Preparing for Your Video

Promotional videos can be a powerful asset to your website, and to your conversions, but they can also be a tremendous negative if done poorly. When you are talking directly to someone, it’s relatively easy to convey your message. That is something that we all learned from an early age. However, you don’t have the luxury of speaking face to face to visitors to your website. But you can get close.

To get the most value out of your recording session, we offer these tips:

Your Message:

Always work from a script. That doesn’t mean that you have to have the script in front of you, or that you need it on a teleprompter, but a script is essential for focusing your thoughts, and getting the message to your viewers clearly and succinctly.

The script should be conversational. Use short sentences, as you would when you are talking to someone. When writing the script, it’s best to take it from conversation. That is, speak your message, and either record it, or have someone write it down as you talk. Then go back and “clean” it up and fine-tune the message.

It’s not about you, it’s about the benefit that those listening will achieve by listening / working with you. Focusing on “I did . . .”, “I am . . .”, or “I was . . .” usually has little relevance to those listening, and if they’re not captured by what you are saying, you’ll lose them.

Use contractions. When you’re talking to someone you seldom use “It is”, “I am”, or “cannot”. Instead, it’s I’m and can’t. While there are times you want to use the long version for emphasis, often you’ll want the contraction

Practice the script. Nothing wastes more time than being unprepared for your recording session. And that translates not only to more cost but to a product you’ll be less than happy with. So know what you are going to say, and how you are going to say it. Even with a teleprompter, don’t read. Have it (mostly) memorized so you can say it as you would in normal conversation. It’s best to record short videos without edits / cuts. While it’s OK to zoom in/out, there should be no breaks because you got tongue-tied, or forgot what you wanted to say. When recording, we will be looking for the “perfect” take. That’s not to say you can’t be human. Minor mis-speaks may be acceptable – they’re part of being human. But major gaffes are not.

Keep your eyes on the lens (located in the middle of teleprompter if you are using one) to connect with your audience. Use peripheral vision to remind yourself of the script. Since you can’t be there to speak to your audience in person, focusing on the camera is the next best thing.

When talking, you need to speak more quickly than normal conversation. It will sound fast to you, but when you listen to the recording, it’ll sound as it should. Most people tend to slow down when talking on camera, and it’s just hard to listen to. Remember to vary your voice – up and down for emphasis, and faster and slower where appropriate. And let loose your passion! Your passion and excitement about your product or service speaks volumes.

Schedule the recording time when you are at your peak – mornings if you are a morning person – afternoons if that’s when you’re most alert. That way, you can more easily bring your energy into the recording.

During the recording session, we will often make recommendations to improve (in our opinion) the final product. It is absolutely not necessary to follow our suggestions. This is your video, but we do ask that you remain open to our suggestions.

Clothing:

Your appearance sets the impression of those watching, so you’ll want to wear clothes that best convey who you are; they should be congruent with your image. For instance, a business coach likely wouldn’t present well in jeans and a sweat shirt. Nor would a tradesman portray well in a suit.

For video, coloured clothing (tops) works well, but they should not be highly patterned – the pattern distracts the viewer from you. Generally avoid white, unless it’s part of your uniform (like a health care worker)

Jewelry is fine in moderation. Avoid large, ostentatous pieces as it distracts the viewer from you message.

Green Screen considerations: If you are shooting against a green screen, avoid all use of green, yellow, greenish blues, and white. There is always a colour “splash” when using a coloured background. A green background in particular leaves a green hue around the edges of white clothing. And of course any colour that contains green becomes transparent during editing, making it a poor choice.

We always recommend that you bring several outfits to try, to see which you like best on camera.

Appearance:

As with clothes, your appearance is important to creating your image. You will always want to appear neat and well groomed. A recent hair cut, and trimmed and/or shaved facial hair for gents. Women generally should wear conservative make-up so the makeup doesn’t become a distraction to the viewer.

We may use a little powder to keep down glare and reflections.

If you normally wear glasses, you should do so for the video as well. However, please let us know prior to your session as lights need to be repositioned to minimize reflections.

Your Voice:

There are several foods that coat your vocal folds with a heavy layer of phlegm, making your voice sound “gluggy”. For the best audio recording, the following should be avoided for 24 hours prior to recording:

  • all dairy products – especially milk, cream, yogurt, etc.
  • soy products, like soy milk
  • pasteurized citrus juices like orange and grapefruit – fresh juice is fine
  • alcohol
  • Limit your caffeine intake as well
  • Carbonated beverages fill your stomach with gas making them a poor choice prior to recording.

Room temperature water will be made available for you while you are recording.

Backgrounds:

We typically use one of 3 standard backgrounds – Super White, Thunder Grey, Technical Green.

Other backgrounds are available for a one time fee. We prefer Savage backgrounds. Their quality and availability are both good. You can view the colour swatches at savageuniversal.com/products/seamless-paper. We need 2 weeks notice (minimum) to obtain specific colours. Cloth (Muslin) backgrounds, and patterned backgrounds are also available.

If you require a specific background, please call us for pricing. We upcharge our total cost (product, plus shipping if applicable) by 20%.

Location:

Our studio address will be provided when your recording appointment is confirmed. Please do your best to arrive on time. Note that the address on this website is our mailing address. It is not our physical address.

We can also shoot the video at your location on request.