Our Favorite Video Tools

We've tried them all. Here are my favorites.

Some people dislike the very idea of using a teleprompter. Some have a problem with the technology barrier. Some find it inhibiting. Regardless, they still need a way to appear on camera and be perfectly calm, cool and on top of everything.

Here’s a method that’s guaranteed to work for you unless you can’t remember your name, address and phone number.

This video also demonstrates another simple but often-missed audio threshold factor.

This is truly one of the biggest problems people have always had with creating an authority presence using video.

Just not anymore…

Here’s the whole list of Threshold Factors, as mentioned above.

    31 replies to "How to nail your performance without a teleprompter"

    • John Charbonneau

      Love the tip, excellent idea.

      Where did you get the white brick background to use with your green screen?

      • Steven

        Thanks, John. I found the wall at 123rf.com. I like it, too. 🙂

    • Brian

      It’s difficult to take video advice from someone who misuses background music in such an amateurish way. Not only should it have faded out after a few seconds, but it should not have been so loud anyway. I could barely follow the video.

      • Steven

        Diversity of opinion is a wonderful thing…

      • Duane

        Brian, I think your in the wrong place. Your expertise clearly indicates you should give feedback to video producers like CNN and Discovery channel. Visible Authority is for small and medium business owners mostly.
        Thanks.

    • Bill Alpert

      Great, though reading the sheet taped below the camera lens has its own set of problems, yes? At some point I’ll have to know what I’m going to say, at least in 20 second blocks.

      • Steven

        The script below the camera is not to read. It’s just a reminder if you get lost. Actually it’s just a confidence booster. Nearly anyone can get out 40 words without having the script to refer to.

        • Bill Alpert

          OK, I’ll give it a try! Thank for the great tips and very clever use of Chopin’s Minute Waltz. Here’s another take on the piece for your enjoyment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKILwVH_MdM

          • Steven

            Nice. Thanks for sharing! He could actually do the Minute Waltz in a minute.

    • Stephen Holt

      Thanks for the the Pro Audio Threshold Factor tip! That’s saved me a ton of time in editing.

      • Steven

        Thanks, Stephen. Glad you found it helpful.

    • Caryn LeMur

      Steve: I need something like a teleprompter… but way big. My eyes are changing as I grow a bit older.

      Is there a set-up you could recommend for a big screen on tripod (or similar) that would be like a teleprompter?

      • Mark Simko

        Caryn, There are free teleprompter apps for android. There are inexpensive teleprompter attachments for them too. If you have an Android tablet, you can get a teleprompter set up inexpensively.
        Or, if you have to, print your script on card stock. One or two sentences per paragraph. In LARGE print (24 pt).
        Mount the cards as close to the camera as possible with clips. If you can cut a hole and shoot through the card, even better. You’ll be looking at the camera. Just be careful about interfering with the autofocus range.

      • Steven

        Mark has some good advice for you, Caryn. Also, I’ll soon be doing a review of a new teleprompter that may do the trick for you. Perhaps as soon as next week. To back up one thing Mark mentioned, if you are going to have one longer scene, then you will need a through-the-lens prompter. Looking to the side is a non-starter these days.

        • Caryn LeMur

          Mark: thanks for the thoughts!

          Steve: I look forward to the teleprompter review. And yes, looking to the side becomes a mark against professional appearance…. all too true.

    • Mark Simko

      Print your scripts large enough to see them from where you camera is. 14pt won’t do it.
      mount your scripts as close to the camera lens as possible. You don’t want to be looking off screen. It doesn’t look genuine.
      Or, use a teleprompter. They make teleprompter gadgets for iphones and tablets. Or, you can make your own. It’s a glass that reflects the script while you film through the glass reflector.
      Rehearse! Rehearse! Rehearse!
      Record with 2 cameras. Or one camera and one iphone. You can switch between, and it will look more natural for edits.

    • Allison Rapp

      Steve,
      I have to hand it to you again—this is simple and do-able, and your generosity in sharing it is an inspiration.

      • Steven

        Thank you, Allison!

    • Judy Jackson

      Great teaching Steven… loved the use of the waltz with its rhythm and timing to use in the flow of one’s presentation and then the Minute Waltz for your ‘1 minute’ explanation… what a HOOT!… so creative!

      • Steven

        Thank you, Judy! So glad you enjoyed it!

    • Jeanet

      Love it, Steven!
      I’m going to try this while putting on a mindmap under my camera. That gives more fluidity in my speaking.

      • Steven

        Great idea, Jeanet. Get your right brain doing push-ups!

    • Rhonda Abrons

      Great tips! The lighting behind you look like angel wings. Subtle.

      • Steven

        Shhh! 🙂

    • Sheryl Kurland

      You are the one expert who when he says “I make video easy,” you live up to your promise. Awesome info!

      I do have one question…What do you think of holding an iPad or cell phone that has your notes in bullet points and you periodically glance down – to help you remember what you want to talk about. I have seen this done and I’ve tried it. Some people seem to do it very smoothly. What’s your opinion?

      • Steven

        Good question, Sheryl. It’s a different idea, as you would be committing to speak for, say, 5 minutes straight, but I’ve made the suggestion before, so I wouldn’t discount it. The phone would be problematical, since you’d have to scroll to get the information. It might be good for a minute or 2, but not much more. The iPad seems more sensible to me. Less likely to lose your place and sputter out. But note cards and plain old paper work just as well.

        Whichever makes you feel most comfortable is the one you’ll use in the end, though, so if you’re doing this now, I would draw attention to it by saying why you’re using notecards (I don’t want to get lost and start rambling…) then go for it!

    • Hannah Rose

      Struggled with teleprompters in the past, unable to see them without glasses, yet wanting the viewers to have a view of me without glasses cluttering the image. Also attempted to memorize pages of script,and that was panicky, trying to deliver that! So anything that helps is most appreciated!

      • Steven

        This should help a lot, Hannah. And in tomorrow’s episode there’s another alternative that also might help your situation.

        • Caryn LeMur

          Steve, I am with Hannah on the glasses, and on inability to memorize.

          But… I can pre-read a few sentences, and then ‘speak’ those sentences to the camera.

          This would make a lot of jump cuts… even if I did various transitions.

          So, Steve, in your opinion, how long should I speak before saying ‘too many jump cuts’? Is the 20 second rule good for this approach?

          • Steven

            Remember, with today’s HD cameras, you can make a jump cut that doesn’t look like a jump cut, simply by changing the shot size in your editor. So yes, 20 seconds is good. And in the meantime, check out my video on how to do jumpcuts. That’s here:https://www.visibleauthority.com/2014/05/20/jumpcuts/

            • Caryn LeMur

              Love that video on jumpcuts! Super info!

              And thank you for helping me to overcome my obstacles (mental or real).

              I also raced over to the new Teleprompter video! Now, that was amazing to see!

              You continue to be a wonderful teacher! Thank you!

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