The other day I was sent a webcam video. The agent that text it to me asked one question: “HUB didn’t do this did they?”.
Webcam videos are all the rage. If you’re like me you would be hard pressed to not see a webcam video when on popular platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Linkedin, Facebook Live, Periscope, Twitter etc. Real estate professionals are leveraging this technology to help them extend their reach, build or enhance relationships, communicate more efficiently and build there brands. And with good reason, video is simply the most effective medium, one consumers clearly prefer.
I opened the link the agent sent me to reveal a webcam video that could of been SOOO much better. The agent looked bloated, poorly lit, his body language conflicted with the words coming out of his mouth, he looked uncertain and worse, unprofessional, the audio was poor and the video was way too long.
Over the years I’ve learned, the videos you create and post will either bring your ideal client closer to you or push them further away. EVERY video represents you and your brand, what do they say about you? To help you create better webcam videos we’ve created our 15 pro tips for great looking webcam videos. Members of the Video For Real Estate Agents course (VFRE) can log into the members area for a detailed video demonstrating the tips below.
15 PRO TIPS FOR BETTER LOOKING WEBCAM VIDEOS
1) Find a quiet location. The location you choose to record your webcam videos would be quiet. If you create them in your home office, record them when your kids are not home. Turn off the TV, turn off your cell phone, unplug your home phone. Noise is a distraction, one that will take away from your videos and interrupt your message. Record in a room with carpet as opposed to tile. The carpet will offer a natural sound dampening that will improve your audio. Turn off the room lights if they are florescent or CFL as they will cast a nasty green or orange light for some cameras.
2) Remove ALL Distractions. Turn on your webcam and see what is in the frame. The frame is everything your audience can see, next to you, behind you, above you etc. If possible, pick a plain wall to record against. Remove pictures. Hide the papers, lockboxes, water bottles etc. Unless the background plays a part in your webcam video. If you are recording a video about your marketing plan, how you sell homes, by all means – have a SOLD sign in the frame. Doing this will help your audience pay attention to you and your message.
3) Lighting. If you are using external lighting, position the lights 3-4 feet apart to the left and right of your computer, facing you. Make sure you are evenly lit. One kit I recommend is the Cowboy Studio Lighting Kit, available on Amazon for less than $200. I don’t recommend CFL bulbs as they offer a green or orange cast – YUCK. Instead choose Tungsten bulbs. Tungsten is a type of incandescent light that uses a bulb with a filament made of the metal tungsten. But you don’t necessarily need external lights, in fact, natural light is often better. Position your computer in front of a light source like a large picture window. Make sure there is NO light behind you, like a window. Light behind you will confuse your camera. It will try and expose for the brightest point in the frame, which will result in you appearing dark and in silhouette. Instead of looking light and bright, you will will look like a confidential informant like your accustomed to seeing on Dateline, 20/20 or the local news.
4) Camera Positioning. Your webcam would be in line with your eyebrows and angled slightly down. This will make you look slimmer and remove those unflattering angles like from under your chin. If you are using a laptop, use a shoebox, milk crate or something similar to raise your laptop slightly above eyebrow level. Remember – ANGLE DOWN.
5) Colors. Wear dark colors. Wearing dark colors will naturally draw your audiences eyes to the lightest subject in the frame, your face. Stay away from wild patterns as they could result in something called “The Moire Effect”. Wild colors can also be a distraction. Ladies, that zebra outfit might be cute but on video it could look horrid. Remove your bling. Large hoop earrings, necklaces and bracelets are not only a distraction but the clanging will distract your audience and take a way from you and your message.
6) Body Positioning. Body language conveys over 80% of what we say. Fellas, ever have your wife/girlfriend cross her arms and say “NOTHING”, or “I’M FINE” when you ask her what’s wrong? Exactly. Don’t look down at the camera. Looking down conveys a position of dominance which may turn off some people. Sit straight up, look at the camera and deliver your message. Try not to fidget or sway from side to side. Try to stay in the center of the frame.
7) Engagement. Engagement is the art of being human. The best speakers, actors, politicians etc have mastered the art of engagement. We often feel like they are talking to only us. That’s the goal. Look at your camera and maintain eye contact. Looking away from the camera, even for a few seconds could be interpreted as a sign you are rude, intimidated or don’t really know the subject matter, none are good if you are trying to convey authority, confidence or professionalism. If you must look away from the camera make sure you edit it out.
8) Turn Them Off. Turn off ALL programs on your computer not absolutely necessary for creating your webcam video. I’m talking about email, Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Explorer, Zipforms etc. Running multiple programs will slow your computer down and could result in making your computer jittery, resulting in audio sync issues or streaking. I recommend you not only shut all programs down but also, restart your computer before hitting record.
9) Camera. It’s 2016, why are you using the built in camera in your 5 year old desktop or laptop? There are much better options available. I recommend you use an HD webcam. I use the Logitech C920 (mac), if you are a PC, another good option is the Logitech C910. Other good alternatives are the Logitech C615, Brother NW-1000 or HP 4310. Some of these are less than $100 and will increase your production value immensely. Do a Google search for “Best webcams 2016” for other options.
10) Audio. I’ve been shooting video since 2008. One of the best lessons I’ve learned is AUDIO is more important than VIDEO. Nothing will cause your viewers to go back on their browser faster than poor audio. I don’t recommend you use the built in speakers in your desktop or laptop. They were not designed for webcam videos. Purchase a good USB Condenser Mic. I use the Shure PG42 and/or Logitech G330 but other options include the Blue Yetti, Blue Snowball, Audio Technica AT, Samson G-Track or Samson Meteor Mic. Position the mic 3 feet in front of your mouth. Many of these microphones can be yours for less than $100. And you don’t have to buy them new either. When I first started out in video production I found my equipment on eBay. Do a google search for “Best Condenser Microphones 2016” for other options.
11) Webcam/Screen Capture Programs. If you’re not using a program like Bomb Bomb you will need a webcam or screen capture program. I use Screenflow and iGlasses or Camtasia Mac (mac only). For PC, Camtasia Studio and Cyberlink YouCam 7 or 8 are good options. All of these are paid. But there are plenty of free options out there. Some to consider are Splitcam, Yawcam and FREE Webcam Recorder. Mac users can also use Quicktime.
12) BE YOURSELF. I see some videos where the real estate agent is trying to be more professional than they are in real life. This seldom looks good. Use your hands for emphasis as you would in your normal language. Feel free to move in or move out. Be HUMAN. Remember, people do business with people they LIKE and TRUST, being yourself will help your ideal client build a relationship with you – the real estate agent that will hopefully be at their kitchen table executing a listing agreement or purchase contract soon.
13) Rehearse. Before you click record, you should rehearse what you are going to say. You should have an agenda and a clear plan. Without a plan you will babble and ramble, appearing long winded and less professional. Get to the point of your video immediately. Consumers won’t care about you until you give them a reason to. Open up with who you are and what you are talking about today immediately. Each webcam video should be about a separate subject. Don’t try and squeeze the buying process and the selling process in the same video, separate them. You can’t use a script in a webcam video because it will look like you are reading – the kiss of death in video. Instead, prepare a short bulleted list of the points you want to make. Preparing a bulleted list will allow you to elaborate around your subject making you appear more engaging and authentic.
14) Length. When you are starting out, you should keep your videos short, 1 minute or less is a good starting point. It’s asking a lot of someone, that may not know you well, to watch a 5 minute video. The attention span of the consumer is small and shrinking every day. You can make longer videos, and your ideal client will watch them, when they see you as an expert in your field. But you need to get there first. Start small, build your confidence and your list. Some of my best and most engaging videos are over 30 minutes, but these are people that have opted in to the content I create, subscribed to my YouTube/Vimeo Channel or purchased my real estate video marketing course.
15) Is it WORTHY? Many real estate agents fall in love with new technologies without considering what that technology is best used to convey. Just because you can make a video doesn’t mean you always should. I recommend you save your webcam videos, and any video for that matter, for only the most video worthy subjects. If you make too many videos that don’t offer tremendous value to your list, sphere of influence or database you run the risk of alienating the very people you are trying to engage. Sometimes a text message, phone call, Facebook message or email is best used if you are simply saying “hello”.
16) Edit. I know I said 15 Tips, but the 16th should go without saying. Edit your webcam videos. None of the 1000’s of videos we’ve created go without editing. You will make mistakes as do we. When you do, simply edit out that blank stare, mis -pronounced word, incorrect statement and occasional swear word. Use lower thirds text to emphasize the most important aspects of your video. If you are a client of HMC, you can send your videos to us for professional editing. We can lighten up your video, add a video bumper, add lower thirds, logo sand music where appropriate for a low rate. We can also add B-Roll footage of your listings, team video, green screen etc to further increase the production value of your videos.
Using our 15 Pro Tips For Great Looking Webcam Videos will help you create better webcam videos. Videos that will help present you as an authority in your space, videos that will help you extend your reach and ultimately build your brand. I’ve learned over the years, 3 words – CONTENT IS KING. Create great, valuable, unique content, in a professional way, syndicate it to your email lists, social networks, optimize it for search engines like Google and YouTube and you’ll be amazed with the results. Just starting to in real estate video? Check out our FREE Hub Media Company video ebook