aflac videoHow do you set up your camcorder to get great video footage of you speaking?

As you know, to market yourself as a speaker, you have to have video. Whether it’s a speaker demo reel, video testimonials, or publicity footage, you need to make sure your video is set up right.

But what set up is the most effective?

Which angle should you get? Should you have the entire audience in the picture? Should the footage be up close, showing just you speaking?

Basically…how the heck should you record your presentation to get the most out of it?

First, let me be clear about the different types of shots you can have when you’re recording your presentations.

You can have the close up shot…this is where it shows you as the speaker.

Aflac Vacation 2

You can have the audience shot…this is where the camera is in the back of the room and it shows the audience, and you’re the tiny guy on stage.

Invisible Touch

You can also have a back-stage shot…this is where the camera is on stage, facing the audience, and the camera captures your back, but it captures the audiences.

Aflac back start

So what should you have? The short answer is simple…everything.

You have to figure out which shot you ‘need’ at this moment in time for your video collection. Maybe you have hours of close-up footage and now you need the audience footage. Or maybe you have audience footage and close-up footage, but you want the backstage footage.

This is where your personal situation comes into play.

If you’re hired for an event and there’s going to be 5,000 people in the audience, then you want the audience shot.

Why? Because bigger crowds have more social proof (which will allow you to charge higher speaking fees).

People naturally associate the bigger crowd with a bigger event (because it is) and this usually means the speakers get paid more (because they usually do).

(Word of warning…if you’re marketing to the corporate crowd and you only have pictures/videos of you in front of huge crowds [5,000 people] then you might lose the gig because they will assume you don’t do gigs for corporate [which is usually 200-500 people])

(Always include the types of pictures/videos of you speaking in front the crowd you want to get hired by. If you want paid corporate gigs then shows pictures/videos of you in front of corporate crowds.)

If you’re hired for an event and there’s only 20 people in the audience then you probably want a close-up shot.

Let me give you an example of how I set up my shots.

When I was doing an event for Aflac, they had a video crew at the event and I asked them to record the presentation.

(Never be afraid of the client recording your presentation. If you see that they have a video crew at the event, with multiple powerpoint screens, then just ask them to record for you…and have an external hard drive with you so you can get a copy right there and then).

Since they had the shot from the front, it gave me an opportunity to position my camera behind me to get the backstage type of footage.

This is the front shot from the video crew…

Aflac Which Hand

And this is the ‘backstage’ shot I was able to get with my camera (of course their camera was a million times better than mine)

Aflac audience coin

If the camera crew wasn’t there, I would have set up my camera to record the audience.

Ideally, if you have multiple cameras then you want one set up as a close-up shot and the other set up as an audience shot.

Maybe you’re bringing the cameras yourself or maybe you hire a camera guy, it’s best to get multiple angles.

And when you have a camera guy, you have to direct them on how to shoot you. This is extremely important…especially if you do any demonstrations in your presentation.

Unless the camera guy has worked with you before, they don’t know anything about your presentation and then don’t know what you’re looking for. So, what they naturally do is shoot you up close.

You have to tell the camera guy everything.

For example…

I tell the camera guy, “Hey, if I get a standing ovation, make sure you zoom out and get the audience.”

I also tell the camera guy, “When you see me do something with the audience, zoom out so you can see me talking to them and you get the entire audience. And whenever everyone claps after a mind reading demonstration, zoom out to get the reactions.”

By doing this, I make sure the camera guy gets the footage I want.

This is footage from Remax…the camera guy knew exactly how to film it (audience shot when I’m talking to the audience, and zooming out during the standing ovation)

Still 16


Still 20

But what about audio?

For awhile, I just said, “To heck with audio.” Until my videographer friend showed me that audio is what makes the difference between good and bad video.

Now that I have seen the light, I’m going to show you what you need to make sure you get good audio for your speaking footage.

It’s called the Rode SmartLav.


It’s a lavaliere mic that hooks up to your iPhone. So when you have a camera in the back of the room, you can have this SmartLav hooked up, with your phone in your pocket, and you can capture the audio.

Your video guy can then sync your lips with the audio in editing.

What if you don’t have an iPhone? What if you have an inferior Andriod phone? Well…you’re S.O.L. …just kidding. I’m sure you can Google a similar device that works with inferior phone 🙂

The only downside is that you can’t use your iPhone to capture video footage. And phones nowadays seem to have better quality than regular camcorders.

Another option is to buy an audio recorder called Zoom H1…it’s small enough to fit in your jacket pocket and you can have a lav mic plugged into it which will capture great audio.Zoom h1

What about pictures?

That’s easy…just take screen shots of your video footage. All my pictures are screen shots from videos.

Another option is to talk with the photographer at the event. There’s almost ALWAYS a photographer at the event.


Because the company wants pictures for the Facebook page, etc. I have yet been to a big company event where they didn’t have a photographer.

So, you can just give the photographer your card (take their card too) and ask them to send you a copy of your pictures.

(They will always say yes…but…they will always forget unless you send them an email or two)

Ultimately, it comes down to getting as much video footage as possible. Get every type of shot you can think of, get tons of video testimonials when you’re done, and make sure you have audio set up so your videographer friend doesn’t get mad at you.