How to Make a Great Talking Head Video (Even When Camera Shy) | Lucy Lambriex | Skillshare

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How to Make a Great Talking Head Video (Even When Camera Shy)

teacher avatar Lucy Lambriex, Let’s feel great around the camera!

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

13 Lessons (25m)
    • 1. Intro: What to Expect?

    • 2. How to Engage Your Audience

    • 3. How to Work with Fear and Nervousness

    • 4. Disarm Your Inner Critic

    • 5. How to Remember Your Story

    • 6. Let's Make a Cheat Sheet

    • 7. How to Connect With Your Viewer

    • 8. A Good Volume and Pace

    • 9. How the Body can Support the Mind

    • 10. How to Use a Second Camera

    • 11. Watch Yourself with Kindness

    • 12. Practicalities

    • 13. Class project

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About This Class

In this introductory class, you'll learn to improve your video presence, even when you are camera shy.  You'll learn tricks to work with fear and nervousness, and your inner critic will be surprised by your approach. 

This is not a technical class, but more of an exciting journey through your mind and body.

After doing this class and after practicing, you should be able to show up in front of a video camera and make an authentic talking head video.

Flawless? I hope not! Let's keep making mistakes.

Please join me in the class project and I'm happy to give to feedback and advice.

But first: join the class and enjoy the ride.

The music in this class is by Tom Beek.

Meet Your Teacher

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Lucy Lambriex

Let’s feel great around the camera!


Hi! I'm Lucy Lambriex from Amsterdam. I portray camera shy people who need authentic portraits for their business, and since 2008, I also make a living with my portfolio on Getty Images. 

Are you camera shy? With my classes, I help you gain the courage to show up in front of the camera and I help the photographer to capture you!

If you are a professional or aspiring photographer, who wants to start working with people, but you have no clue how to make your subjects feel at ease, you came to the right place. I'm here to teach you how to build rapport with your subjects and capture their aliveness and true self.

NEW CLASS: The Authentic Portraiture Toolkit. Learn my methods and toss ... See full profile

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1. Intro: What to Expect?: Hi there. Welcome to my class. How to make a great talking head video. In my book, this is a video that is engaging, informative, and it shows the real you. Do you trust you can do it? Or are you filled with doubt and fear? Making a talking head video can be very intimidating, especially if you think you have to do everything right in one take. But you don't. This is the perfect place to practice, making mis- making mistakes and enjoying it. I'm Lucy Lambriex from Amsterdam. A while ago, I worked as a director for children's TV, and I worked with many inexperienced newcomers. They were all afraid or nervous and they all did fine in the end. In this introductory class, you'll learn how to deal with all the stuff in your head, so it's not a technical class, but I will give some tips. The focus of this class lies on you. You'll learn how to deal with your fear and nervousness and how to tell your inner critic to go, well, do something else. I'll share with you how you can connect with your viewer and you'll learn how to better remember your story or message. All you need is yourself, a video camera or a smartphone, a tripod or a stack of books, some tape, some paper and a marker. Whether you are an online teacher or want to make a video for your website or maybe crowdfunding campaign, I hope to teach you how to make an attractive talking head video, that shows the real you. Ready? Let's do it. 2. How to Engage Your Audience: How to engage your audience. In this first lesson, I'm probably going to add a bit to your nervousness, but I ask you to stick with me and trust that you'll learn the tools and approach that will help you make an engaging video in your own style. I know you can do it, if you stay close to who you are. Video is a tricky thing because it holds people captive for a certain period of time. A viewer doesn't know what to expect and can't oversee all the good things you have in store for them. And unless you have a ton of good reviews, but even then, they'll stay or leave based on a gut feeling. If you start off boring, people will stop watching. So it's why you have to make a good intro that tickles the viewer and gives a good impression of your content, your personal style and your visual approach. When you are on Facebook, YouTube or Skillshare; what makes you want to stay and watch a video? What makes you leave? Because everyone is different. What is engaging also differs from person to person. We can't please everyone, so it's my belief you have to make a video that's at least appealing to you. You will be spending a lot of time with it, so make something that doesn't bore you Deliver interesting and valuable information and also share some examples of your own experience. Don't talk too much about yourself, because you are there for them. Connect with your viewer, know your audience so you know how you can relate to them and serve them best. Ask your viewer a question now and then. It will keep them interested and awake, and they'll feel you're thinking about them. And not just sending. I believe in order to be engaging, you have to be authentic and surprise your viewers now and then. Be real and don't act. Don't copy someone else and don't try to be perfect. It's pleasant when you're human. You may also use your quirks, even if the subject matter is serious. And the best videos are usually not the longest. So keep up your pace, kill your darlings and edit out the unnecessary bits. In the following lessons, I'll dive deeper into the tools that will help you make a video that is truly yours. And before you continue the lesson on nervousness, I invite you to download the pdf. How to engage your audience and answer the questions. Get it all out on paper. This will help you prepare and help you trust that you can do it. Because you can. 3. How to Work with Fear and Nervousness: There you are, looking at the camera. Memory seems all gone. You forgot what you wanted to say, your heart is pounding and you think, How on earth am I going to survive this. So many other good things to do pop into your mind. What were you thinking? So you probably think your nerves need to go, in order to do it right. But the good thing is the nerves are not the problem. You don't have to be all pumped up and super confident in order to be able to make a good video. One of the bigger problems, or maybe even the biggest problem when doing scary things, is that we tell ourselves it's not OK to be scared. We ought to be relaxed and super confident. We also tend to look at other people and think they're all so confident and relaxed and have very quiet minds. But trust me, they don't. For instance, while I'm talking to you, my inner critic, we'll talk about her later, she's talking to me and telling me, "Who are you to teach this topic while you're nervous yourself and you forget your lines all the time." And she's right. But, there's also another thought that I've been practicing. And I'll share it with you now. I want you to start practicing a new thought. Don't bother stopping the old thought. It will lose its power over time, once you're more and more focused on the new idea. Your new thought will be: I feel fear, nervousness, restlessness, whatever it is, and it's OK, that's the whole thing. You will almost instantly feel more space in your mind. And less of your attention will go into trying to act confident. The next lessons will also help you deal with nervousness better and give you support in this exciting adventure. 4. Disarm Your Inner Critic: Now let's meet your inner critic. We all know that voice in our head, trying to undermine our every move, especially when we do scary things. She talks and talks and talks, and we tend to believe her or him. A while back, I decided to give my inner critic a name. I called her 'mevrouw Bang', which means Mrs Scared, because I discovered she's simply scared. It's the old voice of my parents trying to protect me from hurt, or them from shame and society trying to protect its values. But those are old voices, and they're not useful to me anymore. What I do these days, is I visualize mevrouw Bang and I put her on the bench, like in a sports match. She cannot play. She has to wait. She can say things, but it's my game. She's on reserve. I tell her it's okay to be scared, and I thank her for her advice in the past, and I tell her it's no longer useful. I can do it myself now. And unless she comes up with something supportive, she is on the bench. And it works. Please share the name of your inner critic in the community. And if you happen to have more voices in your head, give them all names and put them all next to each other on the bench. It's not their game. It's yours. See how this works for you. And please tell me 5. How to Remember Your Story: How to remember your story, your lesson, your message. First. Forget about it. Forget that you have to know it all by heart. Second, take more time. Video making always takes more time than you think, and if you are in a stressful situation, you will forget. Your memory will shut down and you'll have blackouts. So make sure to feel enough space and time and allow yourself to do things over and over and over and over again. You'll need the extra time for practice and trial and error and to enjoy this journey. Because it's not only scary and annoying and difficult, but it's also fun. Third, choose a place that makes you feel comfortable. It makes a big difference if you're sitting on your favourite chair at your desk or if you're standing somewhere new. Fourth. Don't remember the words, but remember the essence and the meaning of what you're telling. Why is it important for your viewers to see and hear it? And how will they be different after watching it? For instance, in the example of a student learning how to do water colouring, or how to use Illustrator. Before your class, they may not even know how to hold a brush or how to work in layers and use shortcuts. After your class, it will be all different. They will have made a transition. Picture the student, the viewer, the potential donor, in the before and after state. How does he or she get there? What transition does she make and how does the transition come about? Under your project, please download the Pdf with all these questions and answer them. It will help you make a concise layout of your class, and it will make you remember what you were about to teach and why. 6. Let's Make a Cheat Sheet: Now, let's make a cheat sheet. There is no shame in using some support for your memory. For every section you'll record, grab a piece of paper or cardboard and write down the essence and the meaning of that section. Also jot down some words in the right order, that will help you remember the rest of your message or story. Don't write down whole sentences. It will make you sound unnatural, and you'll lose the connection with your enthusiasm and energy for your topic. Using a cheat sheet, can be distracting if you have to look away for it. So I put it very close to the lens, or even poke a hole in it and hang it on the lens. And if you record in automatic mode, make sure no to cover any sensors. Or you could put it up high and look at it as if you are thinking. Or use a flipboard behind you. Or a blackboard. And just have it in in the video frame. and the viewer can read with you. Whichever approach you choose, remember, you can always edit your video. You don't have to do it all in one... you don't have to do it all in one take. You can make a jump cut like this or cover it with a graphic like this. Or you can use a second camera like this one, and you can pick up where you left off. I'll dive into this option in a later lesson. If when you recording, you mess up, just smile. Take a pause, breathe in and repeat. Sometimes it's simply necessary to make the same mistake over and over again until you suddenly find your groove. Don't stop the camera and start all over. In this process, it is vital to remain kind to yourself and to give yourselves pats on the back. This is the perfect place to practice, making mis... making mistakes and enjoying it. 7. How to Connect With Your Viewer: There you are in your studio or office, looking at a piece of technology, not knowing who's watching. How can you still connect with the real person, that is watching you. It's like real life through eye contact and by listening to them, even if they can't really speak to you, you can take a pause and listen. And if you're quiet, they can hear themselves better too. It really helps, if you have defined who your viewer may be. Who is your ideal viewer? What does he like? What is her experience? How old is he? Where does she live? Download the pdf under your project to help you define who your viewer is. Put yourself in their shoes. How do they feel? What do they want to learn from you? Why are they watching your video? Connect with their desire for your content. It will make your message come alive, and you can deliver it to them personally. When I make a video, I constantly remind myself that I'm talking to a real person. The camera and the lens, it's only like a window or a pair of glasses, and the real person is right behind it. I don't focus on the surface of the lens, but I look into it and try to connect and look the person in the eyes. Some people find it helpful to have a picture of a friend or loved one next to the camera they can connect with. Or have a real friend present. For me, that doesn't work too well because I mess up all the time and I just prefer to do it alone. But some people, they can come alive more easily with a real person present. Do you have any tricks to share? Please share them in the community. 8. A Good Volume and Pace: How to speak at a good volume and in a good pace. When we're nervous, we tend to speak too softly or we go really fast. And we ... or in my case, I go very, very slow because I forget. How to slow down, how to insert pauses and how to have a stronger voice? A few tips. Before you start, take a moment to land in your body. In the next lesson we'll dive into this topic deeper. The most obvious and most effective trick, is to practice and to repeat. Honestly, if you practice a few times before the real thing, it will come out more natural and you'll feel so much more relaxed. Record yourself, listen to it and notice where you're speeding up and where your voice is dropping very low or where you're pitching high because you're nervous. Try and practise ending your sentences strongly and make a variation between going up and down. We tend to end them downwards. I do, too, but you can also end them upwards. Also, make sure to pause, catch your breath and continue. In your practice, you can determine the best spots to pause and remember, if pauses are too long, you can always edit them out, but you can never add them and make it sound natural. Before you record the real thing, do this exercise. Speak ri-di-cu-lous-ly slow-ly and ar-ti-cu-late well. If you do this to the extreme, you'll manage a more natural and pleasant talking pace when recording the real thing. 9. How the Body can Support the Mind: In this lesson, I'll talk about how you can use your body to support your mind. Sometimes we forget we have a body. Were thinking too much. The body reminds us of and brings us back to, the present moment. Our hands and feet, and our bottom when we're sitting, are easy to connect with. It is best to practice returning to the body when you're not recording yet. So before you start, make sure to move a lot. Dance. Do some sports. Jump around, run around the block, rub your head, massage your hands, your feet and you'll feel a lot of energy flowing. Now take your place in front of your camera. Now take your place in front of your camera and make sure your hands and feet touch something. So rest your arms on a chair or table and make sure both feet are touching the floor. Don't cross your legs. Keep at least 40% of your attention in your body and it will help you relax. If this is too difficult for you, maybe you could give yourself a small task and perhaps do this with your finger, outside of the frame of course. Or wiggle your toes. If you give your body a small task, there is less time and space for worrying. And don't care that it's strange. It is, but it works. 10. How to Use a Second Camera: How to use a second camera, even a bad one, to make your life easier in post production and also during recording. It helps me a lot to know that there's a second camera that I can use to pick up when I make a mistake. Your second camera doesn't have to be really great. It could be an old smartphone, or maybe even a really old video camera, and you could make the image black and white or give it a different effect. It doesn't have to match perfectly. And even if you don't make mistakes all the time, you can use the second camera to make the video more lively. So you are not looking at the same frame all the time. It's a good idea to use two different types of framing. For instance, this camera is a little bit close or medium close, and this one is a little bit wider. Don't mix two medium shots. It is possible, and please break this rule if you feel like it. But the viewer will more easily switch between different types of framing. If it is impossible for you to lay hands on a second camera. You could also film yourself twice, maybe just film the bits where you made a mistake, and you can use that also for editing. Experiment with this a little bit and see how you can create more freedom, both during the filming and in the editing phase. 11. Watch Yourself with Kindness: Watch yourself with kindness. When the recording is done, there comes this awkward time where you see yourself and you notice all these things. The way your mouth is, the way you speak. The way you sound. Why do you blink so much? Why do you... dot dot dot. It's quite normal for this to happen, but it's not very helpful. So let me teach you some ways to watch and listen to yourself with more kindness. We tend to invite our inner critic to the game again, and we start believing what she says. And interestingly enough, most of what she says is true. My mouth isn't straight. I do have a Dutch accent. The problem starts when she starts judging it, and I start believing the judgment. Over the years, I learned that everything about me is okay. It's supposed to be there. Even if it's strange or distracting, It takes time and practice to accept all these things. For now, just accept that your voice sounds higher in real life than you think, and that you have small mannerisms you didn't know about. Don't focus on the details. Try and watch and listen to the whole you. I ask you to download the Pdf, Watching yourself with kindness and sit with it for about 10 minutes. Write down everything that pops into your mind and don't think too much. In my class on courage for the camera shy, I spend two lessons on this topic. You might like to watch those two. I think it's really important to do this, and it helps you open up in front of cameras more easily. 12. Practicalities: Now that we've plunged into a with mental stuff that is part of video making, it's time for some practicalities. When you plan for a filming period, add a few days, or maybe even a week extra to your timeline. It al-ways takes longer. Always. Make an outline that includes everything you want to put in your video in the right order and then start eliminating. Be as concise as possible. Next, start testing your equipment. Check the batteries. Check the video settings. Check your memory card. Make a test shot. And see how it looks. Sound. Especially when you're in a room with hard walls and a lot of wood, the sound may become harsh or hollow. You can reduce this effect by putting up soft materials. Throw all your cushions on the floor, put up some extra curtains or some clothing, and it will definitely improve the sound quality. When you mix talking head video with screen cast for instance, record it in the same room and with the same microphone. If possible, choose your music with care and use it sparsely. I find it very difficult to listen to a voice from music is too loud or too intense. Focus. If you can use manual focus, I suggest you do. You can use a placeholder that you put on your spot. You focus on it and you put it away. I have this paper bag that I put in my seat. So this is me when I'm not here. Check if your camera has a limit to the length of the clips and recording time. I discovered very unhappily that there is a limit to it. Next, put on something that makes you feel comfortable. For instance, outside of the frame, I'm wearing sweatpants. Yay! Also check your teeth. Spinach, lipstick, chocolate. You don't want it there. 13. Class project: And now it's time for your class project. I hope you can apply everything you've learned. Record a 30 second video, maximum 30 seconds and express the essence and meaning of your topic in your own unique way. Make a few versions and perhaps upload the worst and the best to your project. I really look forward to seeing your work. If you like this class, I would be so grateful if you could leave me a short review. Please leave any questions or remarks in the community, and I hope to see you in my other classes as well. Bye