When you start working online, your skillset will have to broaden with workout video shooting and editing knowledge.
It might seem complicated and overwhelming in the beginning, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Prepare yourself to practice and exercise in front of the cameras and pretend that the camera is your client.
For everything else, here are 6+ workout video tips that will raise your video quality to the next level.
Planning, planning, planning
This phase is the most important one.
When you decide what you want to shoot in your workout video and how then you’ll know what kind of equipment you will need, how much time it will take you to finish shooting, etc.
Of course, in the beginning, everything will last much longer. So, give yourself enough time to take several takes until you learn what works for you and what doesn’t.
Ask for feedback from your friends and colleagues and be open to making changes.
Plan the workouts you want to include in the video and think about them visually. From what angle should you shoot every single exercise? How much do you need to explain the workouts?
Your clients only have your videos to rely on, meaning that you need to explain exercises in a way they will understand them and shoot the workouts in a way clients can copy your behavior.
When you figure out the angles for shooting every exercise in your workout video, organize your shooting session according to the camera position. If you are shooting exercise by exercise, you will lose a lot of time adjusting the camera every time you change the angle.
Most of your video will be made out of the frontal angle. When you need to explain an exercise, you will probably need an angle from the side. When you are talking, you will need a close-up – from your shoulders to above.
This means that when you make a mistake, you don’t have to start over. Simply take another take.
How you set up your camera is much more important than how good the camera is.
A simple DSLR camera or your smartphone can shoot perfectly good content for your workout video. Find the one that can at least shoot in full HD. Whatever camera you use, set it up on the highest possible quality.
- If the batteries are charged
- The max recording time
- If you have enough data storage
Whether you have only static shots or camera movement, you will need to eliminate shaking. Use a tripod for static shots and a stabilizer for moving ones.
Always shoot horizontally because many people cast the video on their laptops or TVs.
When you are positioning the camera, make sure that your whole body fits in, even when you are jumping, moving left and right, lifting your hands, etc. The easiest way to do this is to ask someone to help you and check if you are “jumping out” of the frame.
When you are talking (explaining the workouts, motivating your clients, etc.), you will need a more close-up frame, from the mid-chest upwards, with enough space above your head.
Of course, some exercises need different angle frames, so your clients can understand them better. Think about those angles and plan them ahead.
When you are choosing the location of the shooting, make sure to create depth of field, or simply said, depth in the image.
You can do that by creating distance between yourself and the background, especially if the background has various details in it. That way, the background will stay blurred, and you will be in focus.
Successful lighting setup
Right positioning the light sources will make your video soothing and pleasant to the viewer.
Make sure that the video is bright and that it shows your best qualities. You shouldn’t stand directly above or below the light source because it will make some strange-looking shadows on your face and body.
Instead, stand to the side or slightly above the light source.
The proper way to position the light equipment:
- The key light should stand next to the camera, pointed at you a little bit on the side
- Reflector (a piece of white poster board) or fill light (dimmed way down) should stand on the opposite side
- Background light should be behind you, far to the side
If there is some natural light in the room you are shooting your videos, use it as a background light.
If you have fluorescent or high-frequency lighting in your gym, don’t use those. That kind of lighting causes a flickering effect on videos, so they become unwatchable.
In that case, consider investing in some new lights, or renting the lighting equipment.
Too dark or too light clothes can make the video unwatchable, too. Also, don’t wear clothes with stripes or dots.
If you are recording with a phone, the key to successful lighting that will not change is to lock the focus and exposure.
Somewhat different lighting rules apply if you’re shooting workout videos outside.
Even though you might think that a sunny day is perfect for making appealing workout videos, that’s not the case – cloudy days make great diffused light that is even wherever you turn.
Avoid direct sunlight that will make weird shadows on your face.
The best natural light will be after the sunrise (around 7-10 a.m.) or before the sunset (4-7 p.m.). Of course, the timing might vary depending on the time of the year and where you are located.
If you have to shoot in bright sunlight, then try to find shade. You don’t want to squint all the time and draw attention away from the workout.
Use the natural beauty to your advantage – find locations that have gorgeous scenery, like mountains, forest, hiking trail, the beach, etc.
Clear sound setup
Audio will give your workouts the tone – you will need some upbeat sound for a high-intensity workout or some calming sounds for yoga.
You shouldn’t rely on the microphone on your camera because those are usually low-quality pieces of equipment. Also, don’t use the body mic. Since you are moving constantly, it will make some weird noises that you can’t delete in post-production.
Instead, find a quiet spot and use a shotgun microphone, if possible. You can also use a plug-in mic for your phone. Another option is to hang a boom mic above yourself (in that case, make sure that the mic is outside your frame).
The personal trainer should talk to the camera, pretending that’s someone they’re talking to one-on-one.
Adding music to your videos
To add music to your workout videos you’ll need to have the artist’s permission, or a license for commercial use.
The best and safest option is to use subscription licensing services that offer you access to music libraries filled with tracks for you to choose from.
At this point, you already have your video script that you can now follow to make the best of the material you just shot.
You can start with some free editing tools, that are easy to use, where you can simply drag and drop your files, and organize different types of frames into an appealing video.
- Camera (that can, at least, shoot in full HD)
- Stabilizer (optional)
- Wireless microphone/shotgun microphone
- External hard drive (optional)
- External battery (optional)
- Key light source
- Background light
- Reflector/fill light
- Video editing software
…and always remember to take your time and HAVE FUN!