Being specialists in promotional video we often get asked for advice on making videos for the web, especially when it comes to standing in front of the lens and talking to the camera (and by extension the entire world! This is not the time to panic.) There are common mistakes and pitfalls that can be avoided with the right preparation. Whether you’re filming yourself or working with a crew, how can you make sure your personality shines through,and you don’t melt into a quivering puddle in front of the lens?

Based on our experience we’ve provided a list of 6 video tips to follow.

1. Prepare what you’re going to say

Sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many people turn up without planning what they want to say. We’re not talking a manuscript here, but some clear and concise bullet points to keep you on track can make all the difference.

Don’t rant. Keep it short and simple. Presenting a message in a concise and clear way is a skill, but armed with those notes you’ll be ready to work your magic without losing track or forgetting important points.

If your message easily splits into different categories, or you think your video is going to be a tad long, try dividing it up into shorter video chapters and making a playlist. The added bonus is that you’ll have more content to offer which you can release over time, bringing your viewers back for more.

2. Know your call to action

What do you want people to do when the video ends? Maybe you want them to subscribe to your channel, visit your website or contact you? Whatever you want the outcome to be make sure to finish the video with a Call To Action that’s easy to follow. If you’re adding more information and external links in the description of the video make sure you direct them there in your video. Make sure to let your viewers know you have more to offer, and where they can find it.

3. Relax and be yourself

Easier said than done?

When we’re interviewing people on camera we don’t expect them to nail everything in the first take. Often it takes a little time to get comfortable and find the flow.

When talking to camera it can feel daunting and awkward at first, especially with an audience of co-workers watching you. It’s important to feel comfortable, so evict those nosy parkers and find a space where you can feel comfortable. You’ll probably get it wrong first time. That’s ok! The quicker you can accept it will take a multiple goes to get it right, the better the outcome will be.

Take a few deep breaths, forget the crew and equipment and just focus on how you’re going to start. Taking a little time to feel comfortable before the camera rolls will make for a more natural presentation, and the video will be all the better for it. Try to be yourself and have fun with the entire process; people like to see your personality and it will shine through on camera.

Breathing exercise! Synchronise your inhalation and exhalation to follow the expansion and contraction of the shape. This will help you focus on creating nice, deep breaths. (If it stops moving, breathe normally!)

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4. Get to know the camera

We realise the lens can seem scary at first which is why we insist you take a look at it before we shoot. Whether you’re using your own camera or being filmed by a crew, take some time to look at the camera, get used to what it looks like and what lights turn on so it’s less alien to you.

There are two benefits to doing this. The first is that you’ll feel more comfortable and the second is that your eyes are less likely to wander around, desperate to stare at it during recording. Unless of course you’re meant to be talking directly into the camera, then carry on!

5. Repetition, repetition, repetition

If all the breathing exercises in the world haven’t stopped your voice from shaking, and you’re still embarrassed to start talking even though you’re practically locked in a broom cupboard with a camera so no-one can see you, my tip to you is repetition.

Like everything in life, the build up is the worst, and getting started is the toughest part. All I can say is Just Start. Do it. Go for it. Once you get going you’ll get into a rhythm, you’ll feel calmer and maybe even start to enjoy it! So the first take was a bit rubbish, your voice was shaky and you said ‘Uhm’ 32 times. Ok, do it again. And again. By the third take you’ll not only be a pro at talking into that lens, you’ll also know your message inside out and upside down so you’ll be delivering it in a more natural way without any pauses or awkward silences.

6. If all else fails…

Can’t get it right in a single take? Say something really stupid in the middle of that otherwise perfect take?

Just edit it out. It’s that simple. But, don’t launch straight back into a retake as soon as you feel you’ve got it wrong. Take a breath and leave a bit of gap in between attempts. This will make editing a lot easier.

And above all…

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