Making That First Video For The Quick Start Challenge

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I have made many videos, but rarely do I put myself in the picture. There’s a reason for that.

Slide shows, product demos, screen shows etc are all used widely in sales videos and blog examples, where the focus is on the product or activity. It takes time to do properly, and it’s all about the content. Most of us are not movie stars and our fumblings on screen are not usually needed or valued by our visitors.

The above video took 47 seconds to record on my mobile phone and has so many things wrong with it it is shameful. But it is done and I can move on with the challenge. I will create another later to show you what I would be happy with, but that takes longer to create and edit.

So why make the video?
As stated in the Quick Start Challenge, the video is more to get us out of our comfort zones than anything else. Getting us to try something new and learn from the experience.

I know I learnt that I spent more time finding excuses to put off doing it than it took me to actually do. I also wish I had done it sooner, so that I could have spent more time on it.

But a video of ourselves also helps our visitors, and soon to be subscribers, start to build a trust relationship with us. We are who they see; it’s a bit like virtually shaking their hand.

There are some rules I like to follow when doing a video:

Be Presentable. You need to make the effort to be smart, natural and welcoming to your viewer. If you want to present yourself as a future internet millionaire then don’t dress like an unemployed gardener.

Location.Find a good place to present from that makes you feel comfortable. The webcam may be tied to your PC, but a small camera or phone could be used anywhere. How about taking a video outside, or inside the car? (that’s a favorite of Dean’s) Just as with being presentable, the area behind you or around you that shows in your video needs to be clean and tidy. Always think about what image you want to give out.

Lighting.Use good lighting as it really makes the difference between a dark almost sinister bedroom type webcam shot and a positive upbeat presentation. I am sure you have all seen the dark cringe-worthy videos that are only like that for the lack of some more light.

Scripting. Write out what you are going to say and either learn the lines or print it out an put it next to the camera. All the TV pros and WebCam marketers do this, and if you doubt it, just look at their eyes scanning the words as they speak to the screen. A teleprompter is probably overkill, but a sheet of paper with large print on it will save loads of retakes and keep you focused on the message you want to say.

If you are recording a long video then you need to follow the normal rules for giving a presentation so that you keep their attention to the end.


Your WebCam and Microphone. Obviously the better they are the better the video quality will be. Your webcam probably came with some recording software so that you can record your video for editing or uploading later. This is probably good enough to generate the initial video.

Video Camera. You may want to use a separate video camera, digital camera or mobile phone to record your video. The quality is likely to be higher than a regular webcam (although the difference is getting harder to spot these days) but you will have to transfer the video recording to your PC in order to upload or edit it. The process is the same for transferring photos so its not difficult.

Lightning. Think about investing in proper lighting if you are going to do videos on a regular basis, and get setup so that you have a place that is your recording area. If you don’t want specific video light systems (still cheap off eBay) then use some ‘white light’ bulbs in regular lamps to brighten out the scene.

Green Screen. This is a technique widely used in movies, where the entire background can be hidden and replaced by another image or video or just a white sheet. It can be really helpful to do if you don’t have much space or cannot really tidy up. You can get green screen kits off eBay for only a few $ and it opens up the door to a whole range of effects. You will have to use software to enhance and edit your video, but the results can be amazing.

Software. There is so much you could buy its unreal, but I only use two packages, one for editing the video, and one for creating animated banners, text and graphics for putting into the videos. Both are paid and cost about $100 each but they are worth it. It really isn’t required unless you want to take your videos to the next level.

Publishing Your Video

There are tools you can use to host the video on your own site, but most people use YouTube, and that has many benefits. YouTube is a video hosting platform (owned by Google) but it is also a video search and ranking engine. This means that you can rank your videos so that they appear in the top of YouTube searches in exactly the same way you can rank your blog using SEO tools. If your video point to your blog then it’s a double benefit in driving traffic to your site.

YouTube LogoWhen you upload your video to YouTube there are a number of different options and text boxes you need to fill in in order for YouTube to correctly interpret and promote your website. You have probably seen them when you uploaded your video, but if not I have a short but details PDF document on what they mean and how you fill them in.

Once your video is uploaded to YouTube simply cut and paste the video url link code into your web post and hey presto – the video will now show on your blog. There are some settings that you need to choose to correctly size your video for your theme, as well as to how it displays at the end of playing. Do you really want to show lots of other peoples videos, and the chance of getting distracted, or just leave them seeing yours?

So, having got over that hurdle of procrastination, and then over the nerves, how was your first video? What tools did you use? What help did you feel you needed more of? Add a comment below and I will answer them all.

26 thoughts on “Making That First Video For The Quick Start Challenge”

  1. Hi Simon – A great start with putting yourself on video and a good informative post to go with it. – Well done.

    So yes, there may be a couple of things that you want to improve on for next time but that is not important. If you saw my first videos…

    Well, you can’t! – They were that bad that I didn’t even publish them :-/

    The important thing is that you have taken action and done it – Congrats.
    Onward & upwards 🙂

    1. Well without trying I think I broke every rule I have on making a video! I really do want to do a good one to show a side-by-side difference.

  2. Congratulations on taking action Simon! Thank you or the helpful information about making a great video. I now know some helpful tips for the next video I make. Thank you.

  3. Simon –

    You’re off to a great start. Based on your posts, it appears that you have been writing for a long time. I like your no-nonsense attitude and find the information in the posts quite useful.

    Keep up the good work. I look forward to tracking your success in the Quick Start Challenge.

  4. Hey Simon, nice and informative video and post. I am just starting to get comfortable in front of the camera. I am certainly not really comfortable, but it gets easier each time.

    Thanks for the great explanation that accompanied the post. See you in the Facebook Group!


  5. Hi Simon. First off well done for completing the challenge. The post was full of good information too. Some great tips there. I was really nervous when I did my video but you seem quite relaxed. Have you done this before? Anyway, good luck with the rest of the QSC.

  6. Great work Simon, well scripted and to the point. With this video you could quite well make your first video online offering video creation advice. Cheers Mate!

  7. Hi Simon:

    Good to see that you did it! Nice to be in your page and see that seriously you are taking action. Keep doing it!! Next time we’ll do better. I myself have to improve a lot. Talk with more passion and concentrate in communicate and talk to our audience that is on the other side of the screen. See you!!

  8. Hi Simon,

    You did it! Good job and some great advise for those who haven’t started the challenge yet. I wonder what the next one will be?

    All the best.

  9. Hi Simon, well done on just getting it done!

    I gave my camera a shot over the weekend but the sound is very poor. Next up is my phone. Should do the job. If I am going to make a lot of these then obviously I am going to have to look at my setup. For now whatever I have that can produce a reasonable result.

    Have a good time.

    1. Phones are getting so much better, and some ‘selfie-stick’ videos on location look really professional. It all comes down to good lighting.

  10. Hey Simon why did I not think of seeing your post before I started my video. Then I would not have had to go to other sites to look for the technical stuff.



  11. Hello Simon!!
    Great video and great content! All the tips you shared are very useful. It’s so true that if we’re gonna start doing this on a regular basis, we need to work on different aspects of the game.

    Thanks and all the best threw this journey


  12. Hi Simon,
    Thanks for the numbers, 350, I thought that it may have been higher than that but maybe people find it difficult sourcing the time.
    It’s suprised me how much effort I’ve had to put in to produce one simple video, and I do them all the time for screen capture instructional purposes!!
    Well best wishes for the QSC………………… Jim

    1. Totally agree on that! I do screen capture and PowerPoint videos all the time. I even do product demos, but nothing that I have to be in front of the camera. It really is difficult unless someone else is taking the video (and not laughing at you)

  13. Hi Simon,

    Nice video and thanks for sharing the useful tips… I myself found lighting to be very important as it seemed to make a big difference when making my video for the quick start challenge… I be sure to follow your progress.

  14. Hi Simon,
    Reading your post, it seems this one was pretty easy for you, but I really appreciate the info in your post, there are some really helpful tips to assist those of us who are just starting with vides.
    Thanks a lot!

  15. Hello Simon…Hey, don’t be so hard on yourself about the Video. I think you did a fine job! I sound like you in that I have made many Videos but just not with my face in them. One of my favorite videos to create are screenshot videos using screencast-o-matic. Simple and quick and usually what ever you want to talk about is on the site that you are doing a screencast of…Nice!

    Lets keep plugging away and I’ll see you at the top 🙂

  16. Hi Simon,
    There’s nothing to be ashamed of…I think it was great, just what people want to see…A real person. That video of yours may help someone that was feeling like you did, just do it..It’s genuine and I think comes across great. Good job mate!!!


  17. Hey Simon

    I always have a problem with glasses they have a foreground glare and I have to wear them, unless I memorize the script – I can’t so I choose not to.. I was trying to see what you were looking at.

    But I really think your vid was excellent with the glasses on. Your voice was the right pitch and you provided great content and I have no complaints

    I just say Bravo mate and were moving forward. We are on to week 4 and all that is left is some optins …

  18. Hi Simon,

    Well done for getting your video up, great effort and very detailed post to follow, keep up the great work!!!

    p.s. On a side note fancy doing a post on how to upload a profile pic on WordPress, then I can come back to read it and learn how to do it 🙂

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