Lights, Camera and Action: Coming face-to-face with the Lens!
I worked for advertising in the early part of my career growing up from being an Account Executive to becoming a Business Head. The one thing I never did in these 15 years ever was — face the camera.
Well all that is a thing of the past because when I came to Australia, I recorded my first song and decided to feature in the video as, I was the lead singer. I managed to gather some of my friends who agreed to feature in it, free of cost. I shot my first video in 2017.
After that, I never looked back till COVID struck in early 2020. I continued to compose and release songs but started making videos from stock footage through editors on Fiverr. The videos did look good and got me thousands of views but there was something missing in it. Me!
Not that I regret it but I could have featured in at least a few of them. During the 2-year lockdown, I released more than 10 songs but none of them featured me as the lead singer.
Then the Australian borders reopened in November 2021 and the flights started to roll in. They were very few and far between but nonetheless, the airports were breathing again. You could see people coming in and out of it.
With Australia now open after a long wait, it was time for me to start promoting “Dolores Education.” A company that helps students living in and outside of Australia to find the right course and college depending upon their past qualifications and future ambitions.
I broke the advertising campaign for the company in Christmas with the theme being that international students are an integral part of Australia and its society. Their contribution to the country and its people is worth admiring.
Like always, I was pretty happy that I could make ads from stock footage and release it to convey the offers to the prospects till I met a friend of mine who happens to be a migration agent. She said a very insightful thing that instantly brought a paradigm shift. It goes something like this.
“ No matter how big or small your company is, speak to the audience. They want to hear it directly from you. Be the face of the company.”
This stuck me profoundly. I decided to come face-to-face with the camera once again this time not as a singer but as a spokesperson for my company. I started making videos and releasing them on social media.
It wasn’t easy in the beginning because I wanted to do everything on my own. Not because I was good at it, I just did not have a budget to hire someone. Luckily for me, some of the videos turned out much better than I had envisioned.
But things were not always rosy from the start, I had to delete quite a few of them because either the lighting was not good or I had fumbled so badly that even I would have avoided seeing them.
But as days went by and I got a few videos older, I understood a fair bit of what works and what makes you work. I cannot say I have become a champion but I have definitely found a few points that help me avoid a lot of wastage in terms of time and effort. I am assuming that like me, most startups don’t have much money to spare either. I thought I should share it with you so that you start talking to the customers.
- Use your phone — They are easy to handle and the most inbuilt cameras today are quite good.
- Make sure your phone is properly charged before you go to the spot. Carry a portable charger with you.
- Check the lighting by holding the camera and rotating 360 degrees till the light looks smooth and soft.
- Pick a spot which is not crowded, you will not have the fear that someone in watching you.
- Look in the direction of the camera while talking but don’t focus on it or you will forget what you are saying.
- Restrict your script to about 25–30 seconds.
- Do multiple takes while shooting, then select what looks best.
- Always have just one proposition in each video and keep it short yet nice and clear.
- End the video with a call-to-action line!
- Hold the phone at a reasonable distance from your face.
- Try to make a video whenever you get an opportunity, the more you do the better you will become.
- Avoid shooting in the open during the day. The shadow will destroy the video.
- If you are shooting during the day, find a tree to soften the light.
- Shooting at night will give a beautiful texture to the skin and the look will be very soft.
- Never speak bad about anyone or anything. Rather, focus on why your product or business is good and what you have to offer.
- Have fun. Some day this is what you will cherish more than wealth you have accumulated or the size to which your company has grown.
John Khalkho — CEO: Dolores Education
Photo: John Khalkho