Video close ups for the King’s Speech

The King's Speech

The King's Speech (Image via

Throughout the movie, The King’s Speech, there were many close up shots of a single actor with a great deal of Depth of Field (DoF). This is a technique which could be applied to your business social videos.

Depth of field is the distance between the focal point (the actor) and the background. It is why on so many close-ups, the background is blurry. The blurrier the background appears; the more depth of field. For close ups, this provides interest and perspective. This technique forces the viewer to concentrate on the subject’s face. The viewer is forced to concentrate on the facial expressions and the emotional impact of the specific moment.

The King’s Speech used the DoF often throughout the film. Particularly on the close-ups between Lionel (played by Geoffrey Rush) and King George the VI (played by Colin Firth). Interestingly, when the two were conversing with each other, you were seeing the impact of the off-screen statement made by the other actor.

Now that you are focused on the actor, you will notice the actor is not directly in the middle of the frame. The actors are over to one side or another. Like a tic-tac-toe board. The center of the actor appears on one of the two vertical lines.

When you are creating your videos, try the same technique. Stand to one side or the other. Create the focus on you and not the background by creating a greater depth of field. When Lionel and Bertie were talking to each other, you noticed how each of their close ups appeared on the opposite vertical line…further illustrating they were talking to each other while you, the viewer, would concentrate on the emotional reaction of the person in the close-up.

The King’s Speech provides many great examples of DoF and Tic-Tac-Toe framing. Watch the movie, if you can, for both. Then, try this technique with your next business social video using an interview style.

It is easier if you have two video’s recording at the same time.

  • Have each video focused on one participant.
  • Frame close ups with each participant on one vertical line (left or right).
  • Position the camera to record diagonal to the person being recorded.
  • Keep both cameras on the same side (180 rule).

Let the interview be with one of your best customers, a business partner, employee, or anyone related to the topic of your video. Just try it. It’s digital. Even if you do not use it, you will learn a great deal about staging, close ups, and depth of field.


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How to make your video resume using an interview style

Infographic on how Social Media are being used...

Image via Wikipedia

It’s just about that time of year when everyone comes up with their 2012 goals. One of which is changing jobs…or finding one.

I noticed a change during the summer of 2011. The breadth of skills required included “Social Media” for every job description. Gosh, I even saw a job posting saying you must have at least a specific Klout score! And that wasn’t even for a marketing type job.

Think about what social media illustrates:

  1. Your ability to communicate effectively (140 characters).
  2. Your ability to attract followers (are you a leader with great ideas).
  3. Your ability to engage others (can you communicate with those not like you).

Now, what better way to illustrate these qualities than with a video resume. It shows your ability to communicate effectively, your passion, and your ability to engage an audience. I’ve discussed different type of “Video Resumes” in Your Video Playbook. Below is an example of an “Interview-style video resume”. This type of video requires a little planning, scripting and preparation.

  1. What is the type of position you want (if it is a manager type position, you need to convey your ability to manage)?
  2. What would be an interviewers objection with hiring you (if you changed careers, you will need to build a bridge between the two careers)?
  3. How can you illustrate your friendliness (people want to work with friendly people)?
  4. What skills do you have and want to stress (itemize three)?
  5. What are you passionate about (people connect through emotion before analytical thinking)?

Once you have thought the above questions through, find someone who could act as a great interviewer on camera. I asked a colleague of mine. Kevin Thompson is a career coach for Inspired Communications. He has known me for several years. We even competed against each other on the speaker circuit. Kevin and I are in the same Mastermind Group so he watched my transition to being a Video Strategist. Kevin was a great person to act as an interviewer who would ask me questions to make me look my best.

Find your Kevin Thompson! Someone who really wants to see you succeed. Someone who can talk to a camera.

Discuss what you need to convey with your interviewer. If he or she knows you well, ask for what qualities (good ones) come to mind first. Allow him or her to express those qualities as an opening.

EVERYONE Googles you before the interview. Your Klout score may not matter but your Google Juice will. With the hundreds of individuals submitting a paper resume for the same job, why not send a Video Resume. Passion and friendliness does not come across in a paper version. Passion and freindliness CONNECTS through video. Just keep it short, to the point, and most importantly…friendly and engaging. Get help…creating a video resume that looks like a geek on a WebCam will do more harm than good.



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6 Lessons learned using two cheap camcorders for a shoot

ZI8 v. Playtouch

Image by via Flickr

It’s interesting. Our phones and point-n-shoot camcorders are getting better and better quality. The problem occurs when you are using a two camera shoot with different manufactured camcorders.

A colleague of mine, Kevin Thompson and I decided to create a quick video that would support both our businesses. Kevin helps many people uncover their strengths and passion to formulate a new career. Well, I was a perfect case study. I wanted to try a 2-camera shoot using different camcorders as an example for a post just like this one. Kevin had a original Flip & I had my Kodak zi8. We had a 1/2 hour window in a conference room where he was to present that evening.

We both came with a tripod and our point-n-shoot camcorder. That was all that was in common and thus…these six lessons learned:

  1. Make sure your tripods and camcorders are set at the same level. You may not be able to edit to have the same angle. Make sure one isn’t pointed up your nose and the other down. Try to have both camcorders pointing at the same eye level (even if one person is taller than the other). This actually has nothing to do with the quality of the camcorder. This is all about setting the stage.
  2. Remember the 180-degree rule. Both camcorders need to be on the same side…one pointed more at one person and the other one pointed at the other person. Make sure both camcorders have both of you within shot. Again, this applies to any type of camcorder. Even the best camcorder can cut off someone’s head or shoulder. Take a 3 second test before the full take.
  3. Every manufacturer has a different color recording method.  The Flip cast a bluer hue than the Kodak. During the editing phase, it was complicated trying to get the background (in this case the white wall) to look the same. It’s bad enough when the lighting changes. Playing with color balances requires a more sophisticated video editing software.
  4. Record both camcorders at the same definition. Kevin recorded his at standard definition, I at high definition. When creating the video, you need to render at the highest quality and the right aspect ratio to avoid the black lines on the sides. If at all possible, record at high-definition…720p at least. Unfortunately, the Flip was older and didn’t have high-definition.
  5. Use a separate audio recorder. They have better sound quality than the point-n-shoot camcorders. Having a separate audio file will save you time by using ONE audio file and two video files. Remember to clap a second or two before you start the interview. It’s a great “marker” when you are aligning (syncing) all three files.
  6. Know what you want to say and the objectives for both your needs. Kevin and I discussed our hopes for the video and how we hope to use them before starting the camera. Kevin knew what questions to ask to promote my “purple cow” skills. I knew to give Kevin the credit he deserves.

OK, here is the video Kevin & I created with one take. It’s a great social video … using two cheap camcorders:

What do you think? What has been your experience using a two camcorder shoot with point-n-shoot camcorders? We want to know. Leave a comment below.

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