There are thousands of gifted and passionate experts in the world today who are on-line telling their stories while helping make your biz and life better. Unfortunately I am often disappointed when I click through to their videos and their video image quality does not support the strength of their content. Crappy quality shooting is a turn-off for a viewer as your video blogs say as much about the quality of your skills as your website and print materials do. Here are eight secrets you can employ to elevate the visual quality of your vlogs and keep them on par with the tremendous value of your content. Good luck!
- Eye contact! Whether you are speaking to your followers via a pre-taped vlog or you are participating in a live chat your eye contact is critical. You should be looking at the web cam when speaking and not at your own on-screen image or on-screen notes. Viewers are savvy enough to know that if you are looking at notes, or watching yourself talking, you aren’t really engaging with your audience. By addressing the web cam itself, you maintain eye contact with your followers or the person you are recording an interview with. If a viewer has taken time out of their day to watch your video, you should honour them with your attention.
- Make an effort. Web cams can be surprisingly forgiving in terms of how your skin looks, but we all should put in some effort. You ARE your brand! Style your hair, look neat and presentable (I can hear my Mum saying that). Gals should keep the make-up colours neutral and soft. Guys you can apply some mattefying products if you need them to cut shine and pay attention to your hairline and bridge of nose. If your persona is unshaven and rugged, go for it but otherwise, keep it clean.
- Keep the backdrop simple. That simplicity will allow the viewer to focus on you and your content. Lose the outdated framed print art, ditch the bad office plants, kick the dried flower arrangements to the curb, and find another background that doesn’t feature your cheapo shelving unit from university days. I know this might sound like tough love but you’ll thank me when you see the results.
- The lenses on your webcams are wide. Really wide. The rule is simple….don’t sit to close to the camera when recording. The closer you sit, the wider your facial features will look. My head is the size of a small planet so I don’t try to accentuate that!
- Lighting separates the wheat from the chaff, people. If your videos are dimly lit then you look less professional. It is that simple. Put in some effort to give yourself a healthy glow. You can use an office window or a desk lamp. Make sure the light source points at you from behind the web cam/laptop. If the light source is slightly above eye level and right in the middle of your face (over top of the web cam) then you will look really good. If you light yourself from high above you get raccoon eyes and if you light from down below you look ghoulish. So a desk lamp or a window shining directly onto your darling face from slightly over top of the camera and just above your eye level is the sweet spot.
- Framing is important and is also super easy to do. Viewers want to be able to see you clearly, so if you position yourself so that your shoulders and head are right in the middle of your computer screen with the camera placed at the top/middle of your monitor (most computers have an integrated camera already in the best spot), you should be well lit (because your desk lamp or a window is already doing its thing…) and look perfectly balanced within the frame.
- Camera height can be really flattering or make you look like you have a couple of chins. If you are recording from your laptop, raise the laptop up on a box, a few books, whatever is handy and quick. The goal is to get the camera on your device to be slightly higher than your eyes. This tilt down to you will be really flattering to most people. Same thing when using your desktop, just prop up the monitor so that the web cam is slightly higher than your eyes. I have mine even with my forehead and it works well. Why not look the best you can?
- Sound! Sound quality is so important in video production. I have witnessed great content this year get drowned out by air-conditioners, street traffic, people in the next room, and soft-spoken presenters. My advice is to buy the best microphone you can afford and find a quiet room to shoot in. Studies show that viewers will tolerate a poor image but have little patience for crappy sound. You want people to click play and share, not delete out of frustration.
Try out these heartfelt secrets from me to you! I bet your onscreen image can be as powerful and effective as your brand. I have faith in you. Happy filming!