Heading into the new year, I wanted to find new ways to engage with members of my community. The one that has caught fire with me has been video. I now do a semi regular Google Hangout and I send a Vsnap to a new person every day.
Video is a great way to communicate with your community in a new, deeper level. It is also shaping up to be the darling of 2013 and beyond. For a beginner, it can also be a non stop blooper reel. Before you go out and buy all your video equipment, please note: all the video I do is 100% mobile. I film everything on my Android phone or my iPad.
Here are some things I’ve been picking up as I go:
Have a plan
You want to make sure you are not jumping into doing video just for the sake of doing video. The first thing is to decide a purpose for what you are doing. Are you doing video greetings to engage community members? Teaching them something? Entertaining them? You need to have a clear idea of why you are there.
Once you do decide what the reasons behind your video are, plan out what you are going to say before you sit down to film. A full scripting is not always necessary, unless you are creating a longer presentation but even then you want to make sure you are showing your personality. I will jot my list down on a Post It and put it where I can read while filming with a quick glance.
Be seen and be HEARD
“Make sure the first thing you invest in (if anything) is audio. Bad audio drives people away faster than bad picture quality.”
A small external mic can help you get clear audio for your video. Don’t forget to speak clearly!
I also think it is important to be as properly lit as possible whether you are filming a video or even participating in a Google+ Hangout. Don’t film in a dimly lit room as it will look darker on the video. Make sure you are front lit and do not have an open window (or other light source) behind you.
Put your best face forward
Or at least, make sure it shows up. Before you press record, check your framing. Take a moment to ensure you do not cut off your chin or your forehead and keep it in focus. Try and keep your device as steady as possible with a tripod or standing it still on a solid, non moving, surface. If you are filming with a smartphone, try to steady it by parking your elbow on the desk.
What is going on behind you? Try to keep what is going on in the background at a minimum if you can help it. Don’t aim the camera so you have a plant or a lamp growing out of the back of your head.
These are a simple and basic way to start dipping your toes into social video. I find the repetition of filming one every day helps me not only pick up on what works and what does not, it also helps me to get more comfortable in front of the camera. It’s cliche because it’s true “practice makes perfect”
One more tip from Aaron
“Be confident. Be concise. Don’t use stupid fonts. Don’t try and be clever. Using beginner software will limit you, but you can level the playing field a bit by keeping the whole thing simple.”
Now, what is going to be your first video project?
*Please no one tell him I call him that behind his back ;)