If you are intimidated by live video, then I understand exactly how you feel. I struggled for years with fear of creating video, but after finally overcoming my fears, I now enjoy and even have fun creating video, especially Facebook Live videos. I want you to know if I can create live video, you can too.
Getting Started with Facebook Live
Don’t be intimidated by creating live video. It’s an easy form of content because it’s published the moment you finish it and your work is done! Here’s a couple tips for getting through your first couple of videos (even if you are camera shy).
Go Somewhere or Do Something
If your background or activity that you are showing is naturally interesting, you won’t feel as much pressure to talk or be in the entire video.
Pick a topic that you care about
It’s a lot easier to talk on screen, if you are talking about something that you really care about and that the people that are listening to you care about too.
Promote your Facebook Live scheduled date and time to your audience and schedule a guest to come on air with you. The accountability of others knowing if you don’t follow through may be the perfect motivation to finally create video.
Basic Equipment for Facebook Live
It’s commonly said that all you need for Facebook Live is a phone and the Facebook app. While that’s technically true, some basic equipment can boost confidence and improve your video quality.
At minimum, I recommend that you purchase equipment to hold and stabilize your phone while you are taping. You will also want to purchase a microphone if you are taping in noisy environments.
Here are a couple of my favorite options, plus plenty of information to figure out what equipment would best meet your needs. (Note: links below are affiliate links. The author may earn commissions if you purchase the products that she has helped you identify.)
Equipment to help stabilize your phone
Tip: Check to make sure that your equipment has a bracket to hold your phone or that you have a bracket (such as the Beastgrip) to attach your phone.
Beastgrip – The Beastgrip is one of my favorite piece of equipment. It’s a sturdy brace for even large phones that is easy to hold or prop in place. You can mount it to a tripod or handle and attach microphones and other equipment to it. In addition, lens kits are available with the Beastgrip.
Tripod – Tripods work well for videos that are shot in one location. You can find small octopus tripods inexpensively that have short flexible legs. These tripods are perfect for situations where you just need to hold your phone upright on a table or attach your phone to a railing. Full-size tripods are bulky and take up a lot of space, but they do allow you to fully adjust the height of your camera without any other props or equipment.
Monopod – A monopod is a giant, adjustable stick that you can use to stabilize your video. It’s easier to transport than a tripod and it also allows you to move during the video. Most monopods (and full size tripods) will need an additional piece of equipment such as a Beastgrip to attach the phone.
Gimbal – I don’t currently own a gimbal, but it’s a popular choice for videos that involve movement from place to place because it helps stabilize the video. You can even find gimbals with built in microphones and cameras. Gimbals do require extra practice in order to achieve smooth videos.
If you plan on creating videos that require movement, a selfie stick also works well. Just be sure to purchase one that is strong enough to support the weight of your phone.
Microphones can vary greatly in quality and pricing, but there are some relatively inexpensive microphones on the market that are great for starting out.
Tip: Not all audio jacks are the same. Be sure that any microphone you purchase is designed for a phone or you will need an adapter cable to attach it. The adapter cable to attach the iPhone lighting jack to a headphone jack does not always fit tightly. If you notice crackling sounds in your audio, try wrapping a piece of dental floss around the connection to tighten it.
Lavalier Microphone – A simple wired lavalier microphone is inexpensive and works well for videos where only one person is talking and that person is able to stay within the cord’s distance of the phone. You can pass the microphone back and forth for an interview in a pinch.
Rode Video MicMe – This small microphone plugs directly into a phone with an audio jack and does not need an additional mount. It’s sound quality and microphone reach are great for it’s price. It is a directional microphone so it works best for situations where sound only needs to be captured from one direction. I have had issues with this microphone running down cellphone batteries while taping.
Saramonic SmartMixer – I use my Saramonic Smartmixer mounted to my Beastgrip for almost all of my videos. I like that the mixer has two directional microphones, making it possible for me to talk while taping to the person in my video. I also like that the microphone uses a battery back (phantom power) rather than using the battery on my phone. The microphones also are detachable, so they can be replaced with stronger microphones. It also comes with a handle and phone holder so it can be used without additional equipment.
Even though it’s a piece of equipment that I use regularly, I have heard mixed reviews. The microphones that come with the mixer do not have a very good range and the sound quality is fine but not remarkable. I think that it’s worth mentioning since it’s much cheaper than other similar options, but I would advise reading reviews before purchasing.
These microphones are just a couple simple options. You can also find boom microphones with larger range, wireless lavalier microphones, and handheld microphones for interviews.
Beyond this basic equipment, you may also need:
- A selfie ring light, works well for dark environments where you are close to the camera
- For taping outside, a microphone wind muff reduces static noise from the wind.
- You can also purchase a lens for your phone for a wider variety of shots.
Avoid Rookie Mistakes
Here are a couple last tips (most of which I learned the hard way)!
Prepare your copy ahead of time and save it on your phone. I’ve lost my complete copy several times, due to Facebook Live crashing before I hit “go live”.
Set “Do Not Disturb” on your phone (just don’t forget to turn it off after the video).
If your video is showing a place or thing, make sure you keep your video moving. Views will drop off if you spend too much time standing and talking in the same place.
Always check your sound before recording.
Ask your audience questions when you start to encourage engagement. (This also helps you know if your sound is working). Respond to their questions and comments while you are live.
Have fun. I learned that the more I allowed myself to relax and enjoy the video creation, the more my audience engaged. If I can have fun creating video, you can too.
Now go out and try it.