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Gene (00:03):

Hey everybody, this is Gene Marks and welcome to this week’s episode of The Hartford Small Biz Ahead podcast. Thanks for joining me. I wanna talk to you this week about videos and making videos and doing videos for your business. I do a lot of videos for my business. We’re all on Zoom and Microsoft teams and sort of video conferencing stuff, so that’s part of our lives. A lot of business owners, a lot of my clients, a lot of people in my community, they’re getting into videos for content marketing and to spread the word around about their businesses. There are some statistics that say that there are more than 3 billion internet users all around the world who are streaming or downloading videos at least once a day. So there’s a lot of people out there that are watching videos.

Gene (00:48):

We know how important it has become. It is no longer where we can just do, manual marketing materials or even write blogs. There is a whole generation of customers, both B2B and B2C, that are digesting their information via video. And as business owners, we, we need to create more. And a lot of my clients are doing that now. They’re doing training videos, they’re doing videos about their products. They’re doing interviews with other people. They’re doing conversations about their business or about their industry. They’re doing thought leadership pieces. They’re doing video webinars. All sorts of video content is being created by a lot of small and mid-size businesses. And it’s tough to know how to do it, right? I talked to some of my clients that are in the video production business and I wanted to get some advice for them.

Gene (01:35):

How do I make a good video? How do I do it so that I’m at least following some of the procedures so it doesn’t look like something outta Wayne’s world, you know? And I found out a lot of things, some of the things that I am doing, some of the things that I’m not doing so well. So let me share some of the advice that I got and hopefully this kind of helps you to make videos as well. So the first has to do with cameras, right? I mean, there are a lot of very expensive cameras out there, digital cameras that you can certainly buy made by Sony and other big brands as well. You can Google around and I know a lot of the high-end production companies have cameras that they use.

Gene (02:13):

And I get it and that’s fine. But what I did find for businesses our size is that the camera on our phones are pretty darn good. If you have a pretty recent iPhone or an Android, your camera is gonna be in high def and really, really of quality. And when I speak to some of the experts that are in the video production industry, they’re like yeah, if you’re doing like a major network TV show, maybe you wanna have a high-end camera. But if you’re doing a video for your business, you’re interviewing customers, or again you’re doing training or having conversations or even having an online conference. You can really rely pretty heavily on the camera just in your phone. If you wanna buy something like it, you can do that too, but you don’t have to go that crazy about it.

Gene (02:55):

Now, be careful when you have a camera and you’re using it in your phone, okay? I mean, find where the camera is on your phone because sometimes it’s not easy to know where it is. And you need to practice looking into that camera so that you’re speaking to your audience. Also, you wanna make sure that your camera’s always positioned right. It should be directly in front of your face. It should be slightly above your eye line. It shouldn’t be underneath your nose, it shouldn’t be above your eyes as well. I mean, positioning cameras is really important, even if it’s your phone. And by the way, positioning it too far is also a big mistake that people make. So make sure… use your phone, use your camera phone, that’s fine, but make sure it’s set up the right way. So that’s number one. The second thing that I learned was the importance of audio.

Gene (03:36):

A camera is one thing, it’s good video, but audio is everything because people want to hear what you’re saying, right? So, as good as cameras are on smartphones, their microphones are nowhere near as good. Most of the video production experts I talked to said you wanna stay away from using your microphone on your smartphone. When it comes to recording something of quality that you want to put out on the internet, you probably should buy a quality microphone. There are some good people that make it. Sennheiser, it makes very like, expensive, but really good microphones. They’re SENNHEISER. Rode is another one. RODE and Shure, SHURE. Those are three well-known manufacturers of really, really good quality microphones.

Gene (04:23):

You want to get it, plug it into your phone. You can get an adapter to do that or even use it obviously on other devices. It will make all the difference in the world. So make sure you get a good microphone. Next is lighting. You gotta have good lighting. Now the best lighting available is natural light, but unfortunately the sun is millions of miles away and sometimes clouds cover it as well. So you have to try and do your best to recreate that as best as you can. Ring lights are good. When I spoke to video production experts, they say the bigger the better. You want them to really — position them off to the side, but position them such that they’re really covering your entire face. And even down to your chest as well. You’re trying to avoid shadows is what you’re trying to do here.

Gene (05:07):

So ring lights are not a bad thing to buy. Most of the people that make videos told me it’s a good, good thing to invest in. You can get standalone lighting as well. Two or three of them in positions around you again, to deflect off each other so you’re not creating shadows as well. So that’s also important. When you’re filming videos, backgrounds are also important as well. So try not to use those artificial backgrounds. The ones that come with like Zoom and whatever. You’ve seen them. They kind of eat into your face as you’re trying to speak. They just don’t look very good. If you’re gonna use a background, use like a white backdrop, like a curtain or a blank wall behind you. Be careful by the way I would sit in your background if you’re showing any books or anything.

Gene (05:47):

I had one client that had like some political leaning books behind him and it kind of upset some other people watching the video. You just don’t want to go down that road. Clothing — wear solid colors, nothing too bright, medium or light blue or white is really what’s preferred as far as your shirt is concerned. Don’t wear any pin stripes. Don’t wear any patterns as well. You don’t wanna make it look like your shirt is like vibrating, you know? And if you do go to the thing, go to the extent of putting a green screen behind you, which is not something that’s really necessary. You certainly don’t wanna wear a green shirt because your head will be like, kind of floating around. Bottom line though is you can tell I’m giving you all this advice. I talked to some production company people that service small mid-size businesses.

Gene (06:32):

Those guys really know their stuff, guys. And I gotta tell you, you really wanna make a quality video. Like everything else, you get what you pay for. You might wanna consider investing in an outside production company to help you. Yeah, it’s gonna cost a lot more. Thousands of dollars in fact. But in the end, you get something that looks really good. And remember, once you do a video and you put it out there, it’s gonna be out there forever. So yeah, you can do this stuff on your own, but if you really want to do something that’s gonna be long lasting and really look like the best quality possible. Hiring somebody from the outside is also a really good recommendation and is probably the way to go. You’ve been listening to The Small Biz Ahead Podcast. My name is Gene Marks. I hope this information and this advice helps you. If you need any other advice or tips or thoughts or guidance for running your business, visit us at or I want to thank you so much for listening. I will be back with you next week with some more thoughts on some topic of interest that will hopefully help you run your business. We’ll talk to you then. Take care.

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