy being seen by anyone that you’re trying to impress.
What’s in your background?
Remember to think about what your environment is saying about you. Does your background include a grubby dressing gown hanging on the back of a door, or a dirty pile of washing stacking up on the floor? Eugh! Think about what’s behind you.
What kit are you using?
The kit you use will make a huge difference to the quality of your video. Now, you don’t have to go and spend a huge amount on your video kit, but essentials you need to think about are the audio and visual quality. People will be a lot less forgiving with rubbish audio quality – if they can’t hear you they certainly won’t be watching you! So do some dry runs to listen to your kit.
Where are you looking?
This will depend a lot on the kit you’re using. If you’re using your webcam, then you need to be careful that you don’t record your video by watching the video of you on the screen. If you’re doing that, you’re not looking at the camera and it just looks a bit weird, like you’re cross-eyed. This is never a good look.
If you’ve got a free-standing camera on a tripod, great! This will make it much easier to look straight at the camera. Unless, you’re reading some notes off camera. If you’ve not managed to get hold of some auto-cues then make sure that any notes you’re using are behind the camera so that it still looks like you’re speaking to camera.
Are you using notes?
If you’re using notes, what ever you do, DO NOT READ THEM OUT! Did you get that? DO NOT READ THEM OUT! This is not only intensely irritating to listen to, but it definitely does not help you to convey your expertise. People who know what they’re talking about don’t need to read their notes. They might need prompts, to keep them on track, but that is it. If you need to read your notes word for word, then you need to question why you’re doing this.
Have you practiced?
Before launching into video blogs, put aside half a day of just faffing with your kit and getting comfortable with it. Get comfortable talking to camera and watching how you look. Look out for any weird on camera habits you may have [hair flicking, looking sideways, eye twitching, licking your lips, etc).
Have you heard yourself speak?
One of my main challenges with videoing myself was to slow down my pace of speech. I talk waaaaay too fast. So, one thing I’ve had to learn is to SLOW down. And the only way I’ve done that is by practicing. Some may say that I still do, but believe me, at least you don’t get out of breathe just by listening to me now! Listen to what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. You might have to cut out your colourful language (if appropriate) or stop saying “uh” and “you know” every other sentence. Ask a friend who’ll be honest to give you some feedback.
Are you aiming for recording your video in one take?
This is ambitious, so you’ll need to think about how long you want to speak for and what points you want to get across. Waffling does not score high points here. Sometimes, you’ll be able to pull it off in the first take, other times you’ll be there all afternoon!
Do you have an editing suite?
If you’ve decided that a one-take shoot is too much, then you’re going to have to edit. Make sure you have some good editing software to help you do a good job. Some cameras come with their own easy-use software, but watch out because these can be very limited in their scope. On the other hand you don’t want to get caught up using professional software, because you could waste a lot of time faffing.
It can be too easy when you’re recording yourself to talk to yourself in your head and count yourself in, usually while getting your words straight in your head and staring out the window. Then when you reach three: you flick your hair while taking a deep breathe while simultaneously turning your head toward the camera. Then you deliver your perfect video, finish off and quickly walk toward the camera, happy that you’ve done a good job. UH-OH! Your video is a nightmare to edit!
Before you decide to start recording make sure that you’re looking at the video for a few seconds. Then at the end, stay looking at the camera for a few more. This ensure that you have sufficient footage to edit your video without cutting it too short.
If you’ve got any more tips that you’d like to share, feel free to post them in the comments below.