Ep #48: How to Create Great Video Without Fancy Equipment

by | Podcast

By now, you've probably heard that video is one of the most effective ways to reach your audience. If you haven't heard that exactly, maybe you've noticed a steady increase in the number of videos on your social media feeds. It feels like video is absolutely everywhere these days, and you might be considering how you can add video to your thought leadership toolbox.

I've been recording videos for quite a while now and have helped my clients do the same. It can be easy to get overwhelmed by perfectionism and stress when you're shooting video, and I'm sharing some tips today about how to approach video with more lightness and ease.

Listen in to this episode as I share both the practical, technical process that I use for recording video as well as my approach to the act of recording. I'll share some of the ups and downs I've experienced with video, why it's such a great format for sharing your message, and how you can create better video and have more fun doing it.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why so many of us struggle in front of the camera.
  • How to change the way you think about video so you can have more fun doing it.
  • The technical setup I use for recording video and why you don't need anything too fancy to get started.
  • How to make sure the sound and lighting in your video are on point.
  • Why I love doing live video like Facebook Live and highly recommend it as practice for shooting longer videos.

Listen to the Full Episode:

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Full Episode Transcript:

I was in a coaching session with a client when she said, “I just freeze up when I start looking in the barrel of the camera.” My first thought was, “What barrel of the camera?” That's when I realized, oh, my gosh, creating videos that feel like real, genuine connection are really all about our thoughts and how we think about creating the video. It's not the technical aspects almost at all, so I can't wait to talk with you about this today.

Welcome to the Thought Leadership School Podcast. If you're on a mission to make a difference in the world with your message, you are in the right place. I'm Michelle Barry Franco, and I'm thrilled that you're here. Hello, my Thought Leadership friend. So, I had a client a few years ago who was moving into an entirely new focus with her thought leadership. She'd spent quite a few years as a coach, a life coach, and was beginning to sell and take a stand for kind of a product idea, and there was some sensitivity to this topic area as far as she was concerned anyway. It was related to legacy, how you live your life, and then also end of life, so, it felt extra important and meaningful, which probably should have been my first clue. Anything that feels extra important and meaningful is bound to get us caught up.

Actually, that happens with video for a lot of people, I've learned. It feels extra important and meaningful that we get it right, that we do it perfectly. I guess this is because it's recorded, and it's easy to share, and so it could go viral after all or maybe worse, it could be totally ignored and then, we could assume it was because it wasn't good enough or perfect enough. So, today, we're going to talk about how to create great video and have way more fun creating those videos.

We'll talk about technical things like lighting, equipment, sound, and we'll also talk about the part that's actually the biggest game changer of all, which is really foreshadowing here, the way you think about creating video because therein lies the magic, so we'll talk about thoughts, thinking about video, how you might come at it a different way, a new way, but we'll also talk technicalities because I do know those matter. It's really helpful to know how to get the right lighting, how to get the right sound, so all of that and more in this podcast episode.

Super quick request first. If you haven't yet, would you kindly head over to iTunes or your favorite listening app and give the Thought Leadership School Podcast a quick rating and review? It really helps us get found and searched when people care enough to share their thoughts and writing, so thank you, thank you so much.

I started doing video about eight years ago. I'd shoot 100 takes of video, probably even more sometimes, before I'd upload it to Vimeo or YouTube, which is I've sort of put them on each of those platforms for different reasons at the time. Honestly, I was petrified of putting the video out there. I knew I wanted to create video. I knew video was an amazing way to share my message, and when it went well, I really liked the final product. I felt like if I got the lighting right, if I got the sound right, if I got the message right, if I set it perfectly, it was actually a really cool thing that I could share with the world and also link back to for clients and that kind of thing.

I remember one time specifically, there were many times I recorded video on working retreats, and you may have heard me talk about my working retreats. This is when I go away for a couple of days, usually two nights and at least two full days in there and just get a bunch of work done. I'll work like 16-hour days. I remember going on this particular working retreat, and it was only about 30 minutes away from my house. It was at this cool llama farm. It was really awesome, and it was a beautiful surroundings. It wasn't very far, but it was far enough away, and the environment was different enough that I really felt like I was in a new place.

So, I went away, and I had all these things on my list that I wanted to get done. It was also a beautiful space where I was staying, so it was a great place to create video, so I decided I would use a small part of the time on retreat to record this three-minute video for a free opt-in, like a freebie opt-in to my e-mail list on my website. I spent an entire day of my precious working retreat shooting this one three-minute video, and you know what? I never even really used that three-minute video, not for very long, so I'm telling you, I know if you get caught up and stuck and feeling like it has to be perfect, I have so been there. I was there for a long time. I've spent thousands of hours trying to create really great video, and I create a lot of video. I've created a lot of video over the years, and I use it for a lot of different things. I use it with clients. I use it to download and share in different platforms, both the ones you know of and then other training platforms and that kind of thing.

So, what I would do then way back is I'd set up near a window. Actually, I did this for years. I'd set up near a window because my brother's in video. He's a professional videographer, and he has a business doing that with big companies like Adobe, so I'd ask him for some of these essentials, and he'd give me some of the basics. I'd set up near a window so that I had natural light to light up my face and whatever else I was showing in my video. I would stack like 25 books on my desk. I remember rigging things on a window sill before trying to get my camera to stand up because I didn't have a stand. I don't know why I didn't just go buy a stand. It was so long ago. Maybe they didn't have those simple little like tripod, ones that'll hold your … Anyway, whatever. I didn't have one.

I fix my hair. Then, I fix my hair again, so then I'd get it all set up. I'd finally like the lighting, and I'd start talking. Then, I'd make one verbal mistake, and I'd start over. Then, I'd get going again, feeling flow, and then one more verbal stumble, and I'd start over again. I had this like aversion to editing, first of all. I thought editing would take longer. Well, there's no editing that takes eight hours for a three-minute video. At least, not in my world. Maybe there is in some fancy special effects world.

So, literally, I would be doing this for so many hours that the lighting would change, and I'd have to rig everything again. So, just in case you've had any shenanigans with video on your path to trying to get it out there, I have so been there. I'd go find a desk lamp and set it up. I'd fix my makeup again. By then, my hair is like dragging, right? So, there is the scenario. Hours and hours lost. Half the time, I'd decide the next day that the video was crap and never use it. So, I did learn this the hard way, and I just want you to know I really just know what it feels like to not feel like I know how to do video or like it's complicated or just too much work, but it doesn't have to feel that way. I promise, and I'm going to share with you all the tips that you need to get out there and start creating better videos and have more fun doing it right away.

Now, I create a video and I upload it. Boom. Sometimes, I do a little re-shooting. Sometimes, I do a little editing, and I just know the basics like clip, clip, delete that center piece kind of editing, maybe add a transition, so it's not too jumpy, like that kind of editing. I still resist editing with this weird passion. I'm not even sure why because it's pretty cool once you do it. You can really just erase a whole bit, so don't do what I do and resist the editing.

Honestly, I simply just iterated my way to comfort around video. I just did it thousands of times, but I don't think you have to do that. I really believe that with just some of these insights and most importantly, some of these technical details, and most importantly, a whole fresh new way of thinking about video, this can get so much easier for you, so I'm really excited. When you approach creating video with a lighter mind plus these details, this is just sort of like basic essentials about the technical aspects, you'll create way more awesome video and have fun doing it.

So, we're going to talk about, as I said, a whole new way of thinking about video that's just really different. I'm going to talk about how you don't need fancy equipment, and we'll talk about how you can use very likely what you already have, and then really, I want to talk about how technology has nothing on the heart to heart connection, and yet, I'm still talking about video here. First of all, let's just take the biggest game changer of all at the front of this conversation, and that is that heavy thoughts equal heavy video. That is my experience, and it's my personal experience from those early years with video but also with many clients. So, I'll have clients who do get up in front of rooms full of people, they teach college classes, they speak inside their companies or used to in their previous executive roles, but when they think of creating a video, it's like this whole different thing.

I get that because I know I used to think I'm a communication expert, like I must communicate perfectly. Every time I communicate, I'm an example of my own expertise. It's so meta, my work is. Of course, if I'm an example of this, then there's a sort of like subtext that says I have to do it perfectly, right? Well, it's easy to have that kind of conversation with yourself no matter what you're doing. I don't want people to be distracted by verbal mistakes that I'm making. I want them to get to the heart of my message around health and wellness. If I was perfectly healthy and well because of my nutrition and productivity program, let's just say those are areas of your expertise, well then, I would be able to communicate seamlessly because I'd have such a vibrant energy and a clear mind.

It's really easy to build a story for ourselves that makes it really heavy and intense, to create a perfectly human expression of your expertise, but the truth is, and this is what I know now, if I'm an example of how to communicate, isn't like human connection in communication the key? It is. I know it is, so now, the thoughts that I have around video are much more like, I just want to bring my humanity. I want to bring my heart, and yes, I do want it to be clear. I don't want it to be distracting of all kinds of extra words, and there are times when I get caught up in that. I get caught up in that around this podcast. There are times when I find myself really stuck around what to say until I realize, oh my gosh, I'm just building a whole story around how perfect this has to be because I'm a “communication expert.”

It's about serving, right? I do need to know what I want to say. I do need to stay on track, and so do you but you know what? A quick like, what's my core message here, what's the one thing I want them to take away, and then a quick outline of three main points is good enough. That is a good enough start. Now, you might want to, and this is what I do, I map out at least, at minimum, my core message, which is the central thing I want them to take away. For example, today, I want you to know that when you approach creating video with a lighter mind and some of this technical essentials, you'll create way more awesome video and have fun doing it. That's what I needed to make sure that you walk away feeling and knowing today, and then I just map out three main points, and we're into those three main points now. I'll give you the summary of them at the end.

So, map out those three main points, and then talk them through. Sometimes, I put in there like a little story I know I want to use for one of those main points. I might give an example of client work, but I literally just drop this down in a quick outline. Do that, so that you're not stuck kind of figuring it all out while the camera's rolling. Share stories like you would with a good friend, just inspiring them to know that they too can do this, whatever it is you're sharing with them.

So, that's the first thing. Heavy thoughts equal heavy video. The other side of that is lighter thoughts, just more ease around it. Give yourself room. It's about human connection and giving yourself a clear plan, one main idea, some main points you know you want to cover, having those ready. Maybe you talk it through real quickly ahead of time so you have a sense of what you want to say or you write it out a little bit ahead of time if writing it out is easier for you, and then just shoot it. Just shoot it and let it flow. If you make a little mistake, either leave it in there because it shows your humanity or if it feels like you went off track for a while, believe me, going into something like iMovie is so easy to clip and delete a section. You can even do it through QuickTime especially if it's on the end. If you mess up in the beginning or you mess up at the very end, trimming it is so fast and easy. It's unbelievable. So, even if you're not super technical, there are tools out there that make that quick edits very easy.

So, speaking of that software, let's talk about your equipment. What does it really take? You don't need fancy equipment to serve through video. You need some way to record the video. I use my laptop. I have a MacBook Pro. I've had all kinds of different MacBooks. I usually use Mac products. Actually, always for the last 10 years. I've always used my MacBook or my iPad or my iPhone. Those are what I use to shoot video. I have a few times used a camera, a video camera. It's just more complicated. I have to bring that video. This was probably five, six years ago. Now, you can actually get them where they have WiFi connection and directly send over the video. Whatever. I don't have one of those yet. Don't complicate it for yourself. Just turn on your computer recording device or on your phone and record the video.

It's great to have a microphone, and you'll hear people say that sound is as important as the visual. Sound does matter, I will tell you. I've created plenty of very useful video without even using a microphone of any kind, just using the internal microphone on my MacBook Pro, but you can also get a lavalier mic, a super simple lavalier mic through Amazon. Those are the ones that you pin to your collar that plugs right into your computer, and it will record great audio. You can even use your headphones like the ones that come with your iPhone or favorite headphones. I use my Apple AirPods, and it works fine. There's a little bit of a lisp, but you know what? It serves. I use it right now. So, yes, having some kind of recording device that works nicely is great, but don't let it stop you. Start creating videos. Make sure they can hear you. Stand close enough to your device if you're not using a microphone so that they can hear you.

Now, as far as lighting, people can feel tripped up on lighting as well. So, again, as I said earlier, you know how I would rig it all so that I could be in front of a window? Window light is he best. It just gives you he best lighting, and sometimes, it's hard to get if you don't have the right space. I use a ring light. I'll put a link to it inside our show notes. I also use an umbrella light. I'll put a link too. The right light is better, but sometimes, I use both just if I want more lighting on my face. I know lots of people who just use the light from their window, so it depends on your circumstances and the way you like your videos to look but again, these don't have to be complicated. You can order them online, or you can just do your video outside.

Oftentimes, I do Facebook Lives every Friday inside my free Facebook group, which we'll put a link to in here. It's called the Thought Leadership Community. Can't wait to have you join us. So, every Friday, I do a Freedom Friday video, and I often go out in my front yard and just turn toward the right kind of lighting, and you can tell that by looking straight into your iPhone or whatever phone you use or whatever recording device, and looking at your face. Don't let lighting complicate things for you. I used to use a desk lamp and a bunch of other household lighting. One other extra tip I'll give you that sort of tripped me up for a long time was back lighting can mess up the whole thing, so if you've got a light behind you, don't have a window behind you that's like … unless the shades are drawn, don't have a light on behind you because it just lights up the back, and it messes up your front lighting. Try turning that off or changing your position, so that you don't have light coming from behind, and you'll see a tremendous difference.

Fancy equipment is just not required especially now. So much of what we have that we're using every day works great. Let that give you a start. You can start with things like Facebook Live. Here's what I love about Facebook Live. It's live, so nobody expects it to be perfect. I even give myself a little grace from those early videos like seven and eight years ago. We didn't have things like Facebook Live, so the expectation around video was different then than it is now. People know you can be live, and everything shuts down like you lose your connection, someone walks up and starts talking to you. You've probably seen all these things happen when someone's doing a Facebook Live. It's just not that big of a deal.

Here's one of the fundamental truths in thought leadership. Anything can happen when you're out there sharing your story and your expertise especially when it's live. It's all in how you handle it. That's what matters. You're a steward of their experience, and you're a steward of their experience in real life circumstances, right? So, it's just you showing up in that moment in service to them, whatever that means. It might mean saying, “Uh-oh, you all, I know this is super distracting. Let me stop my Facebook Live now, and I will be back when I get a better connection,” if that's what needs to be done, right? So, you do what needs to be done to serve when you're doing something live, but you do not need fancy equipment. What you have now is awesome. Go shoot some video. I'm telling you, there's nothing like, as someone who shot thousands and thousands of hours of video, there's nothing like shooting video to practice.

Then, you've got things like YouTube and Vimeo, which are both free. They have free versions, and you can get paid options, but the free versions are great. You can start sharing your videos and sending them to clients. Even if you're not spending it out into the great, big, wide world on purpose in any way, you can actually use those videos and send links to clients. I've done that so many times like, “Oh, I've done a video on that question you're asking. Let me send you a link to that.” Super, super helpful.

Then, the last thing I want to talk with you about after, so we talked about how these lighter thoughts around video and just kind of like coming at this with less heaviness is going to make it feel so much more fun and less heaviness around your equipment as well, but I want you to consider something. What if there was no camera? Yep, even when you're doing video. So, when my client, that story I told at the very beginning, when my client said to me stare down the barrel, she said to me, “I can get up in front of any stage. I can get up in front of people and talk about this with such ease, but when I stand in front of a camera and I stare down the barrel of that camera …” in that moment, as she was describing that, I realized I no longer see the camera. I really don't.

For real, I don't see it. I swear, I see your beautiful face even as I'm recording this podcast for you. Actually, it's not even your face I see. This is just going to get really woo-woo, really spiritual. I see your gorgeous soul. I see your heart out there. I feel you out there. I feel like I know your heart. I know the essence of what you want to do out there in the world with the story of yours and this message you so want to share. I feel like I'm deeply connected to the kind of difference you want to make, and so when I'm speaking in that video, my heart is just speaking to yours. There happens to be a camera there to grab the info just to be sure you get it, but frankly, sticking with that whole spiritual realm, I kind of feel like you'd get it either way. I know that's super spiritual, but that whole recorded aspect, it's just not present when I'm sharing what I want to share with your heart, and there's a camera there.

Even if you don't get into this whole spiritual communication thing, I mean, how about a cup of dark roast? Who doesn't get into that? What if you're just sitting together with that person over coffee because that's what it feels like to me? It feels like we're just sitting here. I have my mug in my hand. Actually, I do have my mug in my hand right now, and we're just sitting together, and you've just asked me a question that I know is blocking you from doing what you so want to do in the world, and that's what's happening for the people you're meant to serve. They're feeling stuck. They're feeling blocked.

What if they were sitting across from you, both of you cupping your dark roast in your hands or your cup of tea, whatever you like to drink. They're just saying like, “Oh, my gosh, just how did you get over this? What did you do or what do you suggest I do?” Then, share with them just like you're sitting together over coffee from that place in your heart, full heart, no holds barred, everything that you've got in that moment, no fear of giving away too much, right? It's just about service. I mean, what if there was no camera? What if you couldn't see that camera? Is there any way that even when that camera's on, you can see past it or through it or around it or ignore it?

Video is so powerful. You've probably seen the research and all the hoopla about how it's at the top of the list of ways to engage your audience, to keep their attention, to make your impact. I mean, you can do it from home, vacation, your car, whatever. It's so cool that way. I want you to have this in your thought leadership toolkit, and you really, really can. It's just about coming at this with a lighter touch, a lighter heart. The way you think about creating video in a lighter way will allow you to enjoy the process so much more and share with so much more ease and probably grace too especially after you do his for a while and let yourself get better and better over time. You don't need any fancy equipment. Simple lighting, simple recording device. That'll pretty much do it. Just know that technology's got nothing on that heart to heart connection. Maybe it's there. Maybe it's recording this thing so you can point back to it at some point, but when you're sharing what you have to give with the people you know you're meant to serve, there's nothing in the way. There's no barrel of a camera if there is such a thing that can block that kind of hear to heart connection.

All right, my thought leadership friend, you are set up. It's all just doing it from here. Let it be imperfect. Service is what matters, and I know you've got that down. You can show up and serve. So many lives will be positively impacted by your message. Please let that happen because here's the thing, that call you feel to serve with your message and your expertise, that is your sign. You were made for this. You know how I know that, right, because you know. All right, I'll see you here next week.

Thanks so much for being here with me on the Thought Leadership School Podcast. If you want specific and actionable guidance on how to become a recognized leader in your industry, you can download a free coffee of my book, Beyond Applause: Make A Meaningful Difference Through Transformational Speaking at speaksoitmatters.com/freebook.


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