In the two previous posts in this three post series, we discussed how to best record both the audio and the video. After all, capturing audio and video is what vlogging is all about. To create good quality Stand and Deliver presentations, it is vital to focus on the content itself and not distract the viewer with the defects in the recordings.
Here is a simple Stand and Deliver video clip that was recorded at a table with a standard iPhone, table-top tripod, and an external microphone. Nothing else was used.
No, it is not perfect. However, I think there that when it comes to corporate video clips that the raw aspects are better because of the flaws. They are more authentic if they have imperfections. And the simple truth is no one is perfect. Constantly striving for perfection can be counter-productive. Perfection is like a dog chasing its tail. It is unattainable. There will always be someone faster, smarter, more attractive, and funnier than us. Perfection gives us a false sense that there is a ceiling to achieve some level of the “right” way to be. For corporate video clips, practice makes it all better. These accessories will help to make incremental improvements in your Stand and Deliver videos.
These accessories will help you to capture your content. Without good and functional accessories, the recording process can be clumsy and frustrating. So, by augmenting your camera with a few items to make your life easier can mean the difference between capturing content that truly shows off your thought leadership or demonstrates your lack of it.
You do not need to spend a fortune on accessories. You may have some of them on hand already or can borrow them from friends or family. Most of these items are often purchased used as well, as they are not technologically critical like the camera or smartphone. They are often just passive mounting apparatus used to hold the camera steady while you present to your viewers.
Here are a few of the most important accessories in no particular order.
Tripods come in all shapes and sizes. If you use a smartphone to record your video clips, then you likely just need a table-top model. All I say about tripods is to buy a stable, quality model, after all it is holding your smartphone so if it falls over and your smartphone smashes, then you will not be happy. A tripod needs to be adjustable in height and permit point the camera up/down. left/ right as needed to frame your head for the shot. It needs to be positioned far enough away to capture your head and shoulders. Thing of the framing that the news anchor has on your favourite nightly newscast.
As much as I hate these sticks and wonder how many folks lost an eye to them in Niagara Falls where you can not walk 100 meters without being hit by 4 or 5 of them, they are useful for corporate videos. If you handhold the smartphone, it will look funny and the recording will be unstable. The selfie stick permits the camera to be further away and adds stability to the shot. Many modern smartphones have image stabilization that helps greatly when using a selfie stick. A smaller table-top tripod may do double duty as a selfie stick so you can avoid doing two purchases with the right tripod acquisition.
You can easy spend from $100 to $1500 if you spurge on a 3-axes gimbal mount for your camera. In most cases this gimbal is not needed for Stand and Deliver videos. A tripod is all that is needed. However, if you get serious later and wish to expand your video recordings to include capturing family, travel, or hobby content, then you may consider one of these gimbal mounts to add stabilization to your recordings when you are moving. Motion adds a powerful dynamic to a video, but for Stand and Deliver videos, the emphasis should be on the content and not fancy effects.
If you use your smartphone to record, as most folks do, then you will need a way to attach it to the tripod, selfie stick, or gimbal. It is not unusual for these mounts to be included in the purchase of the mounting device, but you may elect to buy something more universal and with added articulation to permit getting that perfect angle.
Most Stand and Deliver videos are poorly lit. You may not need to buy a light if you just learn to consider the lighting before you begin recording. Too often we see videos of the presenter sitting with a window behind them. The sun is beaming into the room and their face is shadowed by the intense backlighting. It is okay to use light from behind if you have light from the front of side to fill the foreground and allow the viewer to see your smiling face. If they cannot see you then they cannot connect with your message. Communication is a human to human thing so you must be viewable.
The first options costs nothing, just pick a location that has proper natural light. Sometimes, all it takes to fix the lighting is to turn around 90° or 180°. Simple. If that is not working you may need to add supplemental lighting.
- Rings – Most trending vloggers use a right light to fill in the face, These can be costly and for typical Stand and Deliver video can be unnecessary. But, they are highly effective so for serious users, it may be a smart choice.
- LED – I use two low cost LED lights on miniature tripods to fill in the shadows on my recordings. These lights can be purchased locally for under $100 each. Most of these LED lights are battery powered and must be charged in advance of use.
- Flood – You can buy a simple lighting kit online or at your local camera store for #100 plus and these can be helpful to capture well lit recordings of “talking head” shots. Three lights are often in these kits, one is the key light, a second is the fill light, and the third is the highlight light. In a pinch, I have used my shop lights as studio lights. I own then to do household and automotive repairs so I use these existing lamps to help make my videos better too. Unlike the LED lights, these lamps need extension cords and AC power outlets to work, so consider these issues too.
Often, the background seen behind the presenter is distracting and takes away from the video clip. So, more serious vloggers use a drape or background curtains or paper rolls to cover the background and add a neutral aspect to the area. This brings the attention of the viewer directly to the vlogger. Is it necessary for Stand and Deliver video clips, likely not, but your attention to the setting and what the viewer will see behind you is critical.
Like tripods, you can purchase low cost stands to support your accessories and make the production easier. These accessories are nice to have but not essential by any means. Stands will support the lights, backgrounds, microphone, and a variety of other items that may be essential to your success.
Not to be underestimated, a good quality microphone is vital to your success. You can buy low cost directional microphones that mount directly to your smartphone or clip on your label. Any microphone is better that the built-in microphone on the camera, tablet, or laptop. See the previous post on audio in this three part series.
Media Cards and Readers
Typically you have no options when it comes to the removable cards used to record your videos if you use a smartphone. Wi-Fi is a excellent way to transfer the content to the computer for uploading to the sharing site. However, if you use the family video camera, then you may have purchased the media separately. Whatever you do, you must buy the right card to handle the data transfer rates of the video. SD cards are the most popular media used and then come is several standards of quality. Not all cards are equal and video recording taxes even the most expensive cards to perform. A card reader is always a good means to connect the media to your computer. Again, buy quality name brand card readers only. I have seen folks with $5000 video camera try to get away with a $10 card reader and it does not work. So, spend wisely on the card reader or the connecting cable used to transfer the content.
With Stand and Deliver videos we typically try to record them in one shot. After all, it is just a 90 second rambling, right? Well, video and audio editing software may be vital to your success if you need to do a few tweaks before you post. Sometimes we need a title or a graphic overlay to enhance the video. There are lots of video editing software choices and the chances are that your computer came with a suitable program to use. For my choice, I love Camtasia, which is a useful corporate video editing tool. What makes it so useful is that it can permit the ingest of PowerPoint slides and most video editing programs cannot do that at all. For audio recording and edits, I prefer Audacity. It is a free, open source program that you can download to your computer. It is an amazingly powerful and capable audio tool and the best part is that it is free.
Spare Batteries and Charger
The best accessory is the one that you need the most and nothing is more important than power. I always have spare batteries and a charger going to keep my productions moving forward. It is not unusual for me to do a lot of takes to capture the perfect recording on my so called, natural video clip. So, I do a lot of recording, a lot of playbacks, and as a result, I burn through batteries fast. It is essential to be able to complete the Stand and Deliver videos in one setting. Time is precious and with work demands it is difficult to pick up on a video project where I left off. So, I must get it in one sitting or else it falls to the back burner. Nothing kills a video clip faster than a dead battery.
Using a remote trigger to start and stop the recording is very helpful. We see too many recordings where the presenter is leaning in or leaning back to start or stop the camera. It is a strong distraction from your content. A remote trigger hidden in your hand is ideal. Much like the hidden slide charger in a PowerPoint presentation, it adds an air of professionalism to the recording. Be site to add a 2 count pause before talking after firing the remote trigger. for video cameras, this accessory is often included so they are free with the purchase. You can buy them online for your smartphone and they use Bluetooth to connect to your device for starting and stopping it.
A drone is a hot video recording tool. There are lots of issues that I will not get into here regarding drones. And, they are not commonly used for corporate Stand and Deliver videos. But, if you progress beyond the business video demands, and expand your video logging to family, holiday, or hobby videos, you may wish to use a drone to capture that perfect shot and edit it into your clip to differentiate and dramatically add to your message.
These are the main accessories to consider for vlogging. As I said, not all are needed, nor even required, and may only be considered if you elevate your video capturing skills and applications beyond vlogs for Stand and Deliver content. But, the right accessory will make your recordings easier and more fun to capture and help to remove some of the stress and angst for the process. The best vlogs are recorded quickly, easily, and in a fun way. The most important issue is not any of these accessories but your level of preparation and rehearsal before the camera roles. Having s script is the best tool to have for any Stand and Deliver video.
About the Author:
Michael Martin has more than 35 years of experience in systems design for broadband networks, optical fibre, wireless and digital communications technologies.
He is a Senior Executive with IBM Canada’s Office of the CTO, Global Services. Over the past 14 years with IBM, he has worked in the GBS Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities and the GTS Global Center of Excellence for Energy and Utilities. He was previously a founding partner and President of MICAN Communications and before that was President of Comlink Systems Limited and Ensat Broadcast Services, Inc., both divisions of Cygnal Technologies Corporation (CYN: TSX).
Martin currently serves on the Board of Directors for TeraGo Inc (TGO: TSX) and previously served on the Board of Directors for Avante Logixx Inc. (XX: TSX.V).
He serves as a Member, SCC ISO-IEC JTC 1/SC-41 – Internet of Things and related technologies, ISO – International Organization for Standardization, and as a member of the NIST SP 500-325 Fog Computing Conceptual Model, National Institute of Standards and Technology.
He served on the Board of Governors of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and on the Board of Advisers of five different Colleges in Ontario. For 16 years he served on the Board of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Toronto Section.
He holds three master’s degrees, in business (MBA), communication (MA), and education (MEd). As well, he has diplomas and certifications in business, computer programming, internetworking, project management, media, photography, and communication technology.