What can you do with two iPhones and a slice of apple pie at a diner? Well, the iPhone may be a high-tech marvel, but this video is about doing things about as easily as possible. And if you watch closely, then watch again, you’ll see a simple performance hack that can really help you sizzle on camera!   Note: This was shot in an amazingly noisy diner. See if you can spot the 427 mistakes!

    32 replies to "One Hot On-Camera Low-Tech Performance Hack"

    • Mark Harmer

      I love this. You don’t have to have fabulous lighting or fantastic cameras or mics if the overall intention / shape / communication / message / connection (call it what you will) is strong. I know I’d prefer a genuine message that I felt was communicated well, much more than one that was technically perfect but devoid of relevance, content or connection to me as a viewer.

      As someone who’s been obsessive about lighting / cameras / lenses / sound, especially if you’re working on your own, all that stuff can get in the way of the message. Sure, if you have enough people who know what they’re doing it’s great to have beautiful looking and gorgeous sounding video but that’s not the whole story. The message and connection is so important and that’s I think what Steve really “gets” and puts across so well.

      • Steven Washer

        You’ve totally nailed the spirit of what this is all about, Mark! We’re going to re-frame the discussion away from technology and back on you, where it all starts.

    • Julie Weishaar

      Great video – now to package your ease and comfort in front of the video camera and we can all hit home runs 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

      • Steven Washer

        A pleasure, Julie! By the way, the packaging piece will be the subject of the next video.

        • Julie Weishaar

          “Packaging” self confidence and ease? I look forward to that 🙂

    • Mia Sherwood Landau

      You guys are brave. You make me want to be brave, too. I loved this one…

      • Steven Washer

        Mia, I suspect you are plenty brave underneath the myth-making! 😉

    • Tim Liggins

      What did you order? I’m starving!

      • Steven Washer

        Well, I hate to say this, but diner desserts are so disappointing. They look good in the case, but they taste like cardboard.

        Videos can be like that, too. You need to make sure that the gooey center has a real nugget of truth so that your viewers haven’t wasted their time. 🙂

        As for the diner, they do eggs pretty well!

    • Rodney C. Davis

      Just what I needed to hear. I just canned my “audience-attracting video” because despite following all your tips, I realized I had to do do another take. I was coming over as someone even I didn’t really recognize.

      Hey Steve… you guys make a really cool team. She was the missing ingredient.

      • Steven Washer

        I usually do more than one take myself. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. Think of it like your writing. Do you just dash something off and assume it’s great? I suspect that you look at it and then look at again, then make a few changes here and there.

        We did quite a few takes on this video, by the way.

        As for Jaeny being the missing ingredient, I can’t argue with you there! 🙂

    • Jessica Reed

      I recommend that to my clients too! (Minus the cut-out eye. Personally, I find that a little creepy… And for dance instructionals, we’re usually far enough from the camera that posting the photo next to the camera is close enough.) A stuffed animal can also work well.

    • Shama

      Great little video Steve, loved it! Did you actually use mics or was it just the built in iPhone mic? Did you just put a little tripod on the table in front of you?

      • Steven Washer

        No mics in this at all. We did have a tiny tripod on the table.

    • Shama

      Oh, and I didn’t figure out what you meant with the 427 mistake. Any hints?

      • Steven Washer

        Sorry. That was a bit of hyperbole about the many inconsistencies in the audio and picture. And also about how unimportant they were…

    • Francois

      Great example of low tech. There was a time I thought I had to use a green screen. This spring I’ve created a serie of video’s with just a logitech webcam, a lavalier mic and a small whiteboard to illustrate my points. And got positive feedback on this approach which motivated me to create more!

    • Jim Esmeier

      Thanks for the tip. Do you have any ideas for making reading a teleprompter look natural?

      • Steve

        Yes. Lots. You have to practice, get the speed just right, look away every once in awhile, consciously vary your tempo, volume and contrast, use the right sized fonts, be the right distance, look in the right place and more. It would take a little while to get into all the specifics.

        Maybe that’s a good topic for another day…

        • Jim Esmeier

          Thanks. Those are good ideas to get me started.

    • Rebecca Johnson

      Great tip! Thanks.

    • J Bushnell

      Great low tech video Steven! A ‘hidden tip’ within that video was that having a second person on screen for support or to interview adds both interest and credibility.

    • Mark Schellhammer

      So you shot all of these vid’s with only your iphone? no special lighting, no special mic’s?

      • Steve

        Yep. That’s correct. No lighting and no mics. Just what we know about using available light and shadow…

    • Dave

      Love it! Thanks! PS Are you going to VidCon?

      • Steve

        I doubt it. We’re more about helping business owners than in building an entertainment empire. 🙂

    • Tina

      Steve you are so amazing! Wow! I have been super busy this month and saved this video to watch when I could take a break. I’m so happy I did! You make everything seem so simple that even *I* am encouraged to give it a go. Looking forward to the next one!

      Thanks again ~Tina

      • Steven Washer

        Super! If you liked this one, you’ll appreciate the shockingly easy techniques you’ll get from the next one. 🙂


    • David Cunningham

      Great video, hard to believe it is shot with an iPhone. But this just goes to show what you can do if you have the knowledge yo do it with. Thanks for sharing. Also, I just wrote an article on my blog about the anatomy of video blogging and I refrenced this video in it and linked back to it, just wanted to let you know.

      • Steve

        Thanks, David! It’s cool to link back to your blog here. The more info the merrier! 🙂

    • Stuart O'Neill

      Steve, thanks for a good instruction. Do I assume correctly that you see no difference between using Android v iPhone?

      Secondly, when using a two camera shot are using #2 to focus on the Your con shots and a reaction shots. I.E. One wife angle and one dirextked. But that opens another issue in how you get your own head shot segments.

      Did you have a third person behind one of the cams? Struggling with the issue myself. I using Sony Vegas Pro (basic) for editing. You could use segments from each take, I guess.

      Thoughts. (I know this late in the game for this post but I hope not too late.)

      Stuart O’Neill

      • Steven Washer

        Hi Stuart! One of the great things about the camera phone is the ability to compose the shot in real time. So I just set the camera on a Joby stand and watched myself making faces into it. That was the b-roll camera. So no, we didn’t need another person on camera. Of course, it helps that you’re not moving around. 🙂

        This should work equally well for an iPhone or an Android.

        Editing is mandatory for a shoot like this because you’ll always do several takes and you need the shots to line up properly.

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