Making videos on video: we're learning by doing

Video. It's so daunting. You make one, it's not very good, so you conveniently forget about video for weeks, or months, or years. Then you make another video, which is also not particularly good.

Alice and I have decided to take the bull by the horns and learn by doing. So we're launching into a series called Video on Video, in which we'll look at every barrier, every challenge we face. I've already noted 23 of these, from getting the audio loud enough to maintaining a consistent brand when the two principals, Alice and I, are so very different from each other. My experience is that I cannot learn more than one thing at a time, so that means making at least 23 videos on video.

We hope eventually to make some videos worth watching.

Meantime, this series will enable you to learn from us as we stumble along, getting better all the time—we hope.

I know there are at least 23 things wrong with this first video, but please give feedback anyway. That way we'll find out which mistakes annoy you the most, and attempt to tackle those first.


Oct 13, 2011 • Posted by Rachel McAlpine

Fantastic tips, Carol—thanks a million. I love your tips and will keep them in mind when I make a recording with new software today… or tomorrow. I dread learning with new software: that’s a barrier I didn’t anticipate. Rachel

Sep 29, 2011 • Posted by Rachel McAlpine

Thanks, Kalena! We look forward to your critique. I find even thinking about it has helped me, in my mind, at least. R.

Sep 29, 2011 • Posted by Rachel McAlpine

Thank you Tom! Wow, I’m soaking up your comments. From a practical point of view, eye contact can be a struggle. Maybe I’ll do the next one on that, which is one of the 23 potential problems. So is lighting. Your point (b), exposing vulnerability, is also a major challenge, when experienced marketers tend to recommend the opposite. More later… I’m looking forward to your video! R.

Oct 13, 2011 • Posted by Carol

What an excellent post! Here are some tips that I’ve found helpful in coaching execs around informal videos:

1. Script it and then practice, practise, practise! The more videos you do, the less you’ll need to do this in the future
2. Then throw away your script BEFORE recording (other than some high level points or key messages if you really need to them). There is a skill to effectively reading a script to video convincingly … and very few people have it naturally. The result will be a more natural video and the eye contact issue diminishes considerably
3. Speak to the camera as if you have a person in front of you, rather than a recording device
4. Informal videos do not require a polished, word perfect performance it’s fine to have the odd “umm” and “ahh”. The final product should look and feel like a conversation – not a news broadcast (unless you’re really aiming for a formal video, which is a different scenario again)
5. Do be mindful of your body language – wild hand gestures and rocking backwards or forwards when recording are common pitfalls
6. And finally, the more you do the better you’ll get. Don’t go crazy recording your video 10 times trying to attain perfection. Informal videos are about connecting effectively with your audience, not perfect delivery ;)

Sep 28, 2011 • Posted by Rachel McAlpine

Liz, thank you so much! You do understand the reality of learning so well. I agree, it’s easy to become intimidated by perfection. What’s more, there’s no single ‘perfect for everyone’ video style: this encourages us on the journey. R.

Sep 29, 2011 • Posted by Kalena

Good on you ladies. I HATE making videos and have also dabbled and then conveniently forgotten about it for very long periods of time. So I was delighted to see this post and know that I’m not alone. Will be watching you have a go and hopefully pick up some tips and some inspiration to jump back in front of the camera myself. Have fun!

Sep 29, 2011 • Posted by Tom Wilkowske

As one sage said, “start somewhere.” Thank you! What an inspiring example for us sideline-sitting perfectionists out here. Here’s what I like about this video — a) You finished and published it. b) You where honest and shared a vulnerability, which offers an emotional connection with your audience and makes you more human. c) You made good eye contact with the camera. d) You pulled the shade down on the big window behind you before rolling tape. Now I want to do one!

Sep 28, 2011 • Posted by Liz

I just want to say that I love that you are going to share your learning process with the world. We need more exposure to the hard work and the mistakes that it takes to get good at something – otherwise, it’s easy to believe that it just happens magically, somehow. The truth is that we can become good at anything if we’re willing to practice it and hone the craft, so I am looking forward to following your series and learning alongside you. Go get ’em!

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