Video is nothing to be scared of. Even now, after doing lots of videos, I still struggle with that final act of being on screen. But it’s definitely much better than it used to be. And it gets better every time. Each time I’m about to record and I feel that little twist in my stomach, I just remember last time it wasn’t so bad and whenever I mess up, I can redo it. Then I just press record and don’t worry about how good or perfect it is. It’s digital; I can throw it away and re-record. I’m the authority here, so I get to say what perfect means. IOW, if I say it’s perfect, it’s perfect. (Just a note, don’t get caught up in perfect. Perfect is overrated. We all know you’re not perfect because we aren’t either. But we are interested in what you have to say. We’re on your side, so don’t worry about it.)

No Fear Here

Unlike the #1 fear most people have, video is not public speaking. Well, in a way it is because the video plays publicly, but video is the public speaking that you get infinite do-overs (until the point that you’re just making excuses to not finish it). So relax about it. In fact, just record some video about whatever topic you enjoy. Pretend you’re talking to your best friend and sharing your hobby with them. Let your excitement and passion for the topic come through. You aren’t going to post this anywhere; it’s just to practice getting comfortable being on camera. Don’t even worry about the technicalities of audio, framing, and background at this point. Just record. It’s ONLY about you being on screen. Do this several times and you’ll get more comfortable each time. Eventually add in the technical elements to increase the video’s quality. But take your time. Even if you’re petrified to be on video, just keep working at it. You can throw it all away if you want. Just break that fear.

Then when you get to an acceptable point, share it with your friend, or a colleague. You still aren’t going to post it, but by letting someone else view it, you have brought the video outside of yourself and can now receive honest input. There’s always that self talk that tells you how a thing is, but by sharing that video you taking a little risk which will help break that fear some more. You will also get a different perspective of your video and things you may have been obsessing about are not even noticed to someone else. Because you are the one creating, you are the one that sees the flaws, but your audience won’t.

Here’s Where to Start

Plan a little bit about what you want to say, but you don’t have to memorize it. Perhaps write 3-5 points you want to cover and that’s it.
1. Chances are you have a webcam in your computer. If you don’t know how to access it, find out how. If you’re on a Mac, you can just open the PhotoBooth program. If you’re on pc, open the Movie Maker application.
2. Adjust the camera so that you’re fairly centered. Don’t have too much room over your head (called ‘headroom’). Just nicely centered is fine.
3. The camera should also be roughly at eye level. This will avoid the subconscious illusion of dominance by the viewer. Even though this is practice for now, they are some things to keep in mind even just starting so that you set a good foundation.
4. Press record.
5. Take a deep breath and count to 5 silently in your head. Then begin to speak. Talk about your kids. Talk about a fun vacation you took. Talk about the book you’re reading now. It doesn’t matter what the subject is at this point. Just make it interesting. Try not to ramble.
6. Aim for 1-2 minutes. You’re not doing a long video any time soon even when you’re ready to go public. Plus, it’s easier to watch and redo over and over when it’s shorter.
7. When you are finished talking, PAUSE. Count to 5 silently again in your head, looking at the camera with a smile. Then click Stop Recording. This way, even if you don’t have a remote and have to reach to the camera to stop and start record, you can easily edit that out.

That’s it. Easy peasy. Re-record as much as you need to get comfortable. Just be careful not to obsess about it before you can move on. Then share it with a friend.

I’d be glad to help you. If you’d like me to take a look at videos you produce, I’d be glad to give you pointers at whatever level you’re comfortable with. If you very, very new to video and just want someone else to look at it, or if you’ve done a few videos but want some tips to improve, I’m there for you.

Leave a comment below about your experience recording video, your fears that prevent you from recording video, or if you found this article at all helpful. If you want me to look at your video, just post it. I have to approve all comments before they’re made public, so you can remain private.