San Luis Obispo Technical & Business Communicators

November 28, 2011 Event Summary

“How to Use Video to Market Yourself and Enhance Your Content (& DIY Production Tips)”

Video producer Leslie Carol inspired and empowered an eager crowd of budding video creators with a ton of tips and tricks of her trade at this highly informative event! It was designed for anyone on a budget or with a limited understanding of how to set up, capture, convert, edit, polish, and upload video content.

During Leslie's presentation, we learned a host of helpful production suggestions on shooting and polishing our videos, using free and low-cost tools. She explained and demonstrated these production processes:

  • Equipment - what to look for when you shop for a camera, easy (and affordable) background and lighting suggestions, plus options for better audio
  • Capturing video - production guidelines, scripting for concise messages, composition that keeps the videospace interesting to a viewer's eye, and lighting to optimize your appearance — even with inexpensive cameras that you can set up yourself in the privacy of your own office
  • Editing techniques - editing options, available editing and conversion programs (several free), and tips on adding text, images, and music
  • Uploading and sharing your video - choosing video sharing sites, embedding video on your Web site, and optimizing video upload information to attract search engines

“Marketing with Video - Becoming the Star of Your Business”
©2011 Leslie Carol, producer, Flying Colours Media

Use Leslie's tips below to achieve the very best results with your video projects!

What to Wear and Make-up – Solid, quiet, cool colours are best. Stay away from bright orange, red, and yellow, as they fight for attention with your face and so do high contrast patterns. Easy does it with make-up (your usual is fine) but shiny is not what you want… get some No-Shine! Another recommended product is the "Smashbox" line of photo and TV makeup for both men and women, which reflects light in flattering ways. Use lip balm but not gloss (unless that is really your style). Consider a portrait filter to soften the image if you are concerned with too much detail in skin texture. You can try putting the camera on manual focus and de-focusing slightly to soften the shot, too.

Scripting – the shorter the better, especially if you use the same camera view the entire time. Be concise, relax, smile, and enjoy the process!

Audio – if you do not have a microphone other than the one on the camera, make sure the camera is close enough to catch clear audio. Test your sound and image — make sure you do not have interfering background noises — and speak up! No need to talk fast. Do several takes and decide about pace, tone, and facial expression. An inexpensive lapel mic (with a long cord that you can tuck out of sight) may be an excellent investment for clear and consistent audio. Be sure your video camera has an audio jack for this purpose.

Lighting – Avoid the sun and other high contrast lighting. Choose a room with a fairly well lit window closer to the camera than yourself, and try several options. Turn on all the room lights! Put a white sheet on the floor or drape it over a kitchen chair in front of you for extra ‘fill.’

Background – simple is good. Your office or other background should be tidy and free of bright, distracting objects. Leave enough room between yourself and the background to avoid shadowing and to allow the background to soften in comparison to your image.

Composition – Avoid filling the screen with your head! Observe the rule of thirds and place yourself a little to one side with enough headroom. Wear something simple (not contrasty or busy) and sit tall in your chair for good posture. Crop the shot at about the waist if you want your hands on the desk, for instance, or a little closer for good eye contact. Experiment with standing at a bit of an angle to the camera so your head turns slightly.

Shooting for editing - Be sure to start the camera several seconds before you begin speaking and let it run a few extra seconds as you are smiling into it at the end. These ‘handles’ will make editing easier as the audio/image you want is not crowded or clipped at either end. Have the lens at about eye level.

When you are done with one segment of what you will say, you may wish to start another segment from a different angle. For instance, if the background allows it, start with the front of the desk and then move off to the side of the desk so you turn yourself to address the camera as you pause from the computer. A third view might be standing by your desk holding papers, or not. This variety keeps visual interest levels high. When the different angles are combined during editing, your video will have more dimension to it.

Combining a head shot with a farther view works, too, but be sure your audio is not changed too much. Widen the lens without moving the camera back too far so the audio will be similar to the close shot. This is a good time to use a lapel mic.

Manual adjustments – the room you choose may have yellow, green, or blue characteristics, and if so, they can make you look a bit sickly. Learning to ‘white balance’ will adjust the camera for this off-colour problem. While you are using the manual learning to white balance, investigate adjusting the iris to lighten or darken the image, which will offset the difference in light values between the background and yourself. These two manual adjustments can be very helpful.

Converting file formats – If you need to convert your video files so that your editing program can recognize and work with them, try and its companion service, Both sites automatically convert files from one format to another, and Vidly also can detect which kind of device is attempting to play your video and automatically "serve up" the correct format. "Handbrake" is useful desktop conversion tool, and there are many more out there. Beware, however, of downloading malware with some of these conversion products.

Editing – Search Google or Wikipedia for reviews on editing programs, since the options are constantly evolving. Also search for online ("cloud-based") programs that let you edit your files on the Web. For optimum interest, keep your edited video concise and not crowded. Leave a lot of the little details for viewers to look up when you say more info is available on the site or at your number. Accent the highlights and invite them to investigate further.

Graphics – If you have the editing capabilities to add graphics, use them to accentuate your contact information and the most important points. Also clarify your name, the company’s name, and your title, adding your logo if you can. Make sure you use a font, colour, and size that can be easily read against your images. A quiet background is helpful to allow graphics to stand out.

Video uploading – Create your own YouTube channel for maximum control and visibility. is another very popular video sharing site. Many people use the very inexpensive Amazon S3 service to host longer, high-bandwidth videos. Although having the same videos hosted on multiple sites has historically escaped the duplication penalties from Google that text content experiences, that situation is rapidly changing. To avoid such penalties in the future, you may want to upload non-identical versions of the same general video content to various sites.


See below to access Leslie's handouts, which covers the important tips and reminders listed above!

Downloads & Resources

For best results, please use the following tips when downloading files:

  • Windows Internet Explorer: Right-click the link and select Save Target As... You will be prompted to save the file to a specific location on your hard drive.
  • Other platforms or browsers: Right-click the link (click and hold on the Mac) and select Download link to disk to save the file to a specific location on your hard drive.

Download Leslie's handouts:

Event Facilitator:

Leslie Carol, producer/owner of Flying Colours Media, opened a photography studio in San Luis Obispo in 1978. After learning video production along the way as an additional service in wedding coverage, Leslie expanded the video part of the business and became interested in advertising and producing programs for local television. Following decades of experience, she has focused the advertising aspect of the business on the Internet -- specifically on online video promotions. She enthusiastically approaches each new project with an open mind and a creative flair.

SLO TBC usually holds its events on the 4th Monday of the month from October through June. We generally take a break over the summer and resume in the fall. For more information, please contact us.