Whether it’s an explainer video, for vlogs, interviews, presentations, tutorials, product reviews, or video testimonials, video is dominating the internet. 54% of consumers want to see more video content online (Oberlo) and, as a business, it’s in your own interest to explore that.
As a PR agency, we’re finding more and more journalists and publications are requesting video footage of our clients as video becomes a huge influence on consumer decisions. But recording ourselves on video when we aren’t familiar with the experience can be daunting. It can feel strange talking to a camera and ‘acting natural’ suddenly doesn’t feel so easy. But it doesn’t have to be so challenging. Today we’re sharing 8 tips to record yourself on video with confidence.
Check the requirements
Double check all the requirements beforehand. How long should the video be? When is it needed for? What format would they like it in?What’s their key objective? Are there any examples of similar videos? Will it be edited (usually, yes, but it’s worth asking)? If it’s done through a PR consultancy, they should fill in all of these gaps.
Avoid using webcams if possible
Once a staple of online calls, webcams often provide poor quality footage and so are best avoided. A camera is ideal but a smartphone works just as well and can be extremely straightforward to use as you’ll already be familiar with it. The camera at the front of the phone is usually better. To avoid issues with being out of frame since you won’t be able to see yourself, you can use the timer to take some photos first and check your positioning.
Use a clean or aesthetically relevant background.
You’ll want to use a background that doesn’t distract from the topic and content of the video. A plain wall or a tidy study or living room area are usually good options. Watch out for objects interfering with the edges. Think about the image you want to convey. Is it professional, relatable, relaxed or serious?
Have plenty of light
Film with a window behind the camera if you can to get plenty of natural light. It’s usually the most flattering angle, too. Side lighting can create shadows and can also be aging. Be careful to avoid filming in a dark room.
Avoid shaky footage
This can easily be avoided by using a stand or propping the camera up with something steady and stable. If you do a lot of filming, a smartphone tripod could be a good investment – expect to pay around £15 for a good one. We would also recommend trying to shoot from a few different angles and turning on the grid if that helps, to avoid wonky footage.
Check your audio is clear and crisp.
Be aware that bigger and emptier rooms will echo, there may be background noise (some ambient noises aren’t so bad – like birds chirping – but shouting and a dog barking, not so much).
Practice your camera presence
You can do this by filming some videos no one will ever see. After all, practice makes perfect. You can pick up on distractions you wouldn’t know about otherwise – are you waving your hands around or moving quite a bit? Having a loose script can also help with confidence however be careful not to become robotic and read directly from a piece of paper. Think of it like presentation notes – prompts rather than essays.
Leave long and obvious pauses between mistakes
If you’re editing the piece this can really help you make simple and cleaner cuts post-production. Don’t be afraid to say a section again if you get it wrong first time. There are plenty of free to use basic video editors that can be useful but if you don’t feel confident with this, don’t worry and pass the footage along to someone who is. Most publications do edits themselves but do double check, as above.
It’s okay not to get it first time. Remember that in the moment of filming, you’re along in a room. No one has to see your mistakes. You only have to send them your best shot.
We hope that these tips have empowered and enabled you to feel confident in your ability to produce a great self-recorded video. Our tips on preparing for journalist interviews are also hugely relevant here in terms of creating the content of the video. And here are some general PR tips for small businesses.