Every now and then we have clients come to us and ask this question:

“What do we need to do if we want to shoot video ourselves?”

That seems like a simple question, and I guess if you think about it, with the clarity of video being provided by cell phones and other non-professional cameras, it’s a legitimate question.

It may seem odd to hear from a video production company, but the truth is, there is a time and place for clients to shoot their own video. Heck, looking into a camera and hitting record can do a lot of things these days.

At the very least, a talking head on a video that is not as polished as a professional production can help you humanize your relationship with your contact person on the other end. The upside is, you can talk face to face (sort of) and have a real relationship with anyone, anywhere, anytime.

In fact, I’m surprised that we don’t see more clients using amateur style video (or life video chats for that matter) on things like sales consultations, in-house training, and just “quick hello’s” to top clients via email.

If you are looking to shoot your video, here are the top 5 (of many) things you’ll want to keep in mind.

1. Be sure to shoot the video in a quiet space. There’s nothing more distracting than a loud background where you can’t focus on what the presenter is saying.

2. Make sure the audio is crystal clear. If you are using a camera mic, it can sound “tinny.” Again, that’s distracting. Search online for a quality microphone. That small purchase can make an enormous difference.

3. If the room is quiet and the sound is good, but the presenter is in the dark or not well lit, you will be wasting your time.

At all costs, make sure the subject on camera is well lit. If you don’t have fancy lights, you can make the room as light as possible with what you have, or invest in a light that can at the very least light the subject’s face. We suggest 3-point lighting (one light on the face, one from the side, and one for a back-hair light), but if all you have is the light in the office, do your best to make the room as bright as possible. NEVER shoot with a window behind you if at all possible. We always say, if the person on video is not well lit, do an audio recording. A poorly lit video can not only be distracting, it will completely turn the viewer off.

4. Use a Tripod. Is there anything that screams amateur or “don’t watch me!” than shaky video? A tripod, or something that can steady the camera is absolutely essential.

5. Relax. However is going to be talking should not try to be a professional news anchor (can anyone say Ron Burgundy?) or a professional spokesperson. Be yourself. The best videos are heart-felt, to the point, and very natural sounding. Using big words, letting your eyes wander while on camera, and being fidgety, will distract and kill your message.

We also recommend sitting down on a chair that doesn’t swivel and isn’t so big that it swallows the subject on camera If the person wants to stand, make sure they don’t sway back and forth. The bottom line here? Relax. Relax. Relax.

While there’s a time and a place for the amateur video in the workplace, sometimes, it absolutely makes more business sense to hire an affordable, legitimate video production company to handle your “high priority” video needs.

Why? Let’s put it this way. If your company spends thousands and thousands of dollars on your corporate website, why would you put video out there for public consumption, that looks like it was shot on a family video camcorder?

Like it or not, the unspoken message you are sending is that you are “skimping” on putting your best foot forward. If you are skimping on video with hard to hear (or tin can sounding) audio, poor lighting, poor framing, and shaky video, what else might you be skimping on?

Fair or not, that’s the impression companies give out when they don’t take their own website marketing seriously.

We don’t believe any video is better than none. The truth is, poor video can send potential clients running for the hills and go directly to your competition!

Don’t risk it.

You also don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for quality corporate video. Over the years, we’ve seen some great, and affordable, video production companies, and we’ve seen some who are so unreasonable when it comes to price, that it’s borderline criminal!

Great video doesn’t have to carry a hefty price tag. Do your homework, ask the proper questions, and seek advice from those in the video industry who you trust. The money spent on professional video can keep your cash registers ringing all year long!