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How to record your own videos and look like a pro

You’ve probably heard about the power of using video in your financial advice business to catch and keep more clients. Right?

But if you’re just getting started, recording your own “talking head” video can feel pretty daunting.

Whether it’s the fear of looking like a robot, not knowing what equipment to use, or just feeling overwhelmed at all the moving parts, there are some simple ways around it.

If you want to increase your ‘human’ connection and let more people ‘experience you’, then being in front of the camera, eye balling your prospects and clients is better than sliced bread.

To help you out, let’s look at the 7 things you need to have covered to make a professional looking face-to-camera video.

All without a studio full of fancy equipment and a degree in fine arts.

1. Relax

Okay, so easier said than done, but feeling relaxed on camera (or at least convincingly faking it), is probably the most challenging part of creating videos.

For some people, this will come naturally. If that’s you, then high five yourself and move to the next step.

If you’re a tad nervous, self-conscious, or just not used to talking to yourself (you don’t have crazy tendencies do you?) you’ll need a little practice and some tips to loosen up.

You could try:

  • Recording in an environment where you feel relaxed and at ease
  • Practicing what you want to say in front of a mirror
  • Wearing clothes that make you feel confident and in control
  • Asking others to leave the room, so you can mess up without feeling embarrassed
  • Giving yourself a break – acknowledge you don’t have to be George Clooney or Angela Jolie
  • Doing something silly to loosen up, like jumping around or making silly noises (seriously this really works)

Michelle Jenneke dancing

Find your inner Michelle Jenneke and loosen up before recording. I dare you.

And don’t forget to practice. Like most things, the more you do it, the better you’ll get.

2. Location

If you’re just starting out, choosing a quiet location with no distractions, will make recording your video much easier.

Save that shot of you walking and talking in the middle of the CBD at lunchtime for when you get more experience.

So where should you shoot your video?

The background you choose can help tell your story.

And if doesn’t contribute to your message or is even a little distracting, then blurring the background can also be an option. (Don’t worry, you can get a video editor to do this for you).

You could record:

  • In your lounge room to introduce a homely, personal feel
  • Outside, to make use of a green background and natural light
  • In front of an overflowing bookcase to show you’re a reader and a learner
  • In front of a green screen, paper background or white backdrop to give it a more corporate look
  • In a corner of your office, that may become your go-to, DIY video studio

For more ideas about choosing a background for your video, Wistia has some food for thought.

3. Video recorder

There are hundreds of cameras on the market that can give you crystal clear shots, beautiful blurred backgrounds and amazing zoom capabilities.

But you don’t need all of that to get started.

Take your smart phone out of your pocket and put it to good use.

Keep it simple and don’t worry about not having all the bells and whistles.

It will get you going faster. And the constraints of the limited options, will help you focus on what really matters:

  • Position your camera horizontally and frame your shot. If you use your phone’s forward facing camera (i.e. selfie mode) you’ll be able to see real-time, what you’re shooting and make any adjustments on the fly.
  • Avoid using the zoom functionality on your phone, as this will reduce the image quality. Go old school and move your phone closer so the viewer is near enough to see the whites of your eyes…just not in a creepy way.
  • Hold your phone’s position steady with a tripod. You can pick up a mini desk tripod from Officeworks for under $10.00. Of course, the “leaning it against a stack of books” option is also a solid technique.

Quick tip: If you’re leveraging natural light and facing a window for your shot, try using a suction GPS holder as your tripod – and stick it straight onto the window.

For more information about shooting a video using an iPhone, here are some pointers from Wistia.

4. Lighting

Lighting can make a big difference to the quality of your video, so it’s worth spending a little time experimenting with different effects and seeing what works.

Of course, the easiest lighting tool is to use natural light.

Yes, just record your video while facing a window. Try to avoid direct sunlight because it can be a little harsh and make you a bit squinty.

When you’re setting up your lighting, be conscious of the impact any shadows being introduced or removed will have on the message you’re communicating. An intense client story might be enhanced by some dramatic shadows across your face, but for a straight face-to-camera video, a clean, soft light may be more appropriate.

Lighting can get pretty technical, and there are many styles of lights you can buy.

But keep your lighting kit simple and focus on where they’re placed.


Get creative and use what you have available. But if you want to add a few lights to your kit, check out Wistia’s guide to lighting. 

5. Microphone

If you’ve ever watched a video with background noise, wind, or music that’s a little too loud for the voiceover, you’ll know how frustrating it can be. Getting the sound right can have an impact on whether people watch your video right to the end.

If you’re recording with your smart phone, there’ll be a microphone built right in. And if you’re close enough to the camera, and in a quiet location, it might be all you need.

But if you want to add a small piece of technology that will make a big difference, there are a couple of options for connecting a microphone directly to your smart phone.

The first is a lapel mic that clips right on to your shirt and sits just below your mouth. It’s called the Rode SmartLav and is priced around $70.

Hear the difference in the sound quality in this short video.

But if the SmartLav feels a bit invasive, particularly if you’re videoing with clients, you could try the RodeMic Me.

This is my new best friend. It’s a shotgun mic which clips straight onto your smart phone. It’s a directional mic, which means it’ll pick up the sound right in front of it. So you’ll need to keep your head quite still when recording, because turning away will reduce the clarity of the sound.

Check out this video (again by Wistia) for more ideas when choosing a microphone.

6. Editing

Unless you’re planning on going completely raw and unedited with your videos (which is fine), you’ll need an inexpensive or free tool for editing.

You’ll need the ability to:

  • remove your bloopers (save these for sharing later – people love bloopers – trust me)
  • cut together segments of video
  • overlay text
  • add an intro or outro (if you want a funky intro to your videos where you make your logo do some fancy dance moves, check out how we can animate your business logo.

If you’re a Windows user, you probably already have Windows Live MovieMaker installed on your computer. Just be aware that from Windows 10, it’s no longer supported.

And if you’re a Mac user, you probably have access to iMovie – which you may have for free or need to pay around $15 for in the app store.

Another popular option many financial advisers use is Camtasia (available for both Windows and Mac). It’s user-friendly and easy to learn. And while it doesn’t have a lot of features, it probably has everything you need. This is the one I personally use when I do my own editing.

For those of you who don’t want to spend the time working the ‘editing’ thing you could consider outsourcing it! (This is my preferred option these days).

There are plenty of highly experienced video editors, for reasonable prices at places like Upwork or fiverr.

7. Hosting

And once your video is recorded and edited, you’ll want to upload it somewhere so it can be shared. This is called “hosting” and there are three main options:

We’ve covered the ins and outs of these platforms previously, so jump on over to our last blog post: Using a video hosting platform to spread your message and find the best one for you.

Just get started

So now you know how to start creating videos, your challenge is which one to do first?

Don’t think too hard about it.

Just get cracking; get practicing; and start using video in your financial advice business. It will do wonders to get people more excited and want to work with you!

Got to tell you: If you are looking for some inspiration to help you understand how you can use video to grow your business, check out our free guide here.

Until next time!


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