In attempting to conquer video marketing, I decided that I needed to buckle down and spend some time learning how to easily produce a “good looking” video. I’ve sat down with first my FLIP and now my Kodak Zi8 and tried to “whip out” a few videos for video marketing – none of which have been very good. And no wonder – there are some things we all need to know in order to make ourselves and our videos look a bit better.
Oprah once showed in one of the editions of her magazine the entire process of exactly how she gets ready for a cover shoot. It takes a team. She has experts in lighting, photography, wardrobe, and makeup all working hard to create what appears to be a natural, spur-of-the-moment shot. For most of us, trying to equal what takes her days and thousands of dollars to produce in our own homes is impossible! But that doesn’t mean we can’t make a few changes and strategic investments to help our “natural” self look a little (or a lot!) better.
Here are four tips that I’ve found (and will be working on in subsequent videos):
1. Lighting. When it comes to lighting, more isn’t necessarily better. A ton of fluorescent lighting can actually be harsh and make you appear washed out, wrinkled, and (are you ready for this?) old. The better option is natural lighting. Position yourself near a large window, with the sun filtering in (not shining directly on you – you don’t want to be squinting like me in my first attempt at video marketing here!). Take a few sample snips of video at different times of day, and see what looks the most natural (I have done this at home and know what time of day in various rooms is best to shoot video). Try to film your video at these times for the most flattering light.
2. Wardrobe. It’s all about the clothes! Now, don’t run out to go shopping for a whole new wardrobe, just give some thought to what you’re wearing for successful video marketing.
a. Most video tends to be shot from the waist-up, so keep in mind the neckline of your shirt or blouse, and the graphics or words on your T-shirt.
b. Match your clothing to your area of expertise; if you’re talking about a creative topic like art or design, you can get a little funky. If you’re addressing a more professional audience, say, in the financial or legal field, you’re going to inspire more confidence if you look professional, tailored, and a bit more conservative. If you’re in the medical field, wear your white coat or scrubs. If you’re a personal trainer, wear your gym clothes.
c. Understated is best; you don’t want to distract from your message. Look at what newscasters and TV personalities wear – solid colors, understated designs, and simple jewelry. There’s a reason for that. If you wear a shirt with a wild pattern, it draws the eye away from you to your clothing. While that may, in theory, sound like a good idea, it really doesn’t work. Try out a few different colors and styles in quick video snips to see what looks best on you – and what you feel highlights your best qualities.
3. Makeup. OK Men, you’re pretty much off the hook for this – though there are plenty of on-camera males who sneak in a little powder and self-tanners… Ladies, if you’re used to going bare-faced, you may want to consider using a little bit of product to even out your skin tone, accentuate your eyes, and help you from appearing washed out. Don’t overdo it, (I’m always afraid of overdoing it and still have not found the happy medium of looking natural – generally I look washed out so maybe on the next video I’ll get it right)! Doing a test video or two with different makeup shades can help you decide what looks best on you.
4. Setting. I’ve seen successful videos shot in front of a gorgeous lake view in my hometown of Lake Arrowhead, in a home office, in a kitchen, or on location for a special event. In general, it’s easier to control sound and lighting (and curious passers-by) if you film indoors, at home. Choose a location that provides some visual interest – a bookshelf, a wall of photos, etc. – but isn’t overwhelming. As with your wardrobe, choose a location that is in sync with your area of expertise. A trainer might want to head to the gym. A teacher would be more believable in front of a whiteboard. A cook in the kitchen… you get the picture! Do check the background to make sure the camera won’t pick up something that you didn’t notice – like a massive stack of papers in your inbox or something lying around your home before shooting any long videos in that location.
BUT, whatever you do, don’t let your quest for perfection get in the way of you actually shooting video and participating in video marketing. Do the best you can with what you have on-hand, and don’t delay until:
- You lose 10 lbs.
- Get a haircut
- Buy new clothes.
Do it now! Strike while the video marketing iron is hot (and don’t be camera shy!) and make your mark as a video marketer extraordinaire!!