In Our Opinion

Going on camera? Look behind you.

By September 11, 2015 January 21st, 2019 No Comments

Watching a “talking head” promote an upcoming conference, I was struck not by the quality of the content but instead, by the speaker’s environment. Specifically, it looked like he was recording the video from within a moving mobile home, complete with wood paneling and circa 1986 television screen.

With interest in using video as a marketing tool increasing – did you know Marketing Profs declared 2015 the “year of video marketing?” –  more and more people are turning on the web cam and recording videos.

While I’d like to tell you that all that matters is the content, the truth is the image you project through these videos is also important. Here’s the good news – it doesn’t take much to create a video that looks as good as the content it contains:

Check your background Beyond my initial example of the man in the wood paneled box, I’ve seen videos with people who are clearly standing in hallways, or seem to be surrounded by clutter and chaos. Turn on your camera and check out what the camera sees behind you.

Raise your camera (and your head) If you are looking down at your laptop, you can also give the impression you are looking down on the viewer. Move the camera up so you are looking into (or even slightly up at) the camera – this will also avoid the ceiling shots that are in so many videos.

Light it up Unless you are looking to create a certain mood – turn on the lights!

Current Geek

Do as I say, not as I do – the author, pictured lower right, on a 2014 episode of Current Geek, recording with bad lighting and a bad angle.

Move your body, not your room A slightly swaying camera can make the viewer a bit queasy – which is fine if that’s the effect you are going for, as with film makers utilizing a “shaky cam” – but might not be what you are looking to achieve.

Watch and listen Create a test clip so you can listen, as well as watch, what the final product will look and sound like. If the audio sounds echo-y, consider switching from your camera’s internal mic to an external version or headset to capture the audio.

Here are some examples to inspire your video setup:

Morning Stream

Perfectly cluttered – Scott Johnson and Brian Ibbott, hosts of The Morning Stream, have backgrounds that work for the tone of their show.

Look for your logo – A wall with your logo or other corporate identity can make a perfect backdrop (assuming it’s also quiet enough for recording).

Mother Nature provides – Don’t have a good place to record? Head outside as CC Chapman does in this video.

Kristin's new setup

My new setup – Next time I’ll be ready with a new accent wall, good lighting and a properly placed camera.