Step 1: Pre-Production

Welcome! We're excited to get started!

It's important that you start thinking about where in your home or office you want to film, because that's where you should be for this pre-production call ... so we can help you optimize that location.

The goal of this pre-production call is to make sure you have everything you need for the most successful video shoot.

There's more info below on how to set up your camera and lighting - but right now the most important thing is to decide on where you want to film.

Make sure you look out for emails from

We recommend adding that as a contact so your email program doesn't think it's spam.

See you soon!!

Getting Set-Up For Filming

Step 1: Filming Device

Good: Record our Zoom call together

We have a video call using Zoom which gets recorded. You can use any computer that has a webcam, tablet, or phone - just make sure you are on a good internet connection or the recording might become laggy, choppy, and pixelated - making segments of it unusable. Also, make sure the device is on a stable surface, and won't be bouncing or shaking during the call.

Better: Record yourself using a smartphone while you talk to us on Zoom

Because of internet issues, even when you have great service, the best approach is to record via Zoom and also record using your smartphone. This way we'll have a local recording that is independent of the internet. Plus, most smartphone cameras look far better than any webcam.

You’ll want mount your phone right next to, or above your computer screen, in the normal vertical position. Sometimes you can just lean it against the monitor. Basically, you're taking a video "selfie". Just be careful not to have it looking up your nose! It's usually more flattering to mount it higher and angle it down slightly. Play around with it and take some test pictures or video clips until you like the way it looks.

You may want to get a phone mount or mini tripod. They have may options now at places like Best Buy and Target, and here are a few recommendations to purchase online:

-Phone tripod
-Overhead stand

And here are a couple ways to mount your phone just using household / office items.

Just to summarize: you talk to us via Zoom while your phone is filming - like you're being interviewed on a talk show - you talk to the host, not the camera.

Step 2: Lighting

Good: Sit near a window so your face is well-lit

Set up your computer in front of a window, ideally one with adjustable blinds. You don't want direct sunlight shining on your face, that will cause harsh lines and shadows. You might experiment by sitting at different angles to the window, to accentuate one side of your face or the other. Also, think outside the box! You don’t have to do this at your desk. Maybe use the kitchen table. But, consider what kind of noise and traffic might be going on during your filming session - you don’t want to be interrupted!

Better: Use a video light or a ring light

They now sell lights for web-conferencing at places like Best Buy and Target. Any light on your face helps (especially to make the eyes look brighter, called a catch light), but be some of the very small lights can cause bright spots on parts of your face and shadows on other parts. You might experiment using a video light or even a plain adjustable desk lamp and "bouncing it" off a nearby wall and then onto your face. This makes the light softer and more diffuse, and more flattering!

Here is a kit that comes with a tripod, phone holder and ring light

In all cases, avoid having any bright lights or windows behind you. You want your face to have most of the light so the camera knows what to focus on.

Here is a short video that demonstrates how different lighting looks

Step 3: Audio

Good: Film in a quiet room without distraction

Try to film in a fairly “dead” or non-echoey room. Typically, smaller rooms with things on the walls, and possibly carpet. There's no rule here other than to avoid overly reverberant spaces, like a lobby or a warehouse!

Better: Use a clip on lavalier mic that plugs into your smartphone

Investing in a clip-on lavalier mic that plugs into your phone can really elevate the production quality of any video. Here are a couple options:

PoP voice lav mic

Rode SmartLav+

NOTE: If you have a new iPhone that doesn’t have a headphone jack, make sure you have a lightning to 3.5mm adapter

Most of the earbuds that have a built-in mic do not sound better than using nothing at all. We also do not recommend using wireless earbuds because of connection and lag issues.

Don’t worry, during your pre-production call, we’ll answer any questions and help you tweak your setup.


What about the background?
It's best to find a neat room or office to do this in, although a backdrop can work - just don't be right on top of it - have space between you and background. Look closely to make sure there is nothing visible in the background that you do not want shared publicly!

What about the resolution and settings?
Set your phone to standard HD which can also be described as "1080" or "1920x1080". For the frame rate, go with 30 fps (frames per second), but 24 or 60 would be fine too. Stay away from 4k! It makes the files huge and it’s unnecessary. For the Zoom portion you can check that you have HD enabled when we are doing your pre-production call together.

Can I use my own camera, like a gopro or DSLR?
Yes you can, although unless you have extensive experience filming yourself using one of these devices, we recommend sticking with a smartphone. The advantage of using a phone is you can see yourself easily during the filming, and still get full HD resolution (in nearly all phones), and not have to worry about focus and exposure. Unless you know you can get better results with another type of camera, you can’t beat a smartphone.

Can I do this outside?
If you have a quiet place that’s covered from the sun, it might work well. We strongly recommend having a lav mic. Just keep in mind things like neighbors mowing lawns, cars driving by, and a stable internet connection (even if filming with a phone, you still need to talk to us via Zoom). A little noise isn’t necessarily going to ruin the video, but these are all factors to consider.

What to wear
Dress how you would normally when seeing clients or networking. Don't wear a suit if that's not what you normally wear. Be yourself, but be your best self! You might avoid patterns and stripes. Sometimes that can cause issues with the camera (the moire effect).