How To Shoot Awesome Videos

by on Jan 20 2018

A lot of people have been asking me about my process for shooting videos. So here are a few tips for creating awesome videos your audience will love…

The big takeaways:

  • My “10-second” trick for getting over my fear of messing up once we start recording.
  • How to decide if you should script your videos… or just do it live.
  • My process for coming up with new topics for my videos.

43 Comments

  • Thanks Jeff, I`m a business coach for people that want to triple x their income and plan to start Videocourses as well. Your mail on that topic was great. This video is cool as a follow up.

  • lynn says:

    Hi Jeff,
    I appreciate you creating this video. It is true, just get going and do it. Thanks bunches.

  • Robert Sims says:

    You always give great content.

  • Love your videos Jeff 🙂

  • Mike says:

    Awesome stuff, Jeff. Thank you!!!

  • Cathy Hay says:

    Thank you Jeff, very timely, I just started doing these again this week and this time, I’m going to fight off the self-consciousness and try to get on a weekly video winning streak that I don’t want to break! Thanks for pulling back the curtain once again. 🙂

  • Mike Love says:

    Love Telluride…REady to go skiing now.

  • Ian says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for this. The encouragement to just do it. Also the guidance on scripting and using a teleprompter.

    Great tips once again.

    IanB

  • Mark Evans says:

    Curious about the equipment used to shoot your videos – camera, lighting, sound, etc.

  • Beth G says:

    Love it! Your natural persona on camera (“imperfections” and all) is what inspires me to just get rolling and shoot my videos! Warts and all! I produce and edit voiceover audio as a side-hustle, and am such a perfectionist that it’s painstaking to get that polish that I’ve built my reputation upon, but your natural ease that you’ve developed as a guru on camera (like when your dry erase markers don’t cooperate!) lends itself nicely to your believability. This is reframing my thinking about being on camera: “Relax, Beth! Genuineness trumps perfection any day!”

    Thank you!

  • “white board with bullet points, behind the camera” – GREAT idea – thanks, Jeff!

  • Jaime Myers says:

    Thank you Jeff! I’ve been leading live workshops for 15 years and am filming my first on-line course videos this week! I did a few scripted intro videos for my website and although I was happy with how those turned out for my website, I had a hard time with the tele-prompter and script and been resisting/dreading working on a script since my usual style is to glance at my notes and go. This morning I forced myself to get up and write the script since the filming is Wednesday and then, there was your email to save the day 🙂 I know and love my topics and can be myself when I share from the heart. I’m now going to write my lead in and closing lines for each topic, have a few bullets on a flip chart behind the camera and let it roll. Thank you!

  • As a independent filmmaker and documentary video producer, I applaud the following things that really work well with your videos: valuable content, very personable, good audio and decent choice of video quality–and inspiring backgrounds.

    The items that come after content matter very much because “the medium is the message.” How we say what we say creates a much more powerful message than our words. A poor medium will compete with a good message, and the message will lose. But a quality medium will bolster a good message and be in agreement with it.

    1. Content is Key. The value of what you say reigns supreme. And you have valuable content.

    But that is not enough, for again, if the medium contradicts it, then I, the viewer, will believe the medium and not you.

    2. Connect with me, the viewer.
    I am so inspired by how personable you are! Whatever it takes to be connected to me, the viewer. If a person uses a script or bullet points, fine. As long as they can bring those words to their heart to such a degree that I, the viewer, feel that they are *not* reading from a script, nor are they “acting” and trying to be inspiring.

    Many a time I will interview the “subject matter expert” from off camera so as to help them get them into their world. As they LIVE their message while telling it to me, you can see the energy rise and their expressions get very personable and engaging. But you have the rather rare ability to talk directly to the viewer without being interviewed. Kudos!

    3. AUDIO, AUIDO, AUDIO Your audio is good, so again, thank you! It makes listening to your content much easier. Good audio makes believing your message easier.

    There is nothing worse than a valuable message that has bad audio. The audio can have a lot of competing sounds in it, or hiss, or sound as if you in a 55 gallon drum. Usually this happens when the “videographer” chooses to mount a mic onto the camera and then plug that mic into the camera. That’s two, possibly three mistakes, in my book.
    A) the mic is too far away. That alone will stress the mic’s ability to receive quality sound.
    B) It is probably the wrong kind of mic for interviews. I typical camera mounted mic is omni-directional, which in my experience, is a mistake. For, being omni-directional, it is trying to pick up virtually all of the sounds all around it, rather than concentrating on you, the speaker.
    C) Connecting a mic into the camera loses all ability to control the audio as it’s being captured. You can’t correct anything on the fly. Our audio techs insist on full control of what is recorded as it is being recorded, because they know that there is not much you can do to correct flawed audio.

    Connecting into the camera will compress the audio and therefore degrade the quality. That degradation may be just fine for most projects, but I still do not recommend it.

    But your audio has good quality to it, thanks largely to using a lavalier mic vs a mic that is far away. I like a uni-directional “shotgun” mic on a boom and stand. But quality lavs, properly handled, are very effective.

    Later, during the “mountain background” scenes, with no lav, the quality is still good. Whatever you used, it worked pretty well! Again, I like a shotgun on a boom plugged into a field recorder, for they are fast and I have full control.

    Listening to your content so much easier if the audio is good. *Believing* in your content is much easier when the audio is good.

    4. Background, lighting and camera quality matters!
    If there is a blown out area (like the time when you had computers behind you) that area competes for my attention. Humans are hard wired to pay attention to bright light. More than we know, it distracts us from listening to you. Artist have known for centuries now to use light to draw our attention to the central focus of their paintings. Video lighting is no different. Good lighting adds a little bit of depth to the shot, yet keeps the focus on you. Again. I really liked the “mountain” scene.

    Background really matters!
    It was a big improvement in your total message when you moved to the inspiring background of mountains while on a very inviting looking balcony. The background is it’s own message. The background should always agree with you, not contradict you. Mountains and a nice, inviting looking balcony says what you’re saying. If you shot that video on a garbage dump, or inside a decrepit building, or at a hospice care facility, the results would be obvious: confusing messages, and a feeling of discouragement.

    If you want an inspiring message, choose and inspiring background. Kitchens and dining rooms, usually are not inspiring.

    “the medium is the message” it really is. And when the medium says, “we’re focused, we’re inspiring (like the background, and good lighting) we’re professional (the video quality, the audio quality) ” then I am much more likely to accept your spoken words-and be inspired by them.

    To the talent and to the executive producers (ie. the person who pays for the videos) I would ask: always keep in mind that Non Verbal trumps Verbal every time. Jeff, your non-verbal is quite good: your eye contact is excellent, the audio quality is good, your choice of higher quality video and choice of inspiring background all lead me towards trusting you and being inspired by you. The medium really is the message.

    • Caroline Divine says:

      Great feedback Brent! Hope I have someone like you near when I start shooting videos haha!

      Jeff you’re awesome-thank you 🙂

  • Deep bow Big thank you. Love the simplicity – focus on opener and closer, press record. Trust yourself and the process.

  • Well none really matters to me either, what I am interested in is what is the best video editing software? Are there any free ones?

  • Jeffrey Paul says:

    Jeff you are airways enlightening and you keep it “Simple “ Thanks

  • Jeff
    Always straight to the “heart”
    Human is the key
    We all want to connect and someone we connect with
    And you do that in warn wonderful spades
    Thanks
    Charlie

  • Hi Jeff—Really enjoy your weekly messages. Your ability to communicate authenticity and warmth along with interesting content is why I will always open your emails. It’s the same reason I open emails from friends. Pretty big lesson in all of this. Thanks for stopping by my inbox!

  • Thanks Jeff! Getting ready to start doing videos in my business and this helps a ton. Finished over perfection!
    Cheers,
    Erica

  • Peter Brodie says:

    Brent,

    I feel compelled to reply to your comment. Jeff’s video blog is encouraging viewers to just get out there and do whatever has to be done. Your lengthy analysis of how to achieve perfection is in direct contradiction to his message of not letting all that stuff get in the way of getting started!

  • Wow, Jeff, sweet and simple! Works for me. I joined your PLF course because I resonated so with your energy.
    Thanks for this!

  • Chuck says:

    Thank you for this encouragement to be less concerned about the gear and “perfection” and more concerned about getting what you have to say out there. So, I just decided to accept your challenge and use what I had, which was an iPad, a spot in our dining room, a few bullet point topics I jotted down on a sheet of paper (taped behind the iPad for me to see) and my Weebly-based blog.

    I’ve never posted a remark here before, and I’ve never video blogged before today…just now. I’m so encouraged…and relieved. It was easier than I thought it would be.

    Thank you, Jeff. Really.

  • Walt Hampton says:

    Really helpful. Thank you Jeff.

  • Thank you for always radiating an energy of encouragement! I always feel so much more capable and brave when I watch your videos and, thanks to the sage advice of “just get going”, I’ve been able to create a really stout library of (art instruction) content for my tribe. I can’t thank you enough for being such a shining example of a generosity of spirit and knowledge!

  • Thanks for the great info! I’ve started doing a lot more short videos to connect with my community and your example is often in my mind!

  • I get it that it’s just hit record and know what your lead in is and what your lead out is. However, what about when you’re recording your Sideways Sales Letter? Are you working off of a script or following the same structure as your hit record. As always Thanks for delivering the GREAT content.

  • Are you speaking directly to your Avatar? How do you share your Authentic Self?

  • What are your thoughts on implementing FB LIVE into your publishing mix?

  • Mary says:

    Great advice! After scripting videos very carefully and using a teleprompter, I’m now doing off-the-cuff videos. It’s much more fun and I come across as ‘the real Mary’ as viewers have told me.

    Thanks for an excellent kick in the butt, Jeff.

  • I’m a PLF member and I was holding back making videos out of fear that I just wasn’t good enough. After months of contemplation and putting it off, I bit the bullet and did it. It took several hours but I accomplished shooting 2 videos from which I felt I learned much from it. I then sent all the footage to my son for editing and after he watched them he told me to give up. He said my eyes were not wide enough and it was obvious that I was reading at times. He also told me that I’m just not cut out for videos. So I’m giving up on PLF and I’m trying to find a distributor who’ll buy my learning tool at a much reduced price so that I can hopefully break even and move on with my life. Anyway, it’s not all about the money. What’s important to me is educating others about the subject of which I’m so passionate.

  • Laura B says:

    Love this! I agree, if we wait for it to be perfect, it will never get done. Thank you!

  • As always, love your message. You are so natural and friend-like on camera when you speak to us. I expected to hear pretty much what you told us, and it was great! What I was looking for, though, as a “behind-the-scenes” look at your production was hearing about what kind of “setup” you have – camera, mic, lighting, recorder, etc. I was glad to hear you address the script, bullet points, whiteboard, etc., but I am most interested in hearing the nuts-and-bolts of “how” you do it. I am ready to start adding video operations to my blogging. The few videos I have recorded for Facebook look different than yours, so I would love to know some of the tech things that you use to produce your videos. Thanks for all you provide for all of us!

  • karin says:

    Hi Jeff
    thank you
    I am just preparing my script and what is good about it: I figure out all there is to say for me on this topic, I try to then do bullet points to have a guidance when I forget what I wanted to say (my worry to get blank)…I am still very scarred about the videos. The background is important and I watched so many doctor videos and they all have their rooms in the background-and its not inspiring…Just have to think what inspiring background I can create…

  • Wayne Evans says:

    Just love your openness… always!

    Thank you.

  • Chris Brown says:

    (Unusal use of monitors as a backlight / rim light !!)

    I’ve created a couple of videos. In most, I sit down and work out a word for word script, which I then record, edit in Audacity, and then match to the videos. And I have to say they are the most ‘stilted’ videos I create. There is a knack to getting enthusiasm into your voice when trying to do a sales pitch.

    On another video, I had an idea of what I wanted to say … and just said what I thought as I went along. That, plus “worts and all” mistakes, seem to flow the most natural – just as I’m writing off the top of my head now.

    But then, for someone doing a training video, the rambling style doesn’t always work the best. Even if what you SAY isn’t scripted, you’ve still got to follow a basic plan so that you know you cover all the salient points.

    But I think unscripted comes over as far more ‘natural’, showing you’re a human being who can still make mistakes.

  • Susan Dawson says:

    Thanks Jeff,
    This is inspiring. My husband and I are marriage influencers who have been blogging for 13 months. We’re about to launch into video and your 6 part video series couldn’t have come at a better time. Just Do It! Got the message. Turning on the video right now!

  • Cathi says:

    Hi Jeff,
    Thanks for the videos. You are so right, we just need to take the first step and get started. So appreciate your insights and passion.

  • Chuck says:

    Thanks, Jeff. I’m off and running now. Two videos produced in the last two days. You made producing a video blog so accessible and relevant.

  • Connie Neal says:

    Thanks for the encouragement! Bless you! You’ve blessed so many others!

  • Wonderful, practical advice as always! I always need the reminder to just start and figure it out as you go when it comes to creating content of any kind!

  • KG says:

    Yes, just get going! Once you start momentum is with you.

  • Reginald says:

    Jeff,

    This is a great video. I like the laid back style and true to yourself. Love the 10 seconds thingy you shared!

    Mine is having some issues in the middle when I get too intense with my videos. Haha!

    Reg

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