Shooting for success in virtual events

Lady Filming | Axiom Communications

10 tips to help make your self-shot video presentations picture perfect

Powerfully delivering your important conference presentation, live, and in front of an audience of hundreds, maybe even thousands, was always a tough challenge. Now, in these days of remote working and virtual events, meetings and conferences, many would argue it just got tougher…

You’ve got to become your own cameraman, sound engineer and lighting technician, then broadcast from the kitchen because that’s where you happen to get a stable wi-fi connection – oh and give a clear, compelling and compassionate performance.

And whatever you present, there is every chance it will be recorded to create on demand, or ‘evergreen’ content, there for the world to watch for the foreseeable future.

You might want to give your presentation live or take the pressure off yourself and pre-record your piece, to be played in during your virtual event. Either way, you need to be ‘shooting for success’, so here are 10 tips to take onboard before you do your piece to camera. I’ll share 10 more tips on what to do when the red light comes on and you actually shoot your video in a future blog.

Before you shoot the video…

  1. Memorise your lines if you can. And if you can’t – download a teleprompter App and use a tablet computer to shoot your video. The good Apps place your text right next to the lens, so you’ll always appear to be looking into the camera
  2. Wear a solid colour and make sure it stands out from the background, or you could appear on video as a ‘talking head’ – just a talking head! Checks and patterns can sometimes do ‘shimmery’ things on video and can be a distraction
  3. Turn your camera so that it is shooting landscape, not portrait – that will echo how people will view it on their computer screens. Portrait content, viewed on landscape computers looks odd, you don’t want to look odd
  4. Position your camera, so that the lens is level with your eyes. That way you won’t be looking down on your viewers and they won’t be looking up your nose. A pile of books works well, or a flexible tripod, such as a GorillaPod
  5. Set the camera to record in high-definition, if you have the option. That will capture the best quality sound and picture from the outset. The file size can always be decreased afterwards, if bandwidth is an issue
  6. Think about what’s in shot behind you, books, photos, life laundry, actual laundry, etc. Is it sending the signals you want to send? If it isn’t move it or move yourself. You want the audience to be thinking about your messages, not your mess
  7. Avoid shooting into a bright light or sunlit window. You’ll become a silhouette – and no one will be able to make out who you are, let alone see the expression on your face, which rather defeats the point of using video
  8. Try bouncing the light from a lamp off the wall in front of you, or better still get some natural light on your face. Most cameras will auto adjust for brightness so try a couple of dry runs and check the results you are getting
  9. Place some white flip chart paper on the desk in front of you. You get a free uplighter, like the shiny discs they use on the TV. The result is an increase in picture quality and, in my case, a decrease in the number of chins on view
  10. Frame yourself in the picture so that the bottom third of the screen can be used later, if you are pre-recording your video, to add your name and job title. As a guide, three buttons down on a shirt or blouse should be visible in shot

So there are ten things to think about before you even begin to deliver your virtual presentation. Our experience tells us that, as is true in so many other scenarios, preparation is key, but follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to a picture-perfect presentation. You might also be interested in our 12 tips to make your virtual meetings more successful, and less stressful – for all concerned.

And if you don’t want to do all this on your own, we are here to help you, virtually of course. We can coach your performance online and even take care of recording your presentation. If you’d like us to, we can then enhance your video with music, graphics and cutaway shots to give the whole thing a professional finish – even if you had the cat on your lap throughout the whole process.

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