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A Beginner's Guide To Filming Fitness Class Videos Like a Pro

Thursday, August 20, 2020
Attract & Retain Customers

Have you been thinking it would be a good idea to film some on-demand video content for your fitness business, but the thought of it makes you feel overwhelmed?

We get it.

It’s one thing to pop open your laptop for a Zoom class, but filming on-demand instructional videos can make us think of all the celebrity trainers out there with professional camera crews and teams of producers.

Here are a few procrastination-busting tips to help you make the most of your Punchpass on-demand content library and get going with videos your customers will love.

Time and again it’s been proven that people flock to online content that is real, heartfelt and valuable rather than super-polished, high-production value videos that were obviously made with the help of an agency.

Don’t worry about having expensive equipment, a hair and makeup pro, or which tank top to wear. Grab your phone, bring your most authentic self, and remember that your students are craving support and motivation from you right now, however they can get it.

We’ve gathered some basic video-making tips that you can follow – even on a budget – that will have you cranking out beautiful videos in no time, even if you’re filming in your living room.

Planning Content

Taking the time to think through the logistics before you start filming can save you a ton of time. You don’t want technical glitches, or “oh, I hadn’t thought about that” moments to bog you down. Planning ahead, testing out your set up and practicing will also give you a level of comfort and confidence that will come across on camera during the “real deal.”

Choose your format

There are two primary ways to film fitness videos: (1) talking while teaching, or (2) filming yourself doing the moves then recording voice over later and using editing software to add in the audio.

Pick your workout

Select the workout or class that you’ll teach based on how you’ll display and market your content later. Do you want on-demand classes for all-levels, or will you offer your content in categories tiered by ability level, or class type? How many classes do you need to have a wide enough variety for selling an on-demand pass? Will you film one big batch all at once, or start out with just a few classes and add new ones on a weekly basis?

Remember, your Punchpass fitness business software offers you the ability to set classes on a timer with specific start and end dates. This can be very handy if you want to film a large library of classes on shoot day and then set them to deliver to your students one-by-one over time.

What will you need to be mindful of if this class is geared towards beginners (for example)? Will you need to remind them to have certain props available, give extra alignment or detailed instruction, and repeat certain complex moves or poses? It can be helpful to speak to beginners in a more supportive way, and to challenge advanced practitioners and longtime students with a more aggressive style.

Decide how long it will be

Set the length of your class, and make sure you have a clock or timer off-camera and where you can discreetly see it so that you keep your pacing on track.

Enlist a helper

Consider having a partner available to help you film. If you’re filming alone, you’ll want to make sure you have the appropriate equipment (see below).

Think through your opening and closing

In video lingo, this is your intro and outro... and they matter to your audience as much as the workout itself. You'll want to sound authoritative, but friendly and natural. A good way to get there is to take some notes on how you’ll welcome everyone and wrap out afterwards. Practice a few rounds by filming yourself on your phone. Perfection isn’t your goal, comfortability is!

Using the Right Equipment

Getting in front of the camera can be intimidating enough. Add to it having to figure out lights, cameras and microphones, and permanent procrastination is sure to set in. We’ve got some tips on keeping simple so that you can get started with ease.

With a quality, stable tripod, and an app like FilmicPro, you can turn your smartphone into a professional quality film studio. Filmic even offers recommendations on industry-leading microphones for mobile devices. The app allows you to adjust the exposure, filters and balance of your shots, among many other features.

For an even more professional set up without spending a lot of money or having to learn videography, you can get a DSLR camera that shoots video in a range of budgets. Again, with a high quality tripod and microphone, you can make amazing pre-recorded videos for your library. Check out this guide to 2020’s top five DSLR cameras for video, and this handy how-to guide for using your camera to shoot and produce video hosting platform, Wistia.  

Lighting

Light can make a big difference in the quality of your videos. If you can, make use of natural light as much as possible. If you’re filming with your smartphone, there are a ton of clip-on lights for video that won’t break the bank.

There are a ton of “light ring” makers out there that include tripods and phone clips. If you want to go super pro you can get a lighting kit with 3-4 lights on stands with filters. Try to avoid filming with your primary light source being directly overhead, and ever film with light from below. The ideal is to have several light sources set up at angles to the sides and in front and back of yourself. Here’s a helpful lighting set up guide from hosting platform, Wistia.

Sound

Test your audio. This can be one of the trickiest parts of filming. You want to make sure you don’t sound like you’re in an echo chamber. It can be very frustrating to record an entire class and then hear distortions or inaudible moments later when you play it back.

Use a wireless microphone that connects to your phone or camera

If you’re using background music. Be aware of royalty laws and use royalty free playlists.

On-Camera Presence

You’ve probably already got mad skills in motivating and inspiring your students. To shine on camera the trick is to forget that you're filming, treat the camera like it’s an old friend, and have fun! Remember that your audience are your favorite students and they love you!

Look the camera in the eye during the whole class. It helps to imagine that you are talking to a real student.

It’s easy to get overly serious, especially if you’re nervous. Remember to take it easy, relax and let your personality shine through. It’s far better to laugh at yourself for the inevitable goof, and keep on filming, then to come across like a robot or get stressed out by doing a million takes because you’re trying to be perfect.

Editing

It can save time in the long run to keep teaching through blips and mistakes. If you must, or you want to enhance your classes with more sophisticated intro and outro screens, calls to action, or voice over, you can import your video file into some simple editing programs. When you’re done, you simply export your finished video file and upload it to your Punchpass content library.

Easy to learn and use editing software: iMovie and FinalCut Pro X will give you all the functionality you need – and then some – without being a struggle to learn.  
Going entirely mobile? You can even edit your videos in simple fashion right on your smartphone. Here’s a quick guide from Apple.

We can't wait to see what you create!

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