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Episode 34: Video Tutorial Part 1: Lighting, Angles & Sound

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Have you recorded a little video with your phone to post on Facebook or Instagram and thought, “NO WAY am I posting that on the internet!” 

I know it happens to me ALL THE TIME.

Or are you afraid to even try to record and post a video on the internet? 

Not only does an unflattering video take the wind out of your sails, it also eats up a bunch of time! When I record videos, I first spend time planning what I’m going to say, then it takes me a few tries to actually get all my words out right, and THEN, when I look at the final version, I realize, I hate the way I look in the video!

Can you relate?

Today we’re going to go over the do’s and don’ts of the technical aspects of shooting a video for social media. 

Next week’s episode will be all about content and what you should actually say in your Facebook and Instagram videos. That’s right, a special two-part episode that’s going to walk you step by step for shooting your next video or going live on social media, so you can avoid frustration and feel confident.

In part one of this series, I’m sharing a few tips and tricks on some of the technical things I’ve learned in the past year about lighting, angles, and all those things that can make or break a video. I’m going to help you avoid the stumbling blocks I’ve encountered, so you can get your beautiful self out there to talk to your audience through video and feel good about it!

If you follow me on Facebook and Instagram, you know that while I do love posting video, I am certainly no Steven Spielberg when it comes to camera work. And you don’t have to be either! 

I’m going to share with you what I HAVE learned and give you realistic, tangible advice that you can put into action right away, so you can deliver your content in a way that is entertaining and appealing to your audience.

Recent research shows that video is quickly becoming the most popular and effective way to get a message out on social media, so we all need to be working on our video skills. 

Here are some quick facts about social media video:

- Social media posts featuring video have 48% more views. (HubSpot

- Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, as opposed to 10% when reading it in text. (Insivia)

- Facebook has more than 8 billion video views per day. (TechCrunch)

- 72% of customers would rather learn about a product or service by way of video. (HubSpot)

So, you see why it’s important to get on the social media video stage, right?

Let’s start with three important things to remember BEFORE you get started filming or going live on Facebook and Instagram:

  1. Pick ONE TOPIC and think about what you’re going to say about it. Ask yourself, what’s the point? What do you want your viewers to learn? Writing out what you want to say can help you retain the information in an organized fashion more easily.

    Insider tip: Write 3 bullet points on a post-it note and attach it to your phone near the lens so you can sneak a quick peek while you’re recording if you need to.

  2. Practice, practice, practice out loud. Try to speak aloud what you want to say in your video before you start recording. This will help you feel more confident when you do start recording, help you identify anything you should leave out, and your mouth and vocal cords will be warmed up as well.

    Insider tip: A great time to record is right after you’ve had a lively conversation with another person. It’s even better if you’ve just talked about a topic related to your video.

  3. Choose the right time. Try not to record when you are pressed for time. Knowing you have to get your video finished in only a few minutes can add stress to the situation and make it harder to succeed. You’ll feel even more frustrated if it takes multiple tries, so try to record when you have time to spare.

    Insider tip: Are you a morning person? At your best in the afternoon or evening? Try to record when you feel at your best.

I just want to remind you, we’ll talk more about what to say in your videos next week in part two of this series, so be sure you catch that episode next week!

Whether you’re going live on Facebook or Instagram, or recording a video and uploading it later, the technical aspects of filming are pretty much the same.

Are you confused about the differences between IGTV and regular Facebook and Instagram videos? I made a great little cheat sheet for you that will explain everything.  Also, if you want to learn how to upload an IGTV video, check out this tutorial video I posted. 

(The Show Notes continue below the video.)

How to Add an IGTV Video to Instagram


You can be successful at video and feel comfortable doing it – I’ll guide you every step of the way!

Now that you have a cheat sheet and a video to help you navigate all the different types of video, here’s what you need to know about making it look good:

  1. Angle is everything. This is an unfortunate lesson I learned the hard way. In fact, I think I already KNEW better than to have the camera pointed up my nose, but it wasn’t until my uncle pointed it out at a family gathering that I realized the camera angle was something I couldn’t be lazy about ever again.

    To get a great angle without severely fatiguing your arm and shoulder by holding your phone as far away from your face as possible, I recommend investing in a stand.

    You can get a great mobile phone stand online – they are relatively inexpensive. They make models that sit on your desk, if you want to be sitting in all of your videos, or they make them with more adjustable heights so you can stand in front of it. If you get a larger stand-up model, it’ll be a bit more expensive. I put links to a couple of mobile phone stands at the end of these show notes.

    The ultimate goal is to get a straight-on shot of your face as if you were sitting or standing eye to eye with someone.

    I personally have a Neewer Ring Light Kit – we’ll talk more about lighting in a minute – which cost about $90 from Amazon. It’s a stand that holds my phone and it also has a large halo-looking light around it which I have to say, makes my face and skin look amazing even if I’m not wearing a stitch of makeup.

    I actually have the whole stand and light kit set up behind my desk so I can sit, but I also have the option to make it taller so I can stand in front of it too. I have found that a stand is one of the most important keys to success when recording video.

    It’s amazing how much less distracted I am when I don’t have to hold my phone. I’m also more comfortable physically, which makes my video less awkward.

    Another great thing about the Neewer Ring Light Kit, is that it has a remote control, so I can actually start recording or take a picture without having to reach up and touch my phone, which almost completely eliminates the need to edit my videos.

    I definitely recommend investing in a stand if you plan on recording videos regularly. 

  2. Lighting is also everything. Angle and lighting can be the difference between someone on social media watching your video, or completely ignoring it. Too many shadows can be unflattering and make your video seem unprofessional, or even creepy – and that’s the last thing you want!

    For lighting, like I said, I have a ring light attached to my stand, but I’ll tell you about a free light source that you already have access to that is AMAZING! 

    The sun!

    Natural lighting is just about as flattering as a magical ring light. Find a window and have a seat. Try to face the window if possible to avoid shadows across your face. If it’s so bright that you’re squinting, try recording when the sun is not as intense, or experiment with sitting at a different angle.

    If you don’t have access to a ring light or natural light, simply try to find a room with flattering – or at least an abundance – of lighting. 

  3. Pay attention to sound quality. If you’re in a room that echoes badly, or your co-worker is microwaving popcorn, or you’re in a crowded place, consider relocating to a quieter setting, or using a set of headphones with a microphone on them. Yes, it’s totally OKAY to wear headphones to record a video in the social media world.

  4. Edit if necessary. Most mobile phones allow you to edit and trim off the ends of your videos. You’ll need to make these edits before you upload your videos to Facebook and Instagram.

    Cut out any awkward silence before you start talking or after you finish. Trim your video so that it begins right before you start speaking. I recommend taking a deep breath and smiling BEFORE you start recording, so your editing will be minimal.

    Unless you are already a whiz at editing videos, it will likely be faster for you to just start a video over if you mess up than to spend a bunch of time editing and splicing pieces together.

  5. “What happens if I mess up?” It’s not IF, it’s WHEN it will happen! 

Take a deep breath and shake it off. Here’s a radio trick for you: If you can’t get through a certain sentence or word, stop recording and read it until you can get through it without any bloopers – twice!

Try not to get frustrated. How you are feeling will come through in the video, so try to just laugh at yourself and start over. To keep things lighthearted, listen to a song that makes you feel good, have a dance party or take a quick walk. Keep a glass of water nearby, too.

Here’s what I want you to remember above all – YOU CAN DO THIS! And now you have five tips to get you started - Angle, Lighting, Sound, Editing & for Bloopers.

AND part two of this episode is coming up next week to help you feel even more confident. Sign up for my weekly email so you don’t miss Part Two.

I would LOVE to see your videos! Tag me in a comment on your video post on Facebook or Instagram and I’ll watch your video. I promise to be your absolute BIGGEST CHEERLEADER EVER!

By the way, if you know someone in the nonprofit world who is struggling, or feeling stuck, tell them about this podcast! Send them an email about it and say, “Hey! I’ve been listening to this podcast and I’ve been getting a lot out of it – just thought I’d share!” Everyone needs a little encouragement and help sometimes.

 If you have any questions – I’m right here for you! Ask away! Send me a message on Facebook or Instagram or send me an email through and I’ll happily write you back with an answer!

Follow Nonprofit Potential on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for special content released throughout the week, too.

Links mentioned in this episode:




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