How to Prepare Yourself for Video Podcasting or Live-Streaming

Get yourself ready for video podcasting or live-streaming with these 11 tips!

I have previously talked about the 20 “preflight” things you should do before you start each episode. This content focuses specifically on preparing your body and your voice.

1. Prepare yourself for audio

In the last episode, I shared 13 tips to prepare yourself for audio podcasting:

  1. Drink plenty of water
  2. Be careful what and when you eat
  3. Avoid soda, cream, and alcohol
  4. Get your blood flowing
  5. Use the restroom
  6. Get more water for drinking while recording
  7. Clear your sinuses
  8. Apply lip balm
  9. Warm up your voice
  10. Have something for fidgeting
  11. Clear your mind
  12. Breathe
  13. Have good posture

Because audio is the most important part of video, all of these tips still apply for video podcasting.

2. Get plenty of quality light

Lighting is the second most-important piece to video podcasting or live-streaming video. Good lighting can make even a cheap camera produce great video.

But this isn't about the technical setup of video. For you, the quality of lighting can make the difference between looking like a ghost, having over-exposed “hot spots” on your face, or not being visible at all.

Light for the people in your video. It's usually okay if the background is too dark or too bright (though good lighting back there helps, too). If you have only one light source (even if just diffused sunlight), try to angle it to be slightly to your right or left. This creates shadows that give depth.

3. Over-adjust the temperature

Most podcast studios will sound better if you turn off the heater, air conditioner, and fans. This means you could become a little uncomfortable and that will show in the camera (see the next point). To reduce this, over-adjust your room's temperature: if it's summer, make it cooler than usual; if it's winter, make it warmer than usual. This will give you more time in a zone of comfort.

If you're not comfortable, it will show.

4. Remove sweat or face oil

Stress, lighting, and just the design of our bodies can produce extra skin oil or perspiration. This usually looks horrible in video—wet hair, sweaty palms, moist armpits, or a glossy face.

I always have a handkerchief in my studio for wiping my face. If it wasn't for my beautiful wife, I would have never realized how oily my face gets.

Whether you wipe, dab, blot, or powder, do whatever is necessary for you to remove the extra oil and moisture because these can cause odd glares and make you look sick.

5. Consider makeup

Video cameras and lighting often highlight our skin blemishes—acne, warts, cuts, scars, razor burn, sunburn, and more. I don't suggest that you make yourself up to look pristine. However, these blemishes can sometimes be distracting to viewers.

Like with podcast-editing, consider using makeup just to cover up the distractions—stuff that would be gone in a couple weeks.

Ladies are usually quite used to wearing makeup on a daily basis and are conscious of how they look. But guys tend to care less. There's nothing wrong with having unchangeable “blemishes,” like warts, scars, and such. But do consider at least diminishing the appearance of the temporary blemishes, like acne and burns.

A little makeup can also hide the skin oil, and thus make you look more human in the camera.

Always be careful with tone-matching, because great lighting often makes subtle tone variations more noticeable and splotchy.

6. Check your hair

You hair doesn't have to be perfect, but do make sure it won't be falling in your face, look unkempt, or appear too messy.

Be especially mindful if you have light-colored hair and you're in front of a dark background.

Messy hair can actually cause editing problems if you use a green screen for special effects.

7. Shave

This is primarily for the guys. I know we may not like shaving every day, but you'll need to learn your own body and see yourself on video to know what difference shaving decisions make, especially hair on your neck or chest.

8. Choose your clothing wisely

Cameras aren't designed as well as our eyes are. Cameras are susceptible to several things that can cause strange artifacts or distractions in the recordings based simply on the clothing we wear.

  • Be cautious of fit and style—Your clothing choice could make you look fat, or skinny. Certain clothing may be a bit too formal, too risque, or too casual for your audience or message.
  • Avoid thin stripes and detailed patterns—Small details like this can either be lost by the camera, or cause strange blinks when you move around.
  • Avoid logos—Don't let it look like you're being sponsored or are affiliated with another company if you aren't.
  • Avoid brights, especially reds—The vibrance of some colors can't be captured well and may end up looking sickly. Other colors, like bright reds, can actually cause mental and visual stress.
  • Avoid blending in with the background—Green on green screen and black on a dark background are the worst offenders. These can give you a ghostly floating head.

9. Take breaks and fix yourself as necessary

If you're recording a long video, you may need to take breaks to fix or adjust any of these previous points. It's okay to do that, just ensure you do it frequently enough that the freshened results aren't obvious in the video.

10. Make eye contact with the right people

Video podcasting allows you to communicate with your voice and face directly to viewers. This almost always means you are talking directly to them—more specifically, directly to one person. Just like in face-to-face conversations, you should try to maintain “eye contact.”

If you're a solo video podcaster, look directly into the camera lens as much as possible. If you have a guest or cohost next to you, and you're both talking to the audience, then try to spend more time than feels comfortable looking at the camera instead of at the other person. Look at Rhett & Link's Good Mythical Morning for an example.

If the video podcast is designed to be more like watching multiple people having a conversation, then you and your hosts should be making eye contact with each other while the camera captures from an angle. Look at Michael Hyatt's This Is Your Life for an example.

Here's the key: make eye contact with the person you're primarily talking to: if your audience, look into the camera lens; if your guest or cohost, look into their eyes.

11. Be conscious of the camera

Don't forget that you're on camera! This is especially easy to do when you're live-streaming or video-podcasting with someone else and you're not looking directly into the camera. Over time, you may slouch, look in distracting places, or start doing awkward things with your body.

If you can't see a video monitor from the camera, be extra careful to stay in frame and in focus.

In my episode about preparing yourself for audio, I mentioned having something for fidgeting, but that may not work well in your video.

How do you prepare yourself for video podcasting or live-streaming?

Have you found things that work well for you, or special considerations you have to take? Please comment!

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About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his son live near Cincinnati.
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Joshua Rivers
8 years ago

Thanks for sharing these, Daniel. I haven’t really done much with video, but I’m planning on doing more with it.

Plus, I also love Harry’s razors. I never did a side-by-side test, but I still remember the feeling of that first shave! I started to get used to it and then had to use a different razor, and it reminded me about how much I love that razor! I was travelling at the time and was afraid of leaving it, but now I have two handles so I don’t have to worry about that 🙂

Stuart Mackey
8 years ago

If using a webcam on Mac, I highly recommend the Webcam Settings app, which lets you manually set all your settings for either your built in Apple webcam, or a Logitech or similar model.


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