Friday the 13th

As an Account Manager at Qumu, I spend a lot of time talking to clients about their messaging, their presentation skills and the look and feel of their video communications. While the content in the message is paramount, the quality of the delivery can play a very important role in how the audience receives and reacts to it.

To most people, who are not used to facing the camera or have not had much experience of creating videos, this may seem like a daunting task. But I believe that with some very simple tips, anyone can create a credible video presentation.

In my first blog post of this series, I’d like to address the first thing anyone who is going to make a video should think about, namely: preparation. Here are five considerations to keep in mind when preparing to make videos:

1. Preparation is key. This applies as much to the setting, as it does to the actual presenter who will be recorded. You can set up the best possible environment, but if your presenter in unprepared or uncomfortable with the content they will be delivering, you have lost your audience instantly.

So ensure that they know their material. No worthy presenter will ever address a live audience in a town hall meeting without preparation. Video, live or on-demand, is no different. Encourage presenters to practice their material before they are filmed, so they know their text well enough and are able to deliver it smoothly.

2. Often presenters freeze up in front of a camera. Remind them that the camera is their audience. As strange as it sounds, they need to treat it like a person, which means they should smile and be as natural as possible, like they would in front of a room of people. This includes how they face the camera too. Looking away from the camera can seem disengaged, while looking directly into the lens is equivalent to the presenter looking directly at their audience.

This doesn’t mean that they have to stare at the camera all the way through. Looking at notes or consulting slides is perfectly natural and can look good on camera – exactly as it does in a real-life presentations. But looking distracted or uncomfortable and looking at the ceiling or out the window is bad, in any scenario.

3. On a technical note, presenters need to be reminded not to wear colors similar to the background on which they are being filmed, as they will blend in with the surroundings. Dark colors work well, so a jacket is often the solution even if they wear a white shirt on a white background. Tight patterns, tweeds, etc. can be very distracting – so it’s best to stick to plain fabric. This is true even if you were filming with professional cameras in a studio.

4. A simple piece of preparation is to remind everyone to turn their mobile phones off – you would be surprised at how often a ringing phone has ruined a perfectly good recording. This goes not only for the subjects, but also for anyone else who will be present in the room during the recording. Every time you press record, imagine the big “On-Air” sign is on and keep silent.

5. Do a dry-run without the camera rolling first to make sure everything is in order. Then do a test recording or two. This will allow you to test the equipment and also put your presenter a bit more at ease.

Recording video doesn’t have to be daunting. The more prepared you are going in to a video recording, the easier it will be.

Want to know more about how Qumu professionals can help you make video easy in your organization?