It’s just your face and the camera. ACTION!
Contrary to popular belief, recording a professional and high quality video with you in front the camera doesn’t have to be hard or expensive to create.
In this post we are keeping it VERY simple when it comes to filming what is known as a Talking Head Video – where you are in front of the camera and all eyes are on you.
Talking Head videos are very powerful. After just a few seconds of people seeing you and hearing you speak, they feel like they already know you. Like you’re a friend! People buy from their friends.
If you come off as sincere and knowledgeable, and helpful about your topic, you are golden in terms of increasing your chances of making more sales with your products and services.
Doing videos where you are speaking into the camera is a skill you want to practice and become good at and it all starts here! We’re going to help with everything from the tools you need to what to actually say in your videos!
We are only going to talk about 9 things you need to create an amazing (and inexpensive – less than $203.10) talking head video.
The 9 things include:
- Recording Device
- Camera Stand
- Proper Clothes
- Transfer Tool
- Script (and tips to remember / know what to say)
- Video Editing Tool
THAT’S IT! I don’t want to make this complicated for you, nor are we going to be talking about creating expensive professional studio video. I will recommend some places later on if you want the fancy set up!
When I first started doing video sales letters I thought I needed to spend a ton of money and buy all this equipment which kept me from making the videos I needed to sell my products and services.
My research process was a good experience though because I really simplified the way to make talking head videos.
You are very lucky to be reading this post because you will learn from my mistakes so you can get started quicker (and cheaper for that matter)!
Let’s get started with the 9 things you need to create your talking head videos. The first is the actual recording device.
1. Recording Device
Before you think you have to go out and purchase an expensive camera to record your videos, think again!
Of course you can purchase a nice camera but to keep things simple if you have a smartphone then you will get an excellent and high quality recording.
Personally, I would even recommend recording on a smartphone over an iPad because the smartphone results in a better quality and video size. I use an iPhone 6 Plus to do my recordings and the outcome is perfect.
Finally you can also use the camera in your computer to record but you need to be careful if you do this. I have a 22 inch screen iMac so I thought it would be a great idea to make my talking head video right at my desk on the big screen. After I processed the video, I’m guessing because my computer didn’t have enough RAM, the sound wasn’t lined up with my mouth after the video was rendered and the video looked completely horrible and distracting. I stopped doing videos this way because i wasted about 2 hours putting a video together that ended up looking like one of those old Kung Fu movies where the voice didn’t line up with the lips that we all make fun of! When this problem happens, it is very hard to fix…almost impossible.
The beautiful thing about using your iphone or smartphone to record your videos is that the sound quality is great. Most of my videos, especially the quick ones I put up, I don’t use a microphone.
If you want to get a really crisp sound, you can use a microphone like this one:
Don’t go too crazy over sound. As long as you are not in a huge echo-y room, you should be fine. The microphone is an optional tool if you have some extra money you want to throw at the production of your video.
The background is really important with talking head videos. If your background is not right, it could throw off your entire video.
I am going to give you 4 suggestions to great backgrounds in a second, but let’s cover horrible backgrounds really quick. A horrible background is a messy room or messy / distracting surroundings. Make sure you tidy up if you have a big room in your background.
Next, a background that is not flattering should be avoided. I love the colors black and yellow and I had my entire office painted yellow with black trim. Well, it turns out that the background color of yellow drowned me out in my videos and it didn’t go well with my complexion. Learn the colors that go well with you and that’s what you should strive to have in your background. Yes, I repainted one wall in my office.
Let’s talk about 4 background options
Room / Picture / Flattering Wall Color / Desk
We just talked about how to be careful you have a neat background if you are filming in a room. If I am doing a video with my house in the background, I like to film in front of my fireplace. I also re-painted a section of my wall a nice Periwinkle blue color which complements my complexion much better than the yellow which drowned me out.
Many marketers film in front of a nice picture on the wall behind them.
It’s always nice to film in front of something that represents who you are or your brand. James Kwik, who teaches his own methods for Kwik Learning, Recall, and Reading, often refers to everyone having a superpower. So, filming in front of Ironman is very suiting.
2. White / Black / Color Backdrop
Getting a background for your video is stepping it up a notch. Many of the top marketers have these backdrops and generally have a lot of space to keep them up without taking them down.
The backdrops look like this:
You can also get this in black as well. With these backdrops, you tend to need special lighting. I will refer you to Digital Marketer’s post about the additional lighting you will need for your videos.
3. Green Screen
Now we are getting into the fancy options. With green screens you can have any background you want just by placing an image behind you (in your editing stage). Green screens can be tricky as you need to get the lighting PERFECT otherwise, it won’t look right.
You can get a green backdrop or you can get green screen paint which I hear results in an even better outcome.
I personally don’t do green screens because you need a lot of lighting and a pretty significant setup, which I chose not to do. The best green screen option I’ve seen that is really fun to play with is using an ipad app called Green Screen By Do Ink. This app has gotten me the closest to perfect on a cool background without professional lighting. Did I mention how much fun it is to use?
Finally, there are Fatheads. Fatheads are pretty stinkin’ amazing (even outside the video sales letter world)!
Fatheads are huge stickers you can put on your wall that are temporary. Well, they are permanent until you take them off. It’s not like wallpaper where it’s impossible to easily take off. You can get a Fathead of anything you desire. You can get a custom Fathead – you can put life-sized Fatheads of your kids or your dog on your wall. If you love creating custom creative things, you will love Fatheads.
You can design any custom background you want. It’s pretty awesome
You can check out Fatheads here. I got a Fathead of a brick wall that fits perfectly in my shot when I do videos at my desk. See the image at the bottom of this post.
Those are your 4 options for backgrounds. Backgrounds are fun and there are so many options. Be sure to change up your videos backgrounds every now and again to add some new flavor to your videos.
After you’ve got your background figured out, it’s time for lighting.
There are tons of fancy lights you can buy. Trust me.
If you want to save some money, simply have natural light from a window coming in on your face from the front. This will be awesome natural lighting and your videos will look great.
This will work great as long as it is during the day when there is natural light. It will even work if it’s raining out. Sometimes rainy days are even better to film because you don’t have the brightness from the sun and the lighting is more even on the subject (you) and the background.
5. Proper Clothes (From The Top Up)
The great part about us marketers who work from home is we can wear whatever we want. Heck, there are some days where we are lucky if a shower gets taken…but I digress!
On your talking head video day, you need to not look like you’ve just rolled out of bed! This is a day to look your best. Now, this doesn’t always mean you have to dress up in fancy clothes. You determine what kind of clothes to wear for your videos. If you are doing a professional video, business attire is probably the way to go. If you are going for a more relaxed look, then casual is cool too. It’s important whatever you do, just be your authentic self and feel comfortable!
Your clothes should bring out your personality. When you feel comfortable with what you are wearing, your confidence will shine through the roof and that’s very important for your video sales letter.
Ah….and last thing about dressing….if your video is only from the top up you only have to get “dressed” from the top up! You can wear anything you want on the bottom because that part won’t be on camera!
6. Camera Stand
The camera stand is your next challenge. Well, it was a challenge for me but hopefully it won’t be for you because I will share the hardships you might have. Obviously, if you are using a camcorder you should simply get a tripod and for the most part, that’s a great solution.
However if you are using your phone, well that’s a problem. If you don’t have some sort of stand then you might be resorted to propping your phone on books or tables and it’s a huge MESS and pain in the ass.
The problem I had was getting a quality stand to steadily hold my phone.
I first went with this option:
It’s a desk clamp that holds your phone on the other end. But this didn’t work because it didn’t hold the weight of my iphone. So I would try to prop it up to where I wanted the phone to be and unfortunately, gravity would just take over and the phone would just sag.
Next I tried this option:
Ironically enough, the selfie stick option was the best solution out of both because of the little tripod it comes with! However, this wasn’t the best solution because as you will see, the QUALITY of most of these things are made very cheap. I really seeked out a more expensive option because I didn’t want this to be a problem but unfortunately, there is not much out there right now and you will get fooled by Amazon images. The quality looks much better than it actually is.
The problem with this solution above is again, the weight problem. The small tripod’s legs won’t support the weight of the phone and it’s only adjustable to a certain point which is silly. I made due with the small tripod plus books to get the height I needed. It’s pretty ghetto but I make it work.
It’s finally time to speak! By now, we have a camera, we have great sound, we have a stand, we have a beautiful background that complements us, we have nice natural lighting that lights our face, we are wearing awesome and appropriate clothes that suits the kind of video we are making, and now it’s finally time to shoot! But what should we say?
Please refer back to a post I wrote previously called The Script That Doubles Your Video Sales Letter Conversions. This goes into scripting your Video Sales Letters and the process behind doing that perfectly and practically effortlessly.
The question we have right now is how to deliver your script when you are filming your video!
There’s 2 ways to do it:
- A Teleprompter
The BEST teleprompter I have found is called PromptSmart.
The reason I love PromptSmart is because it picks up and moves with the speed you are reading at, as opposed to it just moving at a predetermined rate. Another reason why I love it is because if you are filming from a smartphone, it works and integrates with your camera. This means you don’t need a teleprompter PLUS a camera because it’s one in the same.
The next option is to memorize your script. I wouldn’t go as far as memorize it word for word but rather know the sections and if you are good with speaking freely (scripted without reading) then this is a good option for you. Practice will be huge here if you are using this method.
One trick that helps me are visual cues. Visualization will help you memorize what you want to say. Seeing a picture can spark an entire thought process.
You can keep another monitor at the side of your camera that has a powerpoint and you can briefly take a peek at your next talking point.
Here is an example:
Speaking from a ton of experience, the only thing to be careful with while speaking “scripted but unscripted” is to watch your verbal diarrhea which I also talk about in the this blog post here. Verbal diarrhea is the overuse of the words ummm and ya know. There are other words too to watch out for. This usually happens as a result of being unprepared and unsure of what you are going to say next. The only thing to cure this is practice. Practice makes Progress 🙂
8. Video Transfer Tool
Ok. You are now finished recording! There is a little bit more work to be done at this point.
If you are filming on your phone, you now have to get the video from your phone to your computer and the easiest way to do that is Dropbox.
Dropbox is a file sharing tool that can be installed on your computer and your phone. Dropbox is free up to a certain space capacity. If you want a ton more storage, it’s $99 a year. It’s well worth it. I run my entire business on Dropbox because I use different devices and I am able to work from anywhere in the world on any computer. During Superstorm Sandy I didn’t have to worry because I didn’t have anything in my business stored “locally” like a lot of businesses did. The cloud is the way to go.
Take your video and simply upload it to Dropbox on your phone and it will magically appear in your file in Dropbox on your computer. You are now ready to rock and roll.
9. Video Editing Tool
You made it! The very last step is the editing phase. Of course, you can always hand this off to a professional to do your editing for you.
If you want to edit yourself, we recommend Camtasia or ScreenFlow. Both of these programs are fantastic for editing, making nice transitions, adding text to your video and more.
Once you are finished editing, export your video as an mp4 and it’s ready to be used!
Don’t Put It Off Any Longer
It’s time to get what you need to start doing more talking head videos. You will see that you can put together a great video for a one time investment of under $200.
As I said above, you are quite lucky to have this post at your fingertips whenever you need it because it will allow you to bypass any video hardships and it will also save you money! You don’t need the fanciest video sales letter equipment to make nice videos to help sell your products and services. Now, go do it!
Just for fun….I know you believed me but I just wanted to put a picture up of what I spoke about in this post.
This is behind the scenes in my office where I had the horrible yellow wall, my new periwinkle colored wall, my brick Fathead that I film in front of a lot, my tripod that came with the selfie stick and the bendy iphone holder desk clamp which wasn’t sturdy enough for my iPhone 6 Plus.
There you have it!
Want to learn tons more about doing videos like a pro for all your marketing? Check out Video Spike Below.
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