So you want to make a video of you and your office but you don’t know where to start? The following are a few tips I learned from shooting my own video.
1. Camera Selection
The camera you use should have the capability of shooting in high definition (HD). The ideal camera is a digital SLR, but any camera will work. A dedicated video camera will do a better job than a point-and-shoot camera. The camera will need to have the option for an external microphone.
If you are using an SLR, consider using a wide aperture (low number) to soften the background when necessary. Using an aperture around 3-4 is sufficiently low and gives a professional look. If possible, use manual focus so that the camera will not try to re-focus while you are speaking.
You will need a tripod or a stable platform on which you will need to place your camera. Trying to have someone hold the camera in their hands will create an annoying movement that will come across more like the Blair Witch Project rather than a professionally produced video. The last thing you want is to is to make a horror movie about root canals. In addition, using a tripod adds consistency to the framing so that when the video segments are compiled, they appear to have been part of one continuous interview even though they are actually many different segments. Consider putting the tripod at about eye level so that the camera is not looking down on you.
The microphone on the camera will not be adequate for a professional video. One of the most economic options is to purchase an inexpensive lapel mic (also called a lavalier mic). Also, plan on making the entire narrative from the same location to keep the sound quality consistent.
The microphone is sensitive to background noises. Turn off the air conditioning system, fans, air compressor, and the radio. Close your windows and leave the kids at home.
4. Look Pretty
I know you are already beautiful, but you’ll need to use makeup. HD cameras are not forgiving and can be downright ruthless. It will catch every hair, every eyelash, and every blemish. Even men should use a little powder to soften the skin. Make sure your clothes are wrinkle and stain free. Try a couple different outfits until you find one you are comfortable with. I didn’t feel comfortable in a shirt and tie, so I put on my daily uniform – black scrubs.
5. Clean Your Room
Just as the camera will magnify any of your blemishes, it will do the same for your environment. Clean up any clutter including papers and cords. In my video, I even changed out my monitor because my usual one had some stickers on it from the manufacturer. Even a mouse cord out of place can be annoying. Choose a background that is not too busy. If necessary you can adjust the aperture to slightly blur the background.
6. Let There Be Lighting!
Take control of the lighting. Open or close window shades to optimize natural light. In a low light environment you can use a lamp on a stool or chair that is just out of view of the camera to get the lighting and shadows on your face just where you want them. Make sure that the camera is not being reflected in your monitor or window.
7. Choose a Voice
Decide on who your audience is. Are you speaking directly to the patient or are you speaking about patients in general? Do you say, “When you come to our office… “? Or do you say, “When patients come to our office… “? Be consistent in how you address your audience.
8. Keep it Short
Try to keep it under two minutes. Any more than that and you’ll begin to lose much of your audience. Consider your first video to be purely introductory. If you want to offer more details, plan for a second video in which you can expound on a desired topic.
9. Write a Script
Start by writing a script for exactly what you want to say. Divide a page in to two columns with the script on the left and what will be playing in your video on the right. Practice your script over and over while you drive to and from work. The more you do this, the more natural you will become. If you try to go strictly from memory, you’ll see yourself looking upward while you speak. If you’re really bad, you’ll find yourself staring into the camera like a deer in the headlights as you deliver a monotonous monologue. You want to appear natural, but this does not mean being unprepared.
Also, consider the message you want to deliver. I call this your “core message”. This is the underlying theme that you want the patient to understand when they are done viewing. Even if you don’t outright say it, there should be a core message. In my video, I chose the core message of “a better experience.” Although I use the word experience, I don’t come right out and say, “You’re better off here!”
10. What are you looking at?
Where should you look when you talk? You can look straight in to the camera, you can look off to the side, or you can talk as if you are in front of an interviewer. If you chose to speak directly to the patient in the form of “you”, then you should probably look directly into the camera as if you are speaking right to them. If you want to address all patients in general, you should look to the side to a virtual or actual interviewer. In my video, I picked a spot on my camera that was just to the left of the lens.
11. Break it Up
Don’t plan on delivering a perfectly memorized script in one chunk. Break it up in to groups of thought or phrases with a brief pause where you are not speaking at the beginning or at the end. Doing it this way makes post-production editing much easier. Shoot each snippet several times, because there will inevitably be something you didn’t like about yourself.
12. Inform Your Patients
If you intend on action shots that involve patients, make sure to obtain their consent either written or verbal. Reassure them that there will be no audio, and if you chose to use the video, it will only be a few seconds of footage. You could also use a friend or family member as a pseudo patient. In my video, I trained my assistant how to use the camera, and he filmed me at various points throughout the day. There was no rehearsal.
Also consider which staff members will be in your video. Although you want patients to know a little about your staff, consider the awkwardness when you may have to release your staff member but they are immortalized in your office video.
13. Video Settings
If you have the option of controlling the video settings, consider setting them to the following:
720P, 44.1kHz on the sound, and 30FPS.
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to smile. It helps to have someone behind the camera reminding you to smile. As I look back on my own video, I wish I had smiled more. Smiling helps the prospective patient feel more comfortable about coming to your office.
15. Review Some Samples
Search YouTube for examples of videos that dentist have done. Look for things you like and don’t like.
16. Compliment Others
Take this opportunity to talk up your staff and your referring doctors. Patients are just as interested in the staff as they are in you. They also want to know that the specialist thinks their dentist is awesome.
This may sound obvious, but preview your videos after each segment. You’ll notice a lot that you’ll want to change. Don’t shoot a whole day of video, then sit down to preview, or else you’ll be shooting a second day of video as well. If you have the means, preview some of the segments on your computer to see how it will look and sound. The speaker on the camera is not a good representation of how it will sound on your patient’s computer.
18. Go for Good Enough
Few people like looking at pictures of themselves, and fewer people like looking at video of themselves. No matter how good you and your video is, you’ll probably cringe each time you watch yourself. Try to look at it from the patient’s perspective and understand that what you have captured will be good enough for them to get to know you. Consider having a staff member nearby that can give a different perspective and opinion.
We wish you the best in gathering material to shoot your own video. This can be a fun process and an excellent learning experience. Plan to spend at least a couple hours setting up the office and gathering footage of your main narrative. Also remember that this will probably be the first of many videos you will shoot of you and your office over the course of your career. If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact us at Engage Dental.