Getting started with video

Embracing progress over perfection

I’m just getting started with video. A couple of weeks ago, I spent two FULL working days on a 30-second promotional video for a Facebook ad.  TWO DAYS!!!! And in the end, I was so frustrated that I didn’t even use it!

There’s no doubt that video is the medium to use to get yourself out there. Whether you’re promoting a brand, product or personal service, video is where it’s at! Just look at your Facebook feed, there’s so much video being shared. In fact, all the social platforms now have some option to do a live feed or custom video sharing.

My 3 reasons for getting started with video

  1. I’ve tried to blog regularly. But I write slowly, so I’m trying video because I can talk instead of type!
  2. It’s important for my brand that people get to know me.
  3. Video content is widely shared and consumed online, especially on social media.

I’m not an expert. Far from it! But by just doing live broadcasts and recordings, even a few times I’ve learned a bunch of things! And I’d like to share them with you.

Content and tone

Decide on the purpose of your video

  • What do you want people to learn from this piece?
  • Prepare the key points on queue cards or post-its so that you can refer to them while remaining focused.
  • And don’t forget to mention your call-to-action. What would you like people to do as a result of your video.

If you’re doing a video as a blog post to save time (like me), don’t get caught up with editing. Do preparation instead. Decide what on what point you need to get across, make some preliminary notes and go for it. With my endeavors so far, I’ve tried to do a maximum of 3 takes. If I don’t get it in 3 takes, I stop and reschedule it for an another time. If you just keep going, it starts to get weird and unnatural. If you’re against a deadline and have to keep going, do short takes and edit them together into one piece. Bear in mind you’ll have to do some video editing and rewatch everything to make sure it’s consistent, so it’s much more time-consuming.

If you’re doing a live stream. Have notes to refer to. I’ve done some online workshops and Facebook live streams and my notes save me every time. The 3, 2, 1 countdown can be as exciting as it is nerve-wracking, so it’s easy to totally lose your thread. I always try to create content (video or otherwise) that is useful in some way. I don’t want to waste people’s time by waffling off on a tangent, so I keep my notes handy at all times to be sure that I stick to the topic as much as possible. People are more inclined to watch a 3-minute piece rather than a 30 minute one!

When you’re doing a promotional video that needs to look professional, script it, but try to stay natural. That was my mistake when I lost 2 days on the ad video. I scripted it and tried to recite it word for word. I ended up falling all over my words and when I re-watched the ‘good’ take, it was stiff and didn’t sound like me at all!

If you can’t memorise everything, pop your notes up around where the camera is, or use an ‘auto queue’ app.

Setup

  • I most just record in my office. Even if it looks a bit messy! A plain white wall can be a bit boring and won’t really show anything about your personality or brand. Detail in the background is fine as long as there isn’t too much going on to distract from what you’re saying.
  • I actually just use my phone to record because it connects directly to my YouTube account. I could use my computer’s built-in camera, but I don’t like the harsh light it captures.
  • I plan to use my digital camera and proper microphone for future videos, but that adds extra editing time to the job and at the moment, I don’t have time! So my phone is good enough until I get more serious about video publications.

Progress over perfection

Getting started with video can be fun if you don’t get too caught up in getting it just right. If you’re like me, you don’t have a dedicated studio and team of people to help you set up and shoot. If you have a smartphone, you have everything you need. Just do some preparation and go for it. It won’t be perfect.

The more videos I do, the more relaxed I feel. I like that people can get to know me and understand more about how I work without having to read a services description on my site.

Sharing, ah sharing. I’m still reluctant to share my videos, but I do it anyway. Otherwise, what’s the point! It’s kind of embarrassing to know that anyone in the world can see what you published, but it’s an amazing opportunity for brand awareness and building trust.

Have you been meaning to get started with video? What are you struggling with? Presentation? Tech?

I’ve created a short tutorial about the tools I use for my super-simple videos. It’s quite imperfect, but the point is that, if I can do it, anyone can!

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