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5 things you need to know before you shoot your next video

maps, computer, planning, compass
Today’s post is about P2. Plan and how to create one before you shoot your next video.

Early in my career when I worked in the telecommunications industry, I had a boss whose favorite saying was “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will do.”

It was sage advice. I soon learned if you don’t have a plan for where you’re going, there’s a really good chance you’ll end up somewhere other than where you want to be.

It’s the same thing for on camera appearances, if you don’t know your purpose and what you hope to achieve, any road will do, and you probably won't be too happy with where you end up.

Why winging it won’t work

When I talk about creating a plan for shooting a video, some people roll their eyes because they do a lot of speaking and they feel like it’s something that will just take care of itself.

Or, they think it’s overkill - after all, it’s just a Facebook live video - right?

I see it all the time on social media with so many options (and growing) to go live with the push of a button.

And because it’s so easy to hit “go live” lots of folks feel like they can just wing it. And we all know what happens then, they just keep going, and going and going….not sure where they are headed or when to stop.

Others feel like because they speak of the cuff at work in front of small and large groups (as subject matter experts) they can do that on video too.

Unfortunately, in most instances, that’s not the case.

I’ve seen people who speak in front of audiences for work or their product step in front of the camera and wing it and be sadly disappointed in the results. Afterwards, they tell me they’ve lost sleep over how poorly they did AND on more than one occasion I’ve had people ask if they can reshoot because they “blew it”.

The common denominator in all these cases is they relied on the fact that they knew their topic, they just hadn’t planned on how to present it in front of the camera.

"When the stakes are high, you can’t just wing it."

That’s why you need a plan…

When you have about 3 seconds to capture someone’s attention and they have lots of choices about what to watch, it pays to plan how you will deliver your message and what visuals you are going to use in your video.

I’m not saying you have to be perfect, however you can be effective, comfortable and credible with a little planning.

Remember a plan is a roadmap to get you from where you are to where you want to be.

It’s a way to get clear about your message, action plan, what resources you need, how you will implement your action plan and of course, what success looks like.

So how to do you get started?

Ask some more questions. And then some more.

In my last post, we got clear about our purpose and asked and answered why we were creating our video and what we wanted to achieve. If you missed it you can read it here.

Now it’s time to ask: Where and how.

When you create a plan for video there’s 5 things you’ll want to focus on ahead of tim

  • Location

  • Audio

  • Lighting

  • Wardrobe, make up, hair

  • Resources, props and other visuals

We are going to cover a lot of ground here, so I created a checklist you can download to follow along.

1. What is the environment like where are you going to shoot your video or photos?

Will you be indoors or outdoors? Studio? Conference Room? You need to consider this when you are thinking about what you’ll wear.

What is the backdrop? If it’s black, then you want to don’t want to wear black or a dark suit because you'll blend in.

How many cameras? One or many? Where will they be located?How large is the room? It matters for staging, wardrobe and sound. And it will make a difference on how you prepare your slides to make sure the folks in the back of the room can see.

If you’re shooting in your home office or going live in the field, you have one camera it matters how it’s positioned.

If you are recording live, how many people are in the audience? Remember in finding our purpose, we asked who is in the audience? Now we want to know how many people will be attending. This will help you prepare mentally and anticipate how you will connect. How much time do you have to speak? Or how long do you want your video to be?

If you are speaking, find out who will introduce you and do they have questions for you or can you provide them? (if they are providing the questions, see if you can get them ahead of time.)It takes the mystery out of game day when you know what your environment will be. It’s hard to plan when you don’t know where you are going.

2. What about audio?

There’s an industry saying, audio without video is radio, and think about how fast you’ll look for something else when the audio is poor. You are far more likely to forgive bad video if you can hear the message clearly. Knowing what type of microphone you will use will ensure good audio.


Will you be using a lapel microphone, handheld or headset? (most of the time you can ask ahead)If you are going to be using a lapel microphone, you want to be sure to wear something that has a place for the microphone and body pack. If you are using a handheld, you want to think about advancing your slides and holding the microphone.

Is there a lot of background noise where you will be recording your video? Are you going to be doing interviews? If so, a handheld microphone is easier to navigate. It’s worth investing in a good microphone.

3. Lighting

This is something that can make or break a video. Poor lighting makes it hard for your viewers to connect and can send the wrong message. Even in low light situations, there are things you can do to make sure you look your best, even for live social media.


What kind of lighting is available - natural light or studio or field lights? If you are not used to speaking with bright lights it can be very intimidating. Good to know this.

If you are outdoors, the time of day will affect light and shadows. Visit the site ahead of time at the same time of day to see if the location you’re thinking about is well lit. If you have control of the time of the event, you can plan for the best light. If not, you know that you may have challenges you need to plan for.