Online video has been growing enormously over the past few years and as mentioned in a previous blog post video will make up 80% of all online traffic by 2021. YouTube is the second biggest search engine after Google. Facebook has the next biggest video reach after YouTube. Google are placing more and more importance on video in their search results. Tweets with video get 10x the engagement. Instagram and LinkedIn have both reported massively increased video interaction.

But shooting your own video can seem like a daunting task to the average person, even though it isn’t that scary. In the age of the ‘social media influencer’ there are now a whole host of great value video production tools and props like gimbals that can help make the job of shooting video a whole lot easier.

In this blog post, we’ll share our knowledge by giving you some practical tips to get you started on shooting your own video. By the end of it, you’ll be able to start incorporating videos into your medical practice’s digital strategy.

Read on to find out how to get started.

What to shoot

Your most valuable video content will be of you and the treatments you offer to patients. While it might be useful and reassuring to your visitors to include videos of your office or clinic, the content that is likely to get listed in Google and drive traffic to your site will be of you talking to camera about the topics that most interest your patients. That might be explaining how a procedure is performed, the recovery process, the choices a patient has, case studies, demonstrations; anything you are asked by your patients will make for a good video.

Attention spans for viewing video are decreasing dramatically so, whatever you record, keep it short and to the point (no more than a minute). Avoid jargon that only you and your peers are likely to understand – keep it simple. Bullet point what you plan an saying in advance but try not script it – a scripted response (where it sounds like you’re reading) can come across as unnatural and make you seem less authentic and endearing to the viewer.

The viewer might not know the subject being discussed so always include it in what you say. For example, if your response is just “You may need to take up to 2 weeks off work to recover.”, the viewer won’t know what procedure you’re referring to. A better response would be “You may need to take up to 2 weeks off work to recover from nose surgery.”

Succinct videos of you discussing topics your patients are interested in.

How to shoot

The chances are you’ll be shooting on a mobile phone camera which for most scenarios is absolutely fine. Using a more ‘up market’ camera can improve quality and offer more options (so use one if possible) but most phone cameras will suffice.

Format
Shoot widescreen/landscape/horizontal video (i.e. the phone on its side). There is a time and place for portrait/vertical video but if the final destination is embedded on your website then stick to horizontal.

Set your phone to the highest quality video setting and use the rear camera if possible, they are nearly always higher quality. Do not use the camera zoom (unless it’s an optical zoom) as this can dramatically decrease quality, move the camera instead.

Lighting
Lighting is the most important part of making a video look good. To keep things simple, aim to have the whole picture (but most importantly you), brightly lit with no dark shadows. The best way to achieve this is to have a big, soft light that is directly in front of you at eye level. Daylight is an excellent option but not direct sunlight as it creates harsh shadows. As a general rule, if you can see the sun, it will be too harsh. So try to shoot facing a big window that you can’t see the sun out of.

Alternatively, use artificial light. Overhead office lights will probably create strong unwanted shadows (and unpleasant colours) but a well positioned table lamp or floor light will help. Selfie lights are readily available from Amazon and other retailers and can greatly improve the look of your video. For more info try Googling ‘selfie lighting tutorial’. Lastly, if you wear glasses, be careful of reflections.

Movement
A steady shot looks more professional than a wobbly one. Holding the camera yourself, or having someone hold it for you, can work fine but with a bit of imagination it’s usually easy to find a way to fix the camera in place. A bookshelf, windowsill, phone holder, selfie stick, etc, etc can all make a decent steady surface. But for an easy life and better results, invest in a tripod. There are lots of options available on Amazon for floor and desktop options.

Framing
You can get creative about framing with experience but, when getting started, position yourself in the centre of the screen from around mid-chest height with just a small amount of space above your head. This is called a ‘mid close up’. Always maintain eye contact with the camera which projects a sense of confidence and certainty. You want the camera slightly above eye-level with your head angled slightly up. This is a generally flattering style that allows the light to catch your eye and avoids hooded eye lids and double chins. Avoid busy patterns on your clothes as they can be distracting and look poor in the end result.

Sound
Make sure the environment you film in is quiet and use a separate microphone if possible. If you can’t use a separate microphone, make sure you project your voice, speak clearly and position the camera close enough to you to be able to easily understand what you’re saying in the final video. There are plenty of cost effective clip-on mics available for both Apple and Android which can make a big difference to your end result.

Widescreen, well framed, steady, high quality video with good lighting and clear sound.

Where to shoot

The look of where you shoot isn’t overly important but you want somewhere professional without distractions. You don’t want any disturbing or possibly embarrassing medical paraphernalia in the image unless it directly relates to the message. And always be wary of any personally identifiable information such as patient records being left in view.

If the background is very busy, try to keep as much distance as possible between you and it. A plain background works well and helps keep you as the centre of attention but avoid standing right up against a wall as it can lead to unwanted shadows. Above all, your shooting location needs to be as quiet as possible. Even if you’re using a separate microphone a noisy environment can massively impact your ability to be heard.

Quiet location with plain or non-distracting background.

What to do next

First, if you’re not happy with what you just shot, do it again. It’s worth a little extra time to get a good result. Then, use the tools you have on your phone to trim the clip and remove any unwanted pauses at the beginning and end – no one needs to see you getting up to press the stop button. Next, use the YouTube app to upload the video to your channel. Follow our YouTube Optimisation Guide (coming soon) for more details but be sure to use a suitable category with keyword rich title, description and tags.

Retake, trim, publish.

In Summary

Online video has become more and more important as a healthcare digital marketing tactic across all the major networks, so now is the time to capitalise. Shooting videos for your medical practice is an easy, fast and cost-effective way of keeping your social presence updated, communicating with patients and improving your search engine optimisation performance.

To drive valuable traffic to your website using video, record succinct clips of you answering patient questions in a quiet, well lit room using a steady camera with clear sound. Practise makes perfect and the more you talk to camera the better you’ll get. A few cost-effective camera accessories like a separate microphone, selfie light and tripod can make a big difference to the final outcome so you should definitely consider investing. Make sure you optimise your YouTube submission and you’re all set.

Don’t forget, we have many years experience shooting professional quality video for a range of healthcare and medical organisations. If you’d like to find out more about what we can offer then please get in touch.

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