Tips on doing your video shoot

This may look like a long list, but hopefully it answers any questions you have about videotaping your talk. The better the inputs on your end, the better your final video will look at the end!

1. Block off several hours for the setup and videography process.

Beforehand, you may want to purchase or assemble:

  • A tripod
  • Soft studio light
  • Inexpensive microphone for your phone or computer
  • A sheet for a backdrop and for reflecting light
  • Any props you want to have on hand.

2. Select a location inside with a simple, non-distracting backdrop near a bright natural light source.

  • A tan or grey wall, a brick wall, or an uncluttered background near a large window is ideal. If needed, you can tack up a solid-colored freshly ironed sheet. A bookshelf or wall with some of your collection is fine, but try to have it neat, and not right behind you. Don’t let the background upstage you!
  • Don’t sit or stand too close to the background. Try to stay far enough away that there are no strong shadows on the backdrop.
  • Pick a spot where the sun lights up the room but doesn’t fall directly on you or your background.
  • Morning or evening sun will give more soft, flattering lighting.
  • If you can’t use natural light, set up a soft light above and to your “best” side, slightly behind the camera. If you are using your computer, put a white sheet behind and under your computer to the front edge of your desk to gently reflect light onto your face.
  • If you use lighting, make sure it’s not too close to your face, but a few feet away and a little above behind the camera or laptop.
  • Make sure there is enough room for someone to take your video or to set up a tripod to hold your camera or phone, or if you are using your computer to record your talk, make sure you are not too close. 

3. Dress like you would for a meeting

  • Wear solid clothing with no pattern or a subtle pattern.
  • Don’t overdo it with wild ties, jewelry, scarves, etc. but feel free to add a little bit of your personality through accessories.
  • Make sure you are well-groomed, hair in place, freshly shaved, subtle makeup and powder as needed.

4. Enlist someone to help you or get a tripod that holds your phone or camera. 

  • This is not time for a selfie.
  • Set your camera at its highest video quality and largest video file size setting.
  • Make sure you have enough room on your phone/camera for lots of video files.
  • Do all your set up before you bring in your “videographer.”
  • If you are using a tripod, ensure the camera is slightly above eye level and steady. Put a laptop on a stack of books to raise it so it’s looking slightly down at you.
  • If you are using notes, please set them just above your camera so you don’t need to look down to read them, just like a teleprompter.
  • Your video MUST be shot in horizontal landscape (16:9) format. Do not make a vertical video.

5. Taking the videos

  • Have your videographer make sure there are no shadows on your face that are distracting or do a few test videos and adjust the lighting as needed.
  • Ask the videographer to make sure collars are straight, everything is in place, hair looks good, etc.
  • Turn off the flash on your camera/phone.
  • Frame the video to show you from the chest up to about 6 inches above your head. Your camera should be held horizontally, not vertically.
  • Look directly at the camera—make eye contact. If you wear glasses, make sure they have non-glare lenses or consider speaking without them, or make sure there are no bright reflections on them.
  • Do a few test videos to make sure the lighting looks good and to get comfortable in front of the camera.
  • Have your videographer look for distractions, weird shadows, funny things in the background, etc.
  • You don’t have to get it in one take! The great thing about videos is that we can take the best performances and edit them together to create a single masterpiece. Feel free to upload several takes, and let us know if there are any parts that you particularly like or dislike, so we are aware when editing the final video.
  • If you will be showing beachcombing finds, you can do a second set of videos shot from above of your items on a neutral-colored background or table, or held in front of a non-distracting background, and we can edit those videos in with the speaker video at appropriate times. Watch out for the same things: shadows, lighting, backgrounds, and especially focus if you are getting too close to the item you are videotaping. Move things slowly if you rotate them and make sure the lighting is catching the parts you want to highlight.
  • Please feel free to do a "B roll" with outdoor or beach video, close ups of your collection or showing you holding or moving the item, you on the beach, waves and nature shots, etc. We will splice these in at appropriate times and your voiceover will continue.
  • Film horizontally:
    horizontal video

6. Sending files

Please upload all your files to Google Drive, DropBox, WeTransfer, or your favorite file-sharing website.

  • Please upload your main talk video(s) which feature you speaking and the full voiceover, even if this is in several takes. This can be a series of videos that we can splice together with other materials you send to capture all of your talk.
  • Upload any still photos, additional video, and PowerPoint slides as needed. We will splice them together with your main video and voiceover into a video of 18 minutes or less.
  • More is better so don't hesitate to send any videos and images that can help tell your story better or add to the atmosphere of your video.
  • Please no "selling from the stage" in your video. A mention of your qualifications is fine, and we are happy to include ample information on your products and services in your bio and introduction, but your talk should be informational and/or instructive in nature. Thanks!

7. Have fun! 

People will love hearing your talk, learning more about your collection, and learning from your presentation. Remember, everyone knows that we are putting this on during a quarantine so they will not be expecting Hollywood blockbuster quality. They will mostly be interested in learning about your collection and sharing your knowledge. Our hope is to bring a bit of the excitement of a live show to everyone who can’t get to a festival now, or who has never had the experience of seeing a presentation at a festival.