On Camera Video

On-camera video is exactly what it sounds like — you, or an instructor, is shown on camera. Your video camera should be high-definition quality. Most camcorders available today are.

Before you buy a video camera, there are certain things to consider. Make sure that the video can be saved as a file on a memory card, making it easier to transfer. And the file format must be compatible with your editing software.

Remember that the better the quality of your camera, the better your video.

Now let’s talk about the microphone. Sound is extremely important for video. And just like I don’t recommend you use your computer mic for your audio, don’t use a built-in camcorder mic for your video.

There are couple of microphones that can enhance your video recording. I purchased a high-quality boom mic that is mounted on the camera. It wasn’t until this course, when I was converting video files to audio, that I noticed the ambient noise the boom mic was picking up. This was a result of my recording conditions, but that is no excuse.

This brings us back to Module One, where I reminded you that nothing is perfect. In an effort to keep moving forward and help people seeking information, I elected not to get pulled down the rabbit hole of rerecording all the completed course videos. That would have amounted to hundreds of hours of work for something most people would never care about.

Instead, I took appropriate action and purchased a lavaliere mic, which hooks to your lapel so that you get a crisp, clean voice without the added ambient noise. This improved the audio quality of my videos. This is now a new golden rule:

Always try to improve and offer the best product you can to your clients.

While a boom mic is excellent in certain situations, a lavaliere is also an excellent choice for cleaner sound. The quality of your mic will make a major difference in the audio of your recording, so be sure to read reviews before you purchase.

There are several types of lavalieres. If you are in a studio situation, you might use a wired microphone. While they will restrict the movement of your talent, they are much more cost-effective.

Wireless lavalieres feature a body pack, which provides the on-camera talent freedom of movement. A wireless receiver plugs into the microphone jack of the camera and feeds the sound signal to your recording.

Another key component for good video is a tripod. It not only keeps your camcorder steady, it also, with a good pan and tilt, can help you frame the shot easier.

Video is light.

That means your video has to be lit properly. Several great kits are available on the market. The one that I use is by CowboyStudio, and it even comes with backdrops.

For proper on-camera video, the subject will either need to stand or sit in front of a backdrop or background. The camera should be at least six to eight feet from him or her.

You will want to light the talent or instructor. To do that, set up a key light at a 45° angle from the camera. The key light is the main light that will illuminate your subjects. This can cause harsh shadows, so a fill light should be utilized as well. The fill light is also approximately 45° off the camera and back a bit further than the key light. The fill light helps to remove some of those shadows.

Next, set up a backlight to light the rear of your subject. This helps them pop out of the background. It is also helpful to light the background to help remove or minimize any shadows caused by the key and fill light.

If you’re just starting and can’t afford a light kit, consider using clamp lamps. I’ve also bounced floodlights off the ceiling. The key is to light the scene and check it on video to make sure that it looks as good as possible given your conditions.

Another consideration for on-camera video is the background. I’ve used numerous types of backgrounds in my videos. In one I used what looks like a brick wall. It was actually printed canvas. Curtains can create a simple, elegant background. I’ve done videos in front of photo papers of different colors. Folding screens, clean offices and painted walls are also options. Avoid busy backgrounds.

Things to remember when creating your video:
Keep the background simple so that viewers pay attention to the person on camera. Turn off anything that makes noise. I’ve had to stop shoots because my phone rang or my computer dinged with the arrival of an email.

Practice the shoot before you shoot. This helps you make sure you know what you’re doing once you’ve pressed record.

Check yourself in the mirror. Is your hair in place? Is your face clean? Is anything from lunch stuck in your teeth? Is your collar straight? Does your clothing look good?

Also check your shot. I once stood in front of a plant — it looked like something was growing out of my skull. So always check your shot before you start recording.

Check your sound. Make sure your sound is good. Make sure it is turned on. Make sure everything is ready to go. There is nothing worse than completing a video and realizing something went wrong.

And get some help if at all possible. That makes your job easier if you are the on-camera talent.

To make video shoots go smoothly, I also suggest using cue cards, or if you can afford it, a teleprompter. Teleprompters are much less expensive than they used to be. I purchased one from the Prompter People, which turns my iPad into a Teleprompter. The iPad lies in a tray and a 45° angle glass, which sits in front of the camera lens, shows the text of my scripts.

The teleprompter allows me to look directly into the camera as I’m reading my script, which saves time if you’re working with a lot of scripts and need to produce video quickly.

Below are links to backdrops, teleprompters, lighting kits and other items you can use to improve your own on-camera videos:

Note: These will make your videos more professional and make your job easier. If you are on a tight budget, begin with what you have. Then invest your profits into equipment that will improve your products and courses.