What advice can you give for shooting teaching videos?

Teaching videos are a really important part of PIVOT Yoga Teacher. They are the one thing you can do to most consistently give your students a good technical experience during class.  And the good news is, making a teaching video is not that hard -- or at least, it's way, way easier than shooting a typical yoga video.

Hardware Requirements

  • Any late model smart phone should be plenty good enough for what you need.  You absolutely do not need a fancy camera.
  • A tripod (3 feet high should be enough, about 8 feet away) is a good idea. Failing that, a chair or table and a stack of books.
  • No sound equipment is needed at all.  You can always add a soundtrack later, inside PIVOT Yoga Teacher.
  • Lighting equipment is optional.  If you need to shoot at night, or if your shooting location doesn't have several windows in it, you might want to think about some lighting equipment.   In general, you need a key light (a strong source of light, which is ideally the sun, diffused through a sheer curtain) and possibly a fill light (a diffused LED light, but several lamps can do in a pinch). 
  • Avoid fluorescent lighting. It will cause headaches and it looks awful to boot.

Lighting Tips

  • Technically, the most important thing about your video will be the light. 
  • If there's not enough light, your video will be grainy and fuzzy.
  • Generally, avoid strong shadows.  If you have strong sun, pull your sheer curtains if you have them.  They will act to spread the sun's rays.  You would be surprised how good cloudy days can be shooting.  The clouds act as a giant diffuser for the sun.
  • Try shoot at an angle to the sun if you can't diffuse it completely.  Never directly into it.

Camera Setup

  • Shoot in HD, not 4K, which is a pain to work with.   
  • You can probably leave your phone on its automatic settings otherwise.  We'll handle the rest.

Shot Setup

  • Keep your background neat, but it does not need to be a showplace.  The focus here is the yoga!
  • You only need one camera setup, which is a blessing and a real departure from professional video shoots.  Stick your phone on a tripod about about 4 foot off the ground and shoot towards the sound of the mat, straight on.  That offers the best over all view to the student.
  • Make sure your students can see your face when you're looking at the camera.
  • Position your camera such that important content, including the mat, is inside the red frame shown.    Remember to accommodate both seated and standing poses.  Shooting low to the ground and angled up is a great way to go.  

Recording

  • If your lighting is good, turn your camera on and do your sequence.  Remember, you don't need to speak while you are shooting the sequence.  And don't stress about mistakes.  It may be easier to explain the mistake than it is to edit the video!
  • To start your sequence, try turning your camera on and then walking to your mat from someplace initially out of frame.  It adds interest and it will come in handy later.
  • Avoid turning around on your mat much once the sequence has begun, and make sure to begin all poses that point to the top of the mat facing the same way.  Otherwise, it may confuse some students.

Getting Help

If this all sounds too hard, you have lots of options.

  • Hire a professional.  You can reuse the same teaching video many, many times. So it may be  lot more economical than you think to have a junior photographer come over and help you out.  They can also shoot headshots and other photos for you, which you are probably going to need, too.
  • Borrow a friend's teaching video.  The teaching video doesn't have to be of you, but you should definitely have permission to use somebody's else's.
  • Re-use a video you have on YouTube.  
  • Use a licensed teaching video from us (just contact us and we'll be happy to get one to you.)
  • Use a live model instead.  It's totally possible to do this, though we don't recommend it if you have students wearing PIVOT Yoga clothes.  We use information from the teaching video to help evaluate student performance.
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