Video Tips for Professional Speakers

Hiring a Videographer

Why are you recording the event? is it for posterity/documentation? Are you using it for self study? Are you using it for promotion? Answering these questions will help you make sound decisions about your production.

Hire multiple videographers, or have multiple cameras recording your performance: the final edited videos have more polish. Staring at the same camera angle for a long time gets boring.

When negotiating a speaking fee, try to get them to include a video recording, but beware that you might not get a choice in who records the presentation.

Avoid having the videographer record from the back of the room, if possible. Doing so makes you seem too distant. Having the videographer set up midway or from the side usually offers a better angle.

Be aware of safety & fire code issues when hiring videographer(s) to record your presentation/event.

Having a wireless microphone & a house feed as a source for audio is a great safeguard in case something fails.

It’s not always the case, but the house videographer is not always the best choice to record your presentation.

Booking a videographer 1-3 months before your presentation will ensure they’re available for your presentation.

A properly equipped videographer may have multiple cameras, a fluid head tripod, a wireless audio kit and a way to get audio from a house feed at a minimum.

A DSLR camera is not optimal for recording presentations, they’ll get the job done, but usually can record no more than 30 minutes of video before having to shut off.

Stage lighting is not always your friend. See if your videographer can bring in supplemental lighting if you think it’s going to be too dark.

Budget time to visit the space with your videographer a week or two before the event so there are no surprises.

If other speakers are presenting, perhaps the cost of production could be shared.

When a seasoned videographer provides a time estimate, they’re usually right. We live our life in terms of frames (30 per second, to be exact).

Dress Code*

Try to create some contrast with your backdrop, avoid wearing black clothing when you’re going to be in a dark room with a dark backdrop.

Always avoid white when being filmed because it’s easy to overexpose and you don’t want that. Unskilled videographers won’t know or care to expose the image properly.

99.9% of the time wearing glasses and/or hats will cause harsh shadows or reflections. It really does look bad.

Don’t let a stationary microphone cover up your face, ask your videographer if you are unsure.

If you’re about as tall as the podium/lectern, having something to stand on will help the recording.

Try to place the Q&A microphone near the stage, with the person asking the question facing the camera, if you can.

Find out if the lighting is going to be tinted with a color and, see if you can stick with a natural white. Colored lighting is not your friend.

*as long as it doesn’t interfere with your branding

Pro Tips

During a Q&A session, if the audience doesn’t have a microphone, always repeat the question for the recording.

When backing up copies of your video content, have 2 hard drives in case one fails.

Have a copy of your slides in PDF format e-mailed to your videographer before/after the event.

If you’re using the video for promotional purposes, it should go without saying to pick a venue that’s packed and has a great aesthetic atmosphere.

The alternative is to stage an event in a space with great aesthetic character and have everyone you know show up.

Want to create a speaking reel on a tight budget? Rent a space that can be easily configured/restaged, bring multiple changes of clothing, and spend the day recording some of your top speaking segments. You’ll create the illusion of having presented in multiple places for the camera! 

Having a drone flying through the audience and recording your presentation would look really cool, but it’s probably a bad idea due to safety + expense. Also your audience will be distracted no matter how dynamic of a presenter you are.

If you’re able to shoulder the cost (if you have to ask…) and you’re ready for the exposure, Public Television is a great way to bring your program to a mass audience. Just make sure the demographics make sense.

When making video selections, videographers use a “In” and “Out” point for selecting segments, the “In” point is where the video is to begin and the “Out” point is where the video should end.

If you make a detailed list of these in a document, and maybe some basic notes like “IN POINT”, begins with me saying, “In this presentation…” and ends with “and that’s how I won the internet.”., you will save your videographer time.

Having people subscribe to your YouTube channel is a must have, it enables you to remarket to people who’ve viewed it, plus they receive an update each time you add a new video to your channel. It’s another way to stay top of mind!

Offer cookies or other clever bribes, but get 2-3 testimonials about your speaking per event!

Avoid being recorded at a high camera angle (camera looking down on you. From a psychological & cinematic standpoint, a high camera angle conveys a meaning of weakness & powerlessness. Sometimes it isn’t feasible to avoid.

Make the Most of Your Media

Target your speaking reels based on your areas of expertise and venues/events you’re interested in. If you have presented on different but related topics, like marketing, sales, and communication, you should have enough material.

Slice up your most significant content into 1-3 minute segments. Use a platform like Hootsuite to schedule repeat posts over LinkedIn, Facebook or another social platform. Have 120 minutes of great content? Great, that’s 60, 2-minute videos. That’s 1-2 videos a week.

Still images from video make terrible photographs on print media, the resolution is ultimately too low and video cameras are not optimal for still images, conversely DSLR’s make for great still photographs.

If you’re hosting a workshop, consider having 1-2 videographers record it and create segments that you can resell on a platform like Kajabi or Udemy (but we really think Kajabi is a smart platform).

Your newly created speaking events are now blogging material. Write a post diving deeper into detail, but have the short video provide a high level overview of the topic.

Always, always, always have a call to action (visit the website, subscribe to the YouTube channel, etc.) at the end and throughout your video.

If it’s in your budget, subscribe to Wistia or Sprout Video and host your content there. You get nice features like post play call to action buttons, e-mail gates or subscription forms built right in. Plus they can integrate with your e-mail hosting provider like MailChimp or Constant Contact!

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