HOW IT ALL STARTED
I was fascinated by the worlds of social media and branding and sat through every session absorbing knowledge like a sponge.
A major theme at that time was the rise of video content in the coming years.
Video stats are up every year. Not just for content creators but also for the viewers.
So it was only a matter of time that I jumped onto the bandwagon too!
When I look back and compare it with now, there’s a sea of difference. Not just in the way videos have come up as medium of content consumption but also in the way they are shot.
One thing I am glad of is that I started when I did.
I made mistakes, learnt from them and fine tuned my process.
It did help when videos became native to Linkedin and I could post them right there where my network was instead of having them go to YouTube.
Although, I haven’t churned out videos by the week, I have made enough to share some of the lessons that 6 years of being on YouTube has taught me.
THERE IS NO PERFECT TIME TO START
I am all too familiar with the feeling of standing at the edge forever, waiting to jump!
Make a resolve to definitely start tomorrow or next week and getting cold feet when the time comes!
And trust me! You are not alone.
The best way to face our fears is to dive in!
Even after so many videos I have done for my channel, there is no perfect day that presents itself to record videos.
The day I look okay, my script is not ready. Some days the script is ready but by the time I finish my sessions, I am too tired to get camera ready.
In an ideal world- which I don’t live in – there would be a routine set out by now to get the process done in steps. Maybe some day!
So if you are waiting for the perfect opportunity to show up, it won’t!
Don’t worry about the zit on your face or your lack of knowledge about handling the camera. Just do it!
We have all been there. I cringe at my old videos which aren’t the best and yet are on full display on my channel.
If I removed every video that I thought was imperfect, there wouldn’t be any left.
But that’s the learning curve – a part of the process – and we can just hope to be forgiven for it.
Here’s a video I made on the topic:
FACING THE CAMERA IS HARD
If it makes you feel better, you are not alone!
Although, this one has always baffled me!
Having trained for 18 years now, I have never found speaking to be an issue with me.
But just the fact that the camera doesn’t have eyes staring back made it an intimidating experience to record videos.
Something about a red blinking button makes the mind foggy.
Everyone – except for professional actors who love the camera, maybe – faces jitters while recording.
But when you record videos for yourself, it gives you an opportunity to get comfortable with the camera.
I know people resist getting in front of the lens – they have several reasons/excuses why they can’t.
But just like you learn to drive only by bravely pulling into the traffic, you get comfortable by getting in front of the camera. Period
So your only choice to get it over with.
THIS IS A GREAT PRACTICE EXERCISE
Come to think of it, videos have become all the more important since the pandemic.
Insta reels, YouTube videos and shorts, e-learning platforms, online courses – all require being camera savvy.
And as a trainer – or any professional for that matter – attracting eyeballs to your brand means to create content in the form that people like to consume in.
Going a step further, there are tons of e-learning platforms that need content creators to upload their content – mostly video.
And working on my channel over the years has helped me overcome the fear of facing the camera. So step 1 is done!
I started with professional equipment at the beginning but with Linkedin videos going more informal, I took over the entire video creation process.
People want to see more approachable people on screen.
I started using my phone – a basic Apple model. I knew nothing about editing softwares and the light in the videos wasn’t great either.
But, like I said, I might not be proud of some of my work but my channel stands testimony to that phase of my development too.
(Unfortunately, technology isn’t advanced enough to let us remove old videos and slide in new ones without losing the engagement on them)
And then I got wiser and invested in a great camera phone from a brand that is known for great video output.
This remains the best investment I made for creating video content.
The camera adjusts the light automatically and the result is so amazing that I even do all my live session on it.
I bought a tripod and a remote to further ease the process since I am the only one to handle things on and off camera.
Again, all this made me confident enough to start creating my own online courses during the pandemic.
Keeping at it and moving from phase to phase has made me more aware of what works. It has also helped me become aware of what my flaws are – on camera and off it (I suck at editing!)
HELPS UNDERSTAND YOUR PROCESS
We are not pros and we take time to discover what works for us.
When I first started recording videos, my process was very different from what it now. The fear of the camera makes you do strange things.
Despite having trained in front of people with no script, I was nervous about speaking when it was being recorded.
I found that pretty odd since the opposite is true for most other people.
So I typed out the entire script, tried to remember the whole thing, got stuck at points when I forgot and had to do multiple takes.
When I prepared to deliver my first speech at Toastmasters, I did the same and it hit me – this system doesn’t work for me.
If I were to forget one thing and the whole speech could come undone.
I did not make any videos for a whole year between professional recording and doing it on my own.
When I got back, I stopped writing out the whole script. I figured that speaking straight into the camera will be okay provided I plan what I am going to say.
And if I fumble, I just do a retake.
It’s my camera, my channel and it’s not live. That helped me relax!
VIDEO: Here’s a secret to fewer takes – Don’t restart
DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT
I can’t insist on this enough!
If you want to consistently create videos, you’ll have to be kind to yourself and be forgiving.
Unless you are a movie star and have a professional crew working with you, you will feel imperfect on camera.
And that’s okay.
Like I said, there are days when I don’t feel camera ready or don’t have the time to do the whole make-up and hair routine. But I focus on getting content out anyways.
I was intolerant to silences or fillers and would re-take for every such flaw. We tend to be super-critical about ourselves.
But being semi-formal, conversational, pausing for breath- all this only makes us human and helps connect better with the audience.
I want to talk to people on camera and not read out the news from a teleprompter! So it’s okay to pause or be chatty.
As long as you provide value to your network, they will not mind what appear as imperfections to you.
So go ahead and shoot videos. Post them and go back to make some more.
I can assure you that you will get better.
YOU DON’T NEED FANCY EQUIPMENT TO GET STARTED
Or to even continue making videos.
People usually think they’ll need to invest a lot on recording equipment. However, even if you wish to, you can go a long way on a budget and produce great videos.
I went from a full-fledged set up to a-phone-and-a-tripod set up!
There is one thing that I will definitely insist on – the quality of your video determines the quality of your brand.
So I’d say ensure that the minimum quality parameters are met – the camera is steady, the light is uniform, your frame is set correctly and your volume comes through.
You can always add more jazz to it later as you become more confident!
I invested in a good camera phone, a tripod and remote (the remote hasn’t been working for some time!) – which ensures a great quality of the video and the tripod keeps my camera steady and hands free to gesture.
Even if you wish to invest in a ring light – considering creating videos is a long-term game- these are all one-time investments. They aren’t mandatory is what I am saying!
Tripods are extremely useful in shooting anywhere – adjust the height and get going!
IT GREATLY ADDS TO YOUR BRAND
A video channel, apart from my blog, has helped me in 2 ways.
First, it gets me in front of people.
As a trainer, my USPs are my communication and confidence. Videos give me an opportunity to showcase both.
As opposed to a blog, which is just text or a podcast, which is just voice – videos help me showcase my skills in the best light (pun unintended)
Second, as video consumption grew, my presence on my channel also drew attention.
I can think of a few assignments that came my way after people watched my videos and wanted me to create similar content for them too.
Plus, videos give me double exposure when I post them on YouTube and Linkedin. I generate leads from both.
Moreover, if people are looking for videos, that’s how you should be presenting your expertise.
Phew! I did not intend for the post to be this long! But I think I really wanted to share my experience in detail.
And to quickly sum it up – just do it!
Maybe call the initial ones practice and you don’t have to post them.
But just doing it on your own also will help you get over the hump of hesitation.
I also wanted to add an FAQ/do’s and don’ts in this post. But maybe, that’s best dealt with in a new post.
What’s your biggest hurdle in creating videos? Do you have any questions for me?
Tell me in the comments below.
You can also check out my YouTube channel here