Geffner Productions

How to Film Your Tour Videos

Congratulations on taking this important step to use video powerfully in your virtual tour experience.

To get you going as quickly as possible, we’ve created the following CRASH COURSE,
which includes only what you need to know, in order to film your own effective tour videos.

Please set aside the time to go through this training before you record your tour,
and if you’ll be talking to the Geffners via Zoom, then please go through the training
before that session, so we can answer all your questions at the time of our call together.
This will make the process much more productive and efficient.

Write down any questions that come up along the way, including any
questions that you have about video equipment, so we can discuss them
and get you moving forward powerfully ASAP.

We’re excited to be on this journey with you. Please let us know
how we can further help and support you throughout this filming process.

PLEASE NOTE:
In each section below, you can click on the + sign to
access the information about each particular topic.
Happy learning!

SET UP & FILMING YOUR VIDEOS

Technical and Creative Filming Tips to Improve Your Videos:

Without getting too technical with you, and going over EVERY single function that your camera can perform, for the purposes of filming your direct-to-camera tour videos, there are a few main camera functions that you’ll want to be aware of. Aside from knowing how to turn your camera on and off, and knowing where the record button is, the 2 main functions you’re going to want to understand are how to zoom, and how to focus.

Now, depending on which camera you’re using, the functionality of how you hit record, how you zoom, and how you focus will be different, but the concepts are the same.

If you’re using your Smartphone or your computer to film your tour, then you probably won’t need to zoom in (in fact you probably don’t want to since the video quality won’t be as sharp), and you don’t need to worry about focusing, since both the Smartphone and your computer focuses automatically for you. That said, if you’re planning to use your phone or computer to film, then you don’t need to read any further. Go ahead and move on to the next section!

If you’re using a camcorder, or a DSLR, or a professional video camera, you will want to make sure you understand the concepts of zooming and focusing, whether you’re using the camera’s auto functions, or manual functions.

ZOOMING:

For these types of talking-head videos, you’ll want to either position the camera or zoom in to the point where you see yourself somewhere between waist up, or chest up. If you zoom in too close, and there’s not enough of you for the viewer to see, it can feel a little too intimate or even look awkward or inappropriate. On the other hand, if you are zoomed out too far, there’s too much of an emotional disconnect between you and the viewer.

Depending on the specific camera that you’re using, HOW you zoom in or out will vary from camera to camera, so you’ll have to check your camera’s user manual for the exact specifics on HOW to do that. However, on most camcorders and professional cameras, you will either press the zoom in or zoom out button on the camera body, or if you are using a camera with a removable lens, then you may need to actually turn the zoom ring on the actual lens itself. Test out your zoom function a few times to get the hang of it, by the day before you plan to record your videos. Your filming process will go much smoother if you’ve prepared ahead of time, by getting to know the functionality of your camera.

FOCUSING:

Next, let’s talk about focusing. When it comes to how to use the focus feature on your camera, it’s going to come down to 1 of 2 options – auto-focus or manual focus. 

With auto-focus, you’re allowing the camera to focus on whatever is in the center of the frame automatically – this is essentially what your Smartphone is doing for you. Also, many of the consumer camcorder-type cameras that you’ll see out there also rely, almost exclusively, on the auto-focus feature.

The other option that you’ll see as you consider stepping up to a more professional video camera, or a DSLR camera, is the ability to use manual focus, where you physically adjust the focus manually, until the on-camera subject is perfectly in focus. In this case, you’re most likely going to be using your naked eye to look into the viewfinder to see what’s in focus.

If manual focusing is an option on your camera, but you’re going to be filming all by yourself (and therefore you may not have someone to focus for you), then your best bet is to go ahead and use the auto-focus feature on the camera, assuming there is one. 

One important tip for HOW to focus your camera (if you’re going to be using manual focus), is to set up your camera and tripod, and then position yourself where you want to be in the shot. Once you’re properly positioned, mark the subject’s spot on the floor with tape (so you make sure to stand in the same spot the whole time). NOTE: you may need to use a test subject if you’re trying to film on your own – like get a coworker or family member to stand in the shot temporarily while you focus. Then, use the camera to zoom in all the way, as far as it will go, on the subject’s face, THEN put the shot in focus, and then zoom back out to set your shot for your video. It’s much easier to see the focus of a shot when you’re zoomed all the way in, then when it’s a wider shot. And depending on how good your eyesight is, it may be easier or harder to tell if your shot is perfectly in focus, so that’s a consideration as well! If you don’t have great eyesight, then get a filming buddy (who does have good eyesight) to do the focusing for you, or simply use a camera with auto-focus! Because the last thing you want is a bunch of videos that are blurry.

When it comes to positioning the camera, there are 2 main things to think about. #1 is the HEIGHT of camera, and #2 is DISTANCE, or how far away from the camera you, as the on-camera subject, should be.

First, let’s talk about the height of the camera:

In general, if you’re doing a talking-head video, whether you’re standing, or you’re sitting, you want to position the camera at approximately eye level. If the camera is positioned too low, you’ll be looking at an upward angle. Not only is this not a very flattering angle, but you’ll see way too much chin, and possibly up the nose.

On the other hand, if the camera is positioned too high, the camera will be looking down on you, which you don’t necessarily want either. It can actually appear to be domineering, and puts you in a weak-looking position.

That said, aim for eye level as the desired height for your camera. However, if you were going to err slightly one way or the other, err on the side of putting the camera slightly above eye level than below (notice we said “slightly”, so don’t go overboard here). Filming with the camera SLIGHTLY above eye level may help you to look less heavy on camera, so if you’re at all self-conscious about your body, this may help you feel slightly better about how you look on camera.

Next, let’s talk about distance to the camera:

As far as how far you should be from the camera itself, aim for positioning yourself about 5-6 feet away if you’re using a camcorder, DSLR, or professional video camera, or about 2-3 feet away (or approximately an arm’s length) if you’re using your phone or your computer. The distance may also be determined by how much of the background you want to see in your shot, but since you have the ability to adjust the framing of your shot by zooming in or out, your distance from the camera doesn’t have to be exact.

Another REALLY important thing to think about when you’re setting up your camera is properly framing your shot – meaning where are YOU, as the on-camera subject, positioned in the frame? Are you centered? Are you positioned slightly off to one side? And how close is your head to the top of the frame?

The framing of a video is something that many viewers find very distracting when it’s done improperly (whether that distraction is conscious or subconscious). And awkward framing is unfortunately very common with so many of the amateur videos that we see out there! But the good news is that it is really easy to get this right, and just paying attention to this subtle aspect of your videos will make a BIG difference in the overall quality of your videos.

First, let’s talk about headroom – or how close your head is to the top of the frame. Ideally, you want there to be a comfortable amount of headroom in your shot. If your head is too close, or even touching the top of the frame, you will look and feel boxed in and cut off. Conversely, if there is too much headroom, then you appear to just be a floating head in the middle, or at the bottom, of the frame.

The best way to control the amount of headroom you leave in the shot, and give a comfortable, pleasing “feel” to the video, is to use what’s known in the industry at the “rule of thirds”. The rule of thirds is a technique that basically divides the visible frame into 9 parts by imagining 2 equally spaced vertical lines, and 2 equally spaced horizontal lines (think of a tic-tac-toe board). The idea is that the most important elements of your shot (in this case, that would be your face) should be placed along these lines, or at the intersection of these lines. Depending on your camera, there may even be a setting that you can turn on to show you the tic-tac-toe style grid in the viewfinder, for you to be able to use when you are framing your shot.

So for your purposes, since you’re doing talking-head videos, YOUR “talking head” is the most important element in the frame, so you would want to place your head along the upper horizontal line (you can see a sample image below).

Regarding centering yourself vs being slightly off center, when it’s just you talking on camera, you can certainly center yourself in the frame, left and right. Or you can even use the rule of thirds to put yourself slightly off center, to one side or the other, which is also a very visually appealing way to frame your shot.

We personally find that for most direct-to-camera talking-head videos, where there is just 1 subject on camera, we like to just position the subject pretty much in the center of the frame left and right, and then position their head along the upper horizontal rule of thirds line. 

Take a look at a properly framed shot using the rule of thirds, including the rule of thirds grid lines:

Good lighting is such a critical part of the video production process. The main goal of good lighting when it comes to filming talking-head videos, is to eliminate any harsh shadows on your face.

In general, for talking-head videos, more light in the room is better. And by that we don’t necessarily just mean the lights that are shining on you, the subject, but also lights that are shining on the background, and in the room in general. We love filming in rooms where there is a ton of natural light lighting up the room and the background!

The easiest way to light yourself for your talking-head videos is to use the natural light in the room and make sure it’s shining directly on your face, and lighting your face evenly. One way to do this is for you to stand with your face facing the window itself, so that the natural light coming in from the window is lighting your face. Keep in mind that this would have you positioned in a spot where we can see the interior of the room as your background, not in a spot where the windows are in the background of your shot.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You DO NOT want to position yourself with your back to a window as this will more than likely make your face and body look darker (providing less light and making it harder to see you), and it will also make the windows appear to be very bright and possibly completely blown out behind you. We know it’s tempting to use the beautiful floor to ceiling windows as your background for your shot, thinking you’ll see clearly the view outside, but that’s rarely the case, unless you’re a trained professional who has lots of lights to work with. Rather, if you have a space with good light coming in, then utilize that natural light to brighten your face, so you don’t need to purchase any additional standing lights.

That said, you will probably want to film your videos during the day, when the lighting is best in the room you are planning to film in. Start to pay attention to the natural light in the room you are thinking of filming in, and keep track of what time of day the lighting is best. Then you can simply plan to film your videos during that specific time of day.

If you do not have enough light coming into the rooms that you are planning to film in, then you may need to acquire some additional lights, or utilize the lights that you already have access to, if you do not want to purchase anything new. The primary goal would be to get light on your face, as evenly as possible, so we can see you clearly and so there are no harsh shadows.

Also, depending on how the room is set up and how much light naturally comes in through the windows, you may also consider utilizing an extra light or two that you can position to shine on the background, which will really make the set look so much nicer, as it adds more life and pop to the shot, and really adds to the overall professional look of your videos.

If you’re considering purchasing lights to use for filming your own videos, see the “Video Equipment” section below for recommendations, and then let us know, so we can give you some recommendations for how to set them up, based on your specific needs.

Let’s talk about microphones! Capturing good audio is SO IMPORTANT to improving the quality of your videos, and along with good lighting, is just as important as using a good camera. Having a video where people can’t hear you does you absolutely no good! And in fact, viewers will forgive poor quality video, before they will forgive poor quality audio. 

If you’re going to be using your phone or your computer, you may not need to connect an external microphone to create a simple talking-head video. However, if you’re planning to record a lot of professional videos over time, having a microphone connected to your phone, or your computer, or another video camera will make a big difference.

If you’re going to be using your computer to record your videos, we’ve included some specific microphone recommendations in the “Video Equipment” section below. If you’re considering using another camera, please let us know, and we’re happy to make other recommendations, based on the type of camera you’re using.

YOUR ON-CAMERA PRESENTATION

5 Tips to Improve Your On-Camera Presentation:

Your overall image plays a big part in how people perceive both you, and the company you work with. How you show up on video matters. It’s sending a message to the audience, intended or not. And remember that you are representing the Armchair Journeys/Welcome Walks Brand – so you want to present yourself in a way that properly reflects that brand, which you are an integral part of.

With regards to what TYPE of clothing to wear, you always want to make sure that your wardrobe is in alignment with the image you’re trying to present to the ideal customer. It doesn’t matter how nice the color of your shirt is, if you’re wearing the wrong type of shirt (i.e. too fancy or too casual), that will turn off customers.

You definitely always want to look professional, based on what a professional in your line of work would wear. So think about what that customer would expect for you to wear, and what would inspire them to want to engage with you and take your tour. We strongly suggest that you wear something that is representative of the local culture in the city you are giving the tour in. This will help the customer have a better overall experience and feel more like they are right there with you, in person, rather than being virtual with you.

In general, when it comes to being on-camera, solid, rich colors look best. Typically, deep shades of blue, purple, pink and green are usually safe choices for most people. (Some people like to refer to these solid, rich colors that look best on-camera as “jewel” tones). 

Pick a color that looks good with your particular skin tone, hair color, or eye color, or that one color that everyone always compliments you on most whenever you wear it! Most of us know what our best color is. By wearing a color that makes your eyes pop, people will notice them more, which will make people feel more attracted to you!

Next, stay away from patterns like florals, stripes, plaids, and checkers. Some of them just don’t look good on camera at all, and they are just too distracting. But others can actually play tricks with the camera lens, so it’s best to steer clear of these whenever possible. As you gain more and more experience on camera, you will know which patterns work, and which ones don’t. But for now, just stick with the solid, rich colors whenever you can, as those are always your safest bet.

Also, stay away from anything super bright (like bright, orangey-red), as it can be distracting and draw attention away from you. And also, stay away from anything very dull, as that may wash you out. For example, white & cream are problematic on certain skin tones, as are pastel colors like light pink, beige, light yellow, etc. Also, we don’t typically recommend wearing all black near your face, as it can actually make you look older. So make sure you have some nice pops of color, especially near your face, which will make you look more energetic and vibrant!

Finally, when choosing your wardrobe, think about the background you’ll be filming in front of. The rule here is that you don’t want to blend into the background. What you want to do is contrast nicely with the background you are filming against, so you will stand out, and so that your image pops on screen. 

Here are some examples of colors that look great on-camera, and were appropriate for the background we were filming in:

Doing your makeup for being on camera is a little bit different than doing makeup in your everyday life. Makeup for being on camera is always slightly heavier because you are typically using lights, or you have natural light on your face, which will make everything a lot more visible and clear. And it’s also because you want your image to POP on camera.

As for makeup tips on camera, a little more than you normally wear is a good rule of thumb. And you may want to use a type of makeup that is thicker than what you normally wear, to cover up the imperfections that will be even more visible with a high-quality camera lens (yes, even your Smartphone!). We recommend slightly more eye makeup than normal, to make your eyes really pop on camera. You don’t need to look like you’re going out on the town, or that you’re glammed up enough to get married, but you may want a little more than what you normally wear around the house or office. Also, slightly more blush to give your cheeks a nice pink color is preferred, as is a slightly darker or more pronounced lip color, as opposed to a really light, neutral or muted tone. In general, you’re trying to create a little more “contrast” than what you may normally wear for typical in-person encounters.

You also want to choose colors, like eye shadows and lip colors for example, that go well with your skin tone, your eye color, your hair color, and that are the right shades to match with the outfits you’re wearing.

With regards to your hair, you may want to get your hair professionally blown out the morning of your video shoot. That way it should hold up and look great all day long, especially if you’re going to be filming a bunch of videos in the same day! It’s fairly inexpensive to do so these days, and it will really add to helping you look and feel your very best on camera.

If you prefer to do your hairstyling yourself, just make sure you feel totally confident with how it looks, as this will certainly impact how you feel. You certainly don’t want your hair to look messy or unkempt, and you definitely don’t want to look back at your videos in a few weeks or months and say, “what was I thinking?” or “why didn’t I get my hair blown out that day?!”

Also, even if you don’t typically use hairspray or styling gel, you may want to use a bit on your filming days, as this will help to keep your hair in place, so you don’t have to constantly mess with it. You also want to try to keep your hair out of your eyes and off your face, so you’re not constantly having to brush your hair aside while you’re talking on camera. Watching your hair fall on your face, or watching you constantly brush it away can be really distracting for the viewer, and for you, as you’re delivering your content.

Once you’re all ready to record, do a quick double-check to make sure your makeup looks good on camera, that the lip color you chose looks right, that your hair is falling exactly the way you want it to, and that in general, you feel like you look amazing! And finally, ask yourself, “if I were watching this video, would I be inspired to hear from me, and take a tour with me?” And if the answer is “Hell, Yes!”, then you can proceed with your filming!

Make sure that whatever you choose to wear, that you feel comfortable, beautiful, and “at your best”. It’s so important that you feel comfortable in your clothing, because how you’re feeling will come across on camera. It’s in your eyes, it’s in your body language, your facial expressions, it’s even in how you speak – the tone of your voice, your intonation, how fast or slow you speak, and so on. People who are watching can tell how you’re feeling!

Viewers will pick up on your comfort, or your discomfort. If you feel uncomfortable, you’re going to make them feel uncomfortable, and if you make them feel uncomfortable, they aren’t going to want to watch your videos! So if you’re wearing something that you feel like you don’t look good in, or it’s just not you, or it’s too tight, or it’s too frumpy, or it’s just not how you want to come across, you should definitely change your outfit! Wear something that makes you feel good, that you feel proud to be seen in, that you actually want to show off in – like you want people to look at your video, just so they can see how good you look 🙂

Another thing to think about when it comes to your wardrobe, is what position you will be in when delivering your content, as that will affect your wardrobe choices as well. Will you be standing up, or sitting down? If you’re sitting down, make sure you wear something that you feel comfortable sitting down in, and that you’re not self-conscious about how your stomach looks in it, or how your clothes will fall on your body. Also think about if you’re going to be seen full-body, or only from the waist up. Knowing answers to these questions ahead of time, will help you narrow your choices about what to wear.

And with regards to wearing shoes, some people say it makes them feel more professional when they have their work shoes on, so even if their feet will not be seen in the shot, they like to wear shoes while they film. Other people just want to be as comfortable as possible throughout the filming process, so they wear their slippers or Ugg boots while they film. It’s totally up to you! Just be aware that if there is a chance that your feet are going to be seen in the shot, then you’ll want to be in the appropriate foot attire, so you don’t throw your viewer off. The last thing you want to do is have something going on in your video that seems “out of place,” because then your viewer will be too distracted with what looks “wrong” to pay attention to everything that’s right. Again, it’s human nature to look for the mistakes and flaws, so don’t give your viewers any reasons or excuses NOT to pay attention to your amazing content.

One more quick tip: a great habit to get into before you do a video, or before you go on stage, is to stand in what’s called the “Power Pose” – some people refer to it a the “Superhero Pose.” Get a good, firm footing. Stand up tall, put your hands on your hips, stick out your chest – just like you’re a superhero. Stand in this pose for at least a minute before you do your videos, and see how you feel. It literally changes your physical and mental body. It makes you feel more confident, more badass, and gets you fired up and ready to go!

Check out samples below of some POWER POSE SHOTS for inspiration:

YOUR FILMING LOCATION

5 Tips to Choosing the Right Filming Location for Your Videos:

Before you start filming anything, you want to make sure that you choose both the right location, and the right background within that location, that is appropriate for the intention of your videos. In general, think about a setting that is both on-brand for the company, and makes sense with the content of the tour video(s) you’re filming.

For example, if you can choose a spot that represents the culture of the city your tour is about, that would be amazing and add so much value to your video. If the city you’re touring has a certain style of architecture and there is a room or space in your home or office, or wherever you’re planning to film your tour, that gives the viewer the sense of where you are and is also inviting and interesting to look at, that would be the ideal situation as a filming spot. And if you don’t have the perfect space, then maybe you can create more of a tour city-like feeling in your space, by strategically placing props in the shot that make it feel like your location also properly represents the tour city, in addition to properly representing your personal image as the tour guide.

Keep in mind that the visuals you create have the power to make or break the effectiveness of your tour videos. Whether they acknowledge it as important or not, all human beings are constantly judging what they see. It’s human nature! The goal for your tour videos should be to inspire your viewers during your tour, and also to inspire them to take more action, after watching your tour. For example, they are much more likely to want to continue to experience your tour, and to experience more tours from Armchair Journeys/Welcome Walks, IF they feel excited by what you’ve created for them. That said, the more thought you put into this ahead of time to create the perfect background and setting for your tour customer, the more successful your tour will be. And believe it or not, your background and filming location have a lot to do with that.

Below are some examples of some shots that are both appropriate to the subject matter, and inspiring to look at:

Gayle Theodora Drake

Filming outdoors can be beautiful, but it can also be VERY problematic. In general, if you’re filming talking-head videos, then we typically recommend that you do NOT attempt to film those videos outside, for the simple reason that there are certain inherent challenges with outdoor shooting, many of which you won’t be able to anticipate ahead of time, and that you simply won’t be able to control.

Here are some things that typically happen outside, that you probably won’t be expecting: loud construction noise, loud or distracting wind, rain, bright sunshine, extreme heat that makes you sweaty, gardeners, tree trimmers, noisy neighbors, distracting delivery trucks, loud music, dogs barking, kids playing, loud birds, helicopters, planes, buses, trains, motorcycles, and more… you get the picture. So, unless you’re filming something that HAS to be done outside, or you have a very controlled and very quiet outdoor environment, you’re probably better off staying indoors when filming your videos.

One way to increase the production value of your videos is to give your shots some depth, as opposed to filming right up against a wall, or a bookcase. Try some test shots, and see what you think of the difference when you sit or stand a few feet in front of your background, vs 10-20 feet in front of your background.

Depth makes your video seem open, and makes your lifestyle seem more abundant. So, whenever possible, find a location that is in a larger room, where you can see some or all of the space in the background of the shot. Because having a nice looking space, with depth to it, looks more rich, and luxurious, and inspiring than just shooting up against a plain wall.

Take a look at some examples of shots with good depth:

Lakeshia Ekeigwe Chellie Campbell

The first rule of decorating your set is to keep it simple. Keep it uncluttered. Not only will it be easier for you to set up on your filming days, it also won’t be as distracting and overwhelming for your viewers. Just because you have 8 different really cool Buddha heads, and 6 different beautifully colored orchids at your filming location, doesn’t mean that you need to use them ALL in each video.

Take a minimalist approach to your decorating, strategically adding in props that are appropriate to your subject matter, and that look good in the space you’re in. In most cases, less is more. And, it’s also important that you have the right size, shape and color items for the space you’re filming in.

Set decoration is an art, so it may take a little bit of practice to get this right. And it’s also amazing how moving a prop, or your chair just a few inches in one direction can make such a big difference. But in general, the rule is that you don’t want to distract or take away from your image (which is what your viewer should be paying the most attention to). However, you do want to add visual value in a complementary and relevant way. So try things out until you get it right. It typically takes a little while to set up and get the shot just right, but then once you do, you can rest assured that all your videos will look amazing, in your properly designed background.

Below are some examples of some shots that are not too cluttered, and a few that also have some appropriate props added into the shot:

Christina Weber

Finally, as your last step, once you have everything set up, look at the set through the camera lens one last time to make sure everything looks right. We also suggest that you record yourself for a few seconds, so you can see the shot with you physically sitting or standing in it. The reason to do this is that everything looks different to the naked eye than it does through the camera lens. You might need to move that candle 2 inches to the left, or move that chair 6 inches to the right, so you don’t have a plant coming out of the top of your head.

Don’t ever skip this step, no matter how much of a hurry you’re in. Because we promise that it will take much less time to fix it now, before you film, than to have to re-film all your videos later on, because after you looked at the footage you realized that you absolutely hated how the set looked!

YOUR ON-CAMERA CONFIDENCE & DELIVERY

5 Tips to Improve Your On-Camera Confidence & Delivery:

The secret to becoming great on camera is to take the focus off of yourself.

Here’s the golden rule of on-camera delivery: It’s not about YOU, it’s about THEM. Stay focused on helping and serving your audience with what it is that you do.

This might sound counterintuitive since you are the one appearing on-camera, but remember that you are not filming videos for yourself – you’re doing it for all the people out there who want and need what you have to offer.

If you can stay present to the wants and needs of your tour customers, then all of those reasons for why you’d rather not put yourself in front of the camera will quickly disappear.

Your audience wants to hear from you and wants to stay engaged in the experience you’re creating for them, so stay focused on speaking directly to them, and giving them a great experience and you’ll have engaged and happy viewers who are excited to take your tour, as well as a company that’s excited to hire you again!

One thing that will calm you down a lot when it comes to delivering video content on-camera, is to set the intention that you’re not talking to a hundred people, or a thousand people, or a million people. All you need to do is simply focus on talking to 1 person.

Try this: Picture your ideal tour customer in your mind, and keep them in your thoughts while you are delivering your video content, and always remember that you are creating your videos to communicate with, or enhance the life of, just that 1 single person.

Put yourself in their shoes, and know that what each person wants is simply to feel connected personally with you. If you think about it, you are truly only talking to 1 single person at a time – each person who is individually watching that specific video! And of course, if you’re lucky, and your tour video gets good reach, then that experience will end up being multiplied many, many times over, so that you’re able to give many people an exciting and powerful experience. But from the viewer’s perspective, it’s just them and you. So, all you need to do is connect with that one target person, and everyone who is watching will feel very well taken care of!

Whenever you’re delivering content on camera, always start with a smile on your face. The only real exception to this rule is if you’re talking about something very serious, sad, or tragic, where it would be completely inappropriate to start with a smile – like a news anchor delivering devastating news to the public. However, if you’re doing tour videos, then chances are you don’t need to worry about that.

Being on-camera is different than being in person (i.e. you need slightly more dramatic makeup AND facial expressions than you use every day) so again, always start with a smile, even if it feels a little bit over-dramatic or overdone from the emotion that you would normally be expressing on your face in that circumstance, in real life. We promise that you will like how you look so much better on camera if you start with a smiling face, rather than with a straight face, which actually reads more like a frowny face on camera! And, we would rather have you seem a little bit too happy and excited in your videos, than not happy or excited enough.

Think of it this way, the audience is feeling your energy, and whatever you’re transmitting, they’re receiving. So you are giving a little bit extra “personality” in service to them. If fact, you may feel a little bit drained after filming, and that’s because if you’re really giving it your all, then you’re expending and sharing a lot of extra energy for others to receive. And on that note, don’t forget to fill your cup back up after you’re done!

It’s all about eye contact! When you’re delivering your direct-to-camera videos, it’s so important to look directly into the camera lens, so your viewer feels like you’re talking directly to them. Think of it like you’re having a one-on-one conversation with a friend. You would typically look directly into someone’s eyes, so you can connect with them the most effectively, so that’s exactly what you should do when you’re speaking to the camera (for a direct-to-camera style video).

This skill is a little easier to remember to do when you’re filming with a camcorder, or a DSLR camera, or a professional video camera, where you can’t really miss seeing the lens. However, it’s equally important to remember this tip when you’re filming using your computer, iPhone or another smartphone.

If you’re filming with your iPhone or your computer, resist the urge to look at yourself on the screen, and instead just focus on looking directly into the camera lens while you deliver your content. It will take some getting used to, but you’ll get the hang of it in no time! Remember, it’s about THEM, not about you or how you look moment by moment.

Before you start speaking, and also between takes, make sure you ground yourself and connect with your heart, or whatever other higher power you believe in (God, The Universe, your angels & guides, your inner being, etc.) Take a deep breath in (focus on breathing IN positive, happy and grounded energy), and then breathe OUT any nervous energy or any thoughts or feelings that are not serving you in this moment. If you still feel anxious, remind yourself of why you’re doing this, and who you’re trying to help and serve, and how excited you are about the opportunity to share your message with people who really need and value what you have to say. Throughout your filming, try to stay grounded in your service to others and your passion for what you do.

Keep in mind that nothing will help you to engage with people on video more than if you are coming across as passionate about your city and what you have to share. The whole point of you doing video in the first place is to connect powerfully with other people, so you can get, and keep, happy customers. Everybody loves to have an experience with someone who is passionate about what they do.

YOUR VIDEO EQUIPMENT

Click here to view specific pieces of video equipment that we recommend for filming your videos. These are all items that we have either used ourselves, or have extensively researched, and feel confident recommending to others.

Since there are a lot of different options available, it’s important to make sure that the items that you choose are compatible with each other.

We assume that you’re most likely going to use your phone, tablet, or computer to film. However, if you have any specific questions about other cameras, or other pieces of equipment, please feel free to reach out to us for further support.

Finally, before purchasing anything, it’s always a great idea to read product reviews online, to see what other people who have purchased these items have to say about their personal experiences.

We will keep this list updated to make sure that as new products become available, you’ll be able to easily find them here.