How to Create Engaging Direct-to-Camera Videos

Direct to camera videos have numerous advantages, from creating a connection with the public to keeping your audience interested and focused. This is especially key when you are trying to create an entertaining video that will keep your students engaged until the end and help them learn something. This is where putting yourself in your videos gives you the visibility you need and helps raise brand awareness in an easy, efficient and cost-effective manner.

Check out these10 useful tips for direct to camera video.

1 – Use tools and other objects

As a teacher or instructor, you need to pay extra attention to this aspect and use the power of example. Your audience can retain the information you are providing a lot faster if you use tools and other objects that help you make your point. For instance, you can be a real attention grabber only by introducing mugs in your video.

On the other hand, you can follow the example of Hans Rosling, who used boxes and toys in his video. This way, you will keep the audience entertained and interested throughout the entire video.

2 – Use a Whiteboard – yes a whiteboard – with countdowns


Despite what many people think, whiteboards are anything but old-fashioned – they are simple yet highly effective and they can help you send the message to your audience in a fast and easy manner.

Brendan Burchard knows how important whiteboards are, and this is why he uses them in many of his videos. As a teacher, you need to do your best to catch the attention of your audience and present comprehensive information. In addition, using a countdown can also help: all you have to do is to use numbered papers and remove one at a time until you reach number one. Who does not want to know what you have hidden behind number 1?!

3 – “Super zoom” a.k.a. watch Ze Frank’s “The Show”


This feature can help you blend images and profiles into entertaining presentations. People react a lot better to images than they react to text, and this is why your audience is more likely to memorize the information you are providing if you use a mix of profiles and images. To understand how the Super-Zoom works, watch Ze Frank’s video.

4 – Use text and images

Blending images with text can give some rhythm to your direct to camera video (in Udemy you can do it easily using the feature “Create a Video/Presentation Mashup”).

If you insert an image or a piece of text every minute, you will automatically break up the monotony and you will keep your audience interested.

Teachers and instructors can use images to exemplify, stimulate the imagination of the audience and keep them engaged, especially if your direct-to-camera video is not very short. The use of text and images will also make the video easier to follow. Check SeoMOZ tips above to create compelling slides!

5 – Be active and pay attention to your body language


There is nothing more boring than a video where you just stare at the camera and do nothing. Be active and move your body naturally, ignore the presence of the camera and just imagine you are having a real-time conversation with somebody. Let your eyes move around as you think of something and look at the camera from time to time. This way, your students feel that you are talking directly to them. This approach is not only very natural, but also highly effective: your audience will perceive your movements and actions as completely natural and, in the end, this is the goal of every teacher. If you are looking for some ideas regarding body language, check this video of Gary, who tells you how to be active in front of the camera;

6 – Partner up


Tag-teaming with another teacher or instructor can help you with your direct-to-camera video. It is a lot easier for the audience to follow a conversation between two skilled instructors. Besides, they can also learn more, since two minds are better than one. A very good example is provided by Diggnation with Kevin Rose

7 – Use your voice creatively


Use your voice and presentation skills in a creative manner. If you speak in a monotone, your audience will get bored and stop watching your video after several seconds. Instead, be creative! Change the tone of your voice whenever you want to put emphasis on a certain aspect.

The speaking pace is also important: try to speak slowly and clearly when you want to make a point, and speed up when you want to skip parts of your script that are less relevant. If you do not know how to use your voice creatively, check several videos of Robin Williams, as they can be a great source of inspiration.

8 – Nail down the format


Decide on the format. Actually, this step should be the first one – you need to decide on the format of your direct-to-camera video before you start recording.
As an instructor, you will most likely want to talk about your niche (and you have a well-defined target audience that is interested in that).

Before you start recording, try to think about several aspects: where should you record your clip? How long will it be? It is highly recommended to think about these aspects and write down all your ideas. Plan every second of your video (for instance, 5 seconds for the opening jingle, 20 seconds for the introduction and so forth). This way, your video will be clean and well-designed. Check Joe Smith video above and see how he can transform a piece of paper into a format (!).

9 – Subtitles


Using subtitles is particularly important if you are not a native English speaker and you have a strong accent. I am not a native English speaker, and I stopped watching hundreds of videos simply because I was not able to understand them due to the accent and lack of subtitles. Subtitles are easy to use, and they will make the whole video a lot easier to follow.

In the end, the purpose of every instructor or teacher is to create high-quality content that is easy to understand and memorize. Besides the fact that English subtitles can significantly expand your audience, they also contribute to search engine optimization;

10 – Super editing

Play the Qwiki: Last Minute 4th of July Tips

Are you good at editing your videos? If so, you should definitely use your skills in order to create a top-notch, engaging video. This will boost the number of views and you will surprise your audience. As an instructor, you certainly know how important it is to take your audience by surprise and prevent them from getting bored.
If are not a video editing guru you can consider to use tools like Qwiki to quickly enrich your video without much effort.

Enjoy and be a presenter impossible…today !

Byline: Marco Montemagno – a.k.a. Monty – is a tech entrepreneur and fonder of “Presenter Impossible, lessons from a decade of unconventional presentations“, where he shares ideas and tips to create inspiring presentations. Monty is a proud Udemy instructor :)