3 Simple Changes You Can Make to Help You Record Better Videos
The other day, while scrolling through Facebook (bad habit), I got a notification that one of my friends had just started a live broadcast. So, being the supportive friend I was (and also to spy), I clicked the button to tune in.
Have you ever done the same thing? Or, have you found yourself on the other side, and you tapped the “Go Live” button?
As you've probably seen, not all live videos are done well. And, to give you a few tips, I've come up with three simple changes you can make today to help you make better videos, starting with your next one.
In full disclosure, I've done some pretty bad live streams. I've also recorded bad video, put it through the editing process, and still chose to upload bad video.
But we all have to start somewhere.
Also, please note that these three simple changes apply to not only live streams but to any time you sit in front of any camera and hit record.
3 Simple Tricks to Help You Make Better Videos
NOTE: I know there's a video embedded above that you could watch, but the info below is NOT just a transcript. I'd recommend reading AND watching.
Tip #1: Position Your Camera Above Eye Level
A simple trick to make you look alert and more engaged is to place your camera just above eye level. Ideally, about 2-3 inches above your direct line of sight.
When you do, your eyes will open wider (since you're forcing yourself to look up). Also, as a bonus, if your camera is higher than you, you're likely to sit up a little straighter too, and good posture is something we should all strive toward!
Just by placing your camera above eye level you'll start to make better videos. Elevate your camera; elevate your videos 😉
To do this, you could mount your camera on a tripod. Here's the tripod I use with my Canon 80D DSLR. You could also simply put your camera, laptop, or phone on a stack of books or a box. If you don't have a good way to prop your phone up, or if you're looking for something a little more professional. I just bought this smaller Manfrotto tripod, and this cell phone grip to mount on it.
For basically $25, you can eliminate shaky videos and mount your camera above eye level.
Tip #2: Use a LOT of lighting
As humans, our eyes are pretty amazing, and they adjust to all sorts of lighting conditions. We're not as good as a cat, but we can see pretty well in the dark after our eye holes adjust.
Cameras… not so much.
Most cameras are REALLY BAD at capturing clear images and recording clean videos when there's not enough light. What we might think is ok is actually really bad for a camera.
When there's not enough light, photos will start to look blurry, grainy, and like they were shot in the 1970s on a cheap Polaroid.
If your videos aren't crisp and clear, you need more light.
In my studio in Cincinnati, I have the luxury of having three 8 foot windows lighting my recording area. However, when I was recording at our home in Round Rock, I only had a small side window to let in the natural light from outside.
If you don't have windows, or, if you want a little more control over your lighting, I recommend grabbing a few cheap construction lights and clamping them to your bookshelves, window sills, or to the edge of your desk so your face is well lit.
Bottom line: you probably need better lighting in your videos. In fact, on a recent mastermind call, one of my clients asked me what I was doing to get such great video. He asked me if I'd gotten a new webcam, and, if so, which one! All I'd done was open the blinds to let more light in.
Tip #3: Use a Microphone
You can have mediocre video quality, but if your audio is bad, people won't watch. Half of video quality is audio quality. If people can't hear you, they won't stick around to see what's going on.
Can I say it any clearer? LOL.
Even older TV shows you might find on Netflix, like Frasier, favorite of ours, has clear audio. Though the show was shot in 480p resolution almost 30 years ago, the conversations between characters are clear and we can hear them easily without turning the sound all the way up on the television.
If you have a camera with a hot shoe mount, grab a shotgun mic like this Rode VideoMic Pro. It's the one I've been using a ton lately, and I love it!
If you're just using a cell phone or tablet, grab a lavalier mic like this Rode SmartLav+.
BONUS Tip #4: Increase Your Energy
Your audience will feed off of your energy. If your energy is low, your audience will tune you out. The bonus tip is to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to bring your energy up.
You don't have to be a maniac on screen, but low energy levels indicate a lack of passion and a disinterest in your topic.
As I mentioned in the video above, I used to be really bad at this. I'm typically a pretty low-energy, mellow person anyway. But in front of the camera, it was like a dead fish or an Easter Island statue. I was boring, and I struggled to get people to watch my videos.
If you need to, do 20 seconds of jumping jacks before you hit record. Get your blood flowing and you'll breathe new life into your videos.
If you can't do jumping jacks, at the very least, stand up for your videos. When we sit, our chest and lungs compress, and our breaths are shorter and closer together so we take in less oxygen. All of these things lower energy levels. And, as a result, we're less animated, we use our hands less, and we're not as entertaining as we could or should be.
Creating videos to market your business and to share your message is a great way to connect with your audience. However, done poorly, you can undermine your authority and expertise.
While you don't need studio-quality video, shots that look like you have a full production company behind you, a bad video will make you look amateurish and like you don't care about your business.
I hope these tips help you make better videos! If they do, let me know in the comments below. If not, let me know that too, but let me know what worked for you!