Want to make pro fitness videos, but you've got NO idea where to start? It's all good! We hear you!
We spoke to the experts at Controlled Image to pull together all the tips you need to film awesome professional-looking fitness videos.
I need to improve, but I'm a total beginner! Help!
One of the first things to think about is the presentation of the overall scene! Think of where you’re filming like a TV set - think about the colours in the space, what your background might look like, and whether you’ll use any props.
A bit of forethought into what the space will look like will really improve the overall quality of your fitness videos, and will help you come across as the professional you are.
OK! I can do that. But how make sure I capture all the cool moves I'm doing in my fitness content?
This can be tricky! It depends on the exercises you’re doing. Wide shots that can capture your exercises in one take are ideal, but that depends on which exercises you want to film in your fitness videos.
Something like burpees or star jumps could take you out of frame, but push ups or sit ups would keep you largely in the same space.
Try to think about a square of space your head will be occupying in the screen so as long as you’ve got room for your head to move up and down, or from side to side, you’ll be OK.
It might be helpful to lower the camera, think about your eye level, and how you’d like to record the video - either with a voiceover as you demonstrate the exercises, or introducing the exercises in the video as you do them - and make sure you do some test runs first.
Gotcha. So...what do I do about noise?
There are a few things to think about when navigating noise. As with all things video, planning and organisation will help you hugely. If you’re talking during a video, think about investing in a shotgun or clip on microphone (known in the industry as a ‘lavalier mic’ or ‘lav mic’ - you’re welcome!) - we recommend you incorporate this post production, when you’re editing.
Put your detective hat on, and figure out which room is the quietest room in the house, or the space where you’re planning on recording. Then work out what the best time of day is to record. Make sure there are no roadworks, rockets, or big brass bands practising nearby, and try and eliminate background noise. Close the doors in your home, check windows are closed, and that it’s as silent as you can make it, so you’re not interrupted.
Have a think about whether you want to play music whilst you’re working out, or if you want to add it in post-production. We recommend adding it in when you’re editing the video afterwards for more of a professional look and feel - sound quality can be sketchy if you’re recording music as background noise.
What about lighting for my fitness videos?
First things first before filming your fitness videos! Check the forecast - what’s the weather doing? Lots of natural light is ideal, but not so much that you’re over-exposed (let’s avoid the flash-heavy 1990s party pics effect). You want to strike a balance between natural light, harsh light, and too many shadows. Sometimes closing drapes or blinds can be handy to reduce the amount of light.
A bright room is good for filming if you have space, but use what’s available and get creative, and make sure you test in advance - get someone to help you with focus. Too much light?
Try using white sheet over a window to get a diffused effect. Not enough light? Use the same sheet opposite the light source where you’re filming, to amplify and reflect the natural light you do have.
Do you think it's worth investing in a tripod for my phone, or camera?
Yes, yes, yes!
Do yourself a favour, get a tripod! All joking aside, having a tripod is a brilliant way to help your videos look instantly more professional. No more wobbles (we do recommend you check for jiggle if you’re in burpee season when recording, though, and maybe move to a firmer surface, like a windowsill or solid table) - a tripod gives you much more flexibility. You can use it to explore new angles for filming, and flip your smartphone to selfie mode so you can see what you’re doing, too.
Speaking of smartphones...what are the do’s and don’ts of filming on a smartphone?
First up - no filter! Though it’s tempting, you run the risk of looking too cartoonish rather than the professional vibe you want to exude. Other essentials include making sure you’re using full HD mode, and avoid slo-mo where you can, unless it’s vital for demonstrating a movement.
Much like any video, make sure you’ve got the right white balance going on, and that the colour temperature on your recording isn’t either too warm (orange) or too cold (blue). You don’t want people thinking the floor is lava, or you’re recording in a glacier.
And just a last note - selfie cameras, whilst they’re so helpful in showing you what you’re doing, they can often be lower quality than the camera in the ‘back’ of your phone. Check the resolution and go from there.
What other things would you recommend an amateur film maker invest in?
Great lighting really is essential - and you want to control the light as much as you can for consistency when you’re filming. A microphone is also vital if you want to talk during the video - whether you wear one when filming, or you have one set up nearby, it’s worth getting one to help you record, if you don’t plan on doing a voiceover.
Yes, we do know that you have a mic in your phone - but consider your distance from the microphone when you’re recording. It’s likely that all your workout wisdom could go to waste if you’re too far for it to pick up.
What can I do to improve my editing? What software would you recommend for fitness videos?
Editing is essential in making your videos look professional - and there’s a wealth of info and educational resources out there for you to learn from. Start with YouTube - and look up basic editing skills. One of the best ways to learn is to experiment, so make sure you’re trying out what you’ve learned.
As for tools, we thoroughly recommend Adobe (of course!), DaVinci software, or SonyVegas. Both are great and you can see demonstrations of how to use them, again, on YouTube. DaVinci is particularly great as they offer a free version which is useful when you’re getting started.
Adding text to fitness videos is also a great shout so that it’s more accessible. It can also help with rep counts, tabata countdowns, or a reminder of which exercise is being done - especially if the person watching your video is blasting their own death metal soundtrack, and isn’t listening to your savvy instruction.
What are some common mistakes I could try and avoid when filming fitness videos?
The worst mistake to make is thinking you can wing it and get a great result! Not planning your fitness videos from a set up, lighting and sound perspective is a recipe for disaster. Make sure you’re looking at the whole scene - try to think like a director - and test out what you’re doing. Most importantly, have fun. And if it really is beyond you - chat to a professional to see how they can help!
Huge thanks to Controlled Image for their expert advice!
Controlled Image is a film production company specializing in commercials and promotional films. Their team of highly motivated and driven professionals focus on delivering film projects at any level of cost and complexity.
They produce high quality videos and are not afraid of new challenges. Based in Stirling, Central Scotland, Controlled Image are ready to chat through any questions, queries, or projects you might have in mind. Get in touch here or via their Facebook page.