The Video-Making Mindset

A framework to quickly and consistently make videos for your business


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by Zach Wolfson in Blog, Start Small with Video
August 24, 2015 12 comments

Deciding to make videos for your business is a really exciting step to take. You know they’ll help personalize your relationship with your audience online. But it’s hard to make videos consistently for a number of reasons.

As with any creative discipline, you have to navigate the technical learning curve when learning how to make videos – writing scripts, lighting, good sound, framing shots, editing footage, etc.

All of these mechanics may feel intimidating, but don’t worry, we’ll get into the technical side of it soon enough.

Before we focus on any of the mechanics of video making, you need to get in a good headspace, and for that I want to share what I like to call The Video-Making Mindset.

The Video-Making Mindset is a simple framework that you can use to quickly and consistently make videos you’re proud to share and your audience loves to watch.

And it all starts with planning: Making great videos takes some time upfront to pre-visualize them before actually filming anything.

In the past when I haven’t planned my own videos, I’ve ended up taking a shotgun approach: Grabbing shots of a little bit of everything, and thinking that I’d figure it out while editing. This approach works for some, but for me it led to inconsistency. And more than anything it made for a really frustrating editing process.

Editing a video is hard enough – from managing the media to the software workflow – so save yourself time and prevent frustrations by getting into a prepared mindset before you even hit record. I’ll show you this simple framework that you can refer back to, so every time you’re making a video you’ll know exactly where to start and how to plan it.


1. Think of your audience first.

At first this might feel counter-intuitive since you’re making videos about yourself and your business, right?

Yes, your videos are about you but always make them serve your audience first.

At their core, your videos always need to bring value to your audience. Your viewers need to know what’s in it for them before they start to care about you and what you have to offer them. So put your audience first.

2. Make a habit of collecting video ideas.

Don’t wait until you want to make a video to brainstorm video ideas.

Keep a notebook – analog or digital – so you have one consistent spot where you collect your video ideas. It doesn’t matter what you use as long as you’re consistent with how you use it.

It took me a while to find a system that fit my writing approach, but eventually I landed on Evernote for all of my writing. It’s simple and a relatively distraction-free app, plus it’s easy for me to find my ideas no matter how much time has passed since I wrote it down. And that’s super important to be able to find them easily later.

No matter what you land on using to collect your video ideas, whether its an app on your iPhone or a notebook in your bag, make it really easy for you to use it.

3. Strive for perfection but embrace excellence so you can get your videos out there.

All my life I’ve struggled with my relationship with perfection in everything that I make and share with others. After collaborating with many like-minded creatives on Beyond the Gallery, I believe it’s a common trait among us who pursue excellence in our creative disciplines. And making videos is no different.

Here’s the thing: Being a perfectionist is okay.

That’s not a common belief, but here’s why I believe it’s okay: It means that you care about what you’re doing.

You care about the work. You care about who you’re serving. You care about yourself enough that you want what you’re doing to be its absolute best. And that’s important. It’s valuable.

But don’t get so hung up on making it perfect that you never finish it and share it. Strive for perfection, but don’t let it get in your way and prevent you from sharing videos that are still excellent.

4. Shorter videos are faster and easier – for you to make and for your audience to watch.

You have way more things to do in your business than just make videos for your audience. Respect yourself and your audience by focusing on making shorter videos, at least in the beginning.

Your short videos will be much easier for you to make, plus your audience will appreciate that you’re respecting their time by giving them the choice to watch more short videos if they want to. This also sets you up to successfully deliver videos for your audience with a more consistent schedule and quality.

5. To get over the fear of being on camera: Practice.

Being on camera is hard. It hasn’t come naturally to me. I’ve had to work at it, and continue to.

Before we started filming season three of Beyond the Gallery, I knew that I was going to be on camera way more than usual, and I wanted to actually feel comfortable doing it. So I decided to practice.

I challenged myself to talk to my camera every day – at least 3 times a day – for 5 days. And I just did it on my iPhone. It was nothing fancy. Essentially I vlogged (or video blogged) a daily journal of my life for a week.

I had one goal: To feel more comfortable talking to a lens.

Did it work? Yes, and noticeably well. Over the week of vlogging and editing the footage, I started to notice little nuances in the way I talk and how I share ideas conversationally on camera. By the end of practicing, I felt a greater awareness of myself and, in a way, how others see me.

Talking to a camera is something I continue to work on, and I encourage you to try it yourself. You may even find that you grow to enjoy it, and if not for anything else, for posterity sake. You don’t have to share your practice vlogs publicly, of course, but sharing just one with someone for their first impressions will help you improve faster.

Consider vlogging to be like the video equivalent of a snapshot: It doesn’t need to be polished; it’s simply a collection of interesting moments from your day, and captured by you.

6. Unlock your videos’ secret powers with a plan.

When you separate the planning and making stages for your videos, you’ll know what you want from the start and still have space to play while you’re making them, too.

The secret power within your videos’ structure comes out when you have a path that you can follow in the making stage. Run with the plan that you made and you’ll feel confident to play with new ideas, too.


Remember that adage, “measure twice, cut once”? This applies to planning videos that you can make consistently. Plan ahead for the videos you’ll make, and you’ll set your future self up to succeed at doing it.

To get your video-making gears turning, consider studying these successful Instagrammers to see what’s working for them. Each of the images are clickable, fifteen-second Instagram videos:

Eric Landon, potter –

Shaping the neck of a bottle in two ‘simple’ steps.

A video posted by Tortus Copenhagen (@tortus_copenhagen) on


Megan Burtt, singer/songwriter –


#cdrelease #thebargain See you on the 29th! Tix @ A video posted by Megan Burtt (@meganburtt) on


Jeff Bosley, actor –


Jennifer Beaudet, painter –


Bob Clagett, maker –


But what about video quality with filming, lighting, sound, editing and… the fear of being on camera?

Yes, they’re all important, but only when you put your audience first and make your videos valuable for them.

Your audience will accept the video quality and embrace the content because it’s actually valuable to them. If the content of the video isn’t valuable in your audience’s eyes, no equipment, software or techniques could keep them engaged.

Whether you’re making videos to entertain, inspire or teach, providing valuable content for your audience comes first. After that great visuals, sound and your comfort on camera will give you an edge and make your videos even better.

Join me in getting into The Video-Making Mindset and start planning your next great video for your business.


  1. Collect a bunch of video ideas – every week, ask yourself, “What am I working on that my target audience might find interesting or helpful?”
  2. Filter your video ideas to find the best ones – ask yourself, “Does my audience care about this? Is this valuable for them?”
  3. Choose two of your best video ideas – make a short outline for each one so you can pre-visualize what you’d like to include.
  • This was an inspiring post Zach, I will continue following this. I have one question though. What added equipment do I need to add a Sony FDR-AX100 4K (HDMI) as my main camera to work on my Dell laptop Latitude E6540 . I want to be able to do some live streaming from on site commissions as well as interviews with other creatives. ( I don’t have the Thunderbolt slots ) Everything I have read and seen is complicated and overwhelming. I just need a simple list of what I need that’s it, and no one has done that yet. Can you help me with this?

    • zachwolfson

      @arthurmorehead:disqus thanks Art – I’m glad to hear this post is useful for you, and I’m excited to hear about what new videos you’re planning to make, too! What all do you have in mind?

      I think I can help you with your gear questions. I remember when we chatted about camera gear before, we landed on the AX100 being a fit for you at your studio. There are more factors to consider for live streaming on location. Before you invest in more gear, I can’t recommend enough that you start small with it and try regularly doing live streams first to make sure you actually enjoy doing them. When you’re creating content yourself (on top of everything else you’re doing in your business), the gear can quickly get in the way of actually making/sharing the content and building relationships with your audience. Try out Periscope (, which is Twitter’s new live video platform. All you need is your smart phone and the Periscope app to start, which would also lend itself to you streaming at on site commissions. There’s a ton of potential there now since not many people are creating content on it yet, too. If you find you like it, then start upgrading bits of gear, like an external battery pack for your smartphone, an external lavalier microphone and a tripod.

      • Thanks for such a quick response Zach and I will take a look at the twitter (periscope) platform. However it is the Google+ HOA I am wanting to use along with the Youtube ability to record the live version and streaming.
        I have made up my mind that this is what I want to do as I have been involved with editing and producing DVD’s (instructional) and know the gauntlet so to speak. I am not one who has just started doing this. I have already started investing in the things I need such as the lighting and tripods and such and know about the lavalier mics etc. The things I am not sure about are the camera set up. I know about the Blackmagic mini recorders and how they work, but they are for the Thunderbolt connections and I have a windows 7 system that only has the 3.0 USB ports. I know there is some expense to what I need to do. I am the kind of person that just needs to be told what to buy to make it work. I am not trying to build a huge broadcasting station. I am just wanting to be mobile for in and out of the studio and embed it on my website. Like you said I can build on the rest of it as I go as I do know it could get into the tens of thousands of dollars and Ii don’t need that. I just need it to be effective quality (because of the art) for a low cost. Someone should write an Ebook on this, 😉

        • zachwolfson

          @arthurmorehead:disqus – you’re welcome, Art. 🙂 Give Periscope at shot, at least as a viewer to see if it might be a fit for you to try streaming on. Just a heads up – you can record your Periscope streams to save for later. Many ‘Scopers are packaging and uploading them to their YouTube channels, as well.

          I understand that your focus is on Google+ Hangouts On Air, and that you have more experience having made instructional videos before. That’s fantastic. If you already have a good size audience on G+ and YouTube, it likely makes sense for you to continue there. Google/YouTube announced in July that they’re rolling out separating G+ and YouTube, just FYI as you move forward (announced here: Ultimately it all comes down to your goals and vision for how the videos will serve your audience, and serve your business.

          If you move forward with the AX100 (or another 4K resolution camera) you’ll need to build out your gear to essentially build a mini-broadcast setup in order to deliver the content seamlessly for your viewers. It could get expensive, fast, especially for 4K. Camera, capture card, laptop, streaming software, harddrives…I’m probably already bringing up things here you’ve already thought about. And don’t forget a WiFi hotspot + data subscription for on location broadcasts.

          Let’s dig more into the content you want to make, and that should help me give you more specific guidance on gear as well.

          *What are you visualizing will be your filming setup, the majority of the time?
          *What will the live streams be like for your audience?
          *Are you answering viewers questions? Showing techniques? Just giving a “fly on the wall” perspective as you’re working on a piece?

          Get as specific as possible so I can pre-visualize this with you and send you to specific tools and resources to pull it off.

          • Thanks again Zach, basically to start out, I want to use HOA and Youtube do a live show from my art studio to begin with and have the capability to switch camera angles. I already have the webcams Logitech 920 and they work fine, but I need the quality of a third camera which is my Sony HD 4K that I can run at the 1080p and the (60fps) for the closer angles to pick up the detail work.
            I know you can get this done using the Mac Air and apple Iphones, Ipad

            etc. I know i need the Black magic mini recorder for the compression needed for the camcorder (costs “137.00”) but the issue is I am running a Dell Latitude E6540 windows 7 system with 3.0 USB ports and the BM box has the Thunderbolt ports which does not work with the 3.0 USB. My pro camera has the HDMI and WiFi and am good with the audio connections. However I don’t want to have to buy the Mac because of the Thunderbolt port compatibility and am trying to find a way to run it to the windows 7 system. I have tried running the HDMI camcorder connection directly to the Dell but nothing happens. These components alone will make me mobile enough and still be able to use the Youtube and HOA whether I am in the studio or if I am mobile. The rest of it will come later when Comcast starts streaming in 2016 which will bring the costs way down on broadcasting. Twitter is a cool concept I agree and I did look at Periscope but one thing I don’t do is jump from midship to midship because of one appears to be better than the other This only confuses the goal and you never get anything done that way. All I want to do is get this up and running THEN make changes if needed Learning and succeeding comes from completing your goals one by one and not by jumping from one to another without completing the first. If I had my way I would just write someone a check and tell them to do it by this date. However there is no one in my area that knows how to do want I want to do as it has not been done yet 😉

          • zachwolfson

            @arthurmorehead:disqus – you’re welcome, Art! Blackmagicdesign makes some fantastic hardware, so you’re definitely on a great path using their products.

            That’s great that you already have the Logitech C920’s, and it sounds like you already have a Sony HD 4k camera which is excellent. The WiFi that’s built into it is likely for wirelessly saving clips, not for live streaming just FYI. And the HDMI plug on your Dell laptop is likely only an output for it, not an input, so that’s why when you plug your camera’s HDMI output into it nothing happens.

            Based on what you mentioned, I don’t think the mini recorders would work as well for your needs. The specific Blackmagic products that I’d recommend for you are between two models: the Intensity (for USB 3.0), or the UltraStudio Pro. I’d suggest the Intensity first because it’s the more compact of the two (for on-location use) plus it’s exactly what you need for the gear that you have now. Both will play very well with whatever streaming software you’re using to integrate with YouTube/G+ HOA. The UltraStudio Pro is probably overkill, but it is more expandable with its breakout cable. There’s a large price difference between the two because of that, as well ($200 vs $900). Compare the two and see what makes sense for your goals. Here are links to each and specs:

            BMD Intensity USB3:
            BMD UltraStudio Pro:

            If you have any follow up questions, let me know. And if you’d like me to give you more in-depth support and coaching, I’m happy to offer you one of my video coaching packages which you and I can customize to fit your unique needs and goals. Thanks Art.

          • Thanks Zach Now were talking shop!! thanks for the advice as I was all set to do just the opposite and that would have been money wasted for sure. The cameras WiFi I was also doubting from what I was reading about it on the “Live Stream” site. Of course their studio software looks great but I’m not sure if the 795.00 is the right way to go either but that can come later as I know I can get the basic stuff to get me up and running on the HOA/YouTube for now. Let me know about the video packages as I surely would be interested in that

          • zachwolfson

            @arthurmorehead:disqus – I’m happy to help, Art! Glad the gear suggestions are helpful. It took a bit of digging and research to make sure that those to would suit your needs. For software is very possible YouTube’s built-in live streaming suite will work for now. Also, check out Telestream’s Wirecast for a multi-cam broadcast software – it’s super handy, plus it plays very well with YouTube. Link to Wirecast info:

            I’ll follow up with you by email about the video coaching packages and we can see if one of them is a good fit for you and what you want to do coming up. Thanks Art!

          • Thanks again Zach, I think for now I will go with the Intensity and double check my port usability as the ports still don’t look the same. I don’t know why this is so difficult to accomplish or maybe I am overthinking this but it seems like it’s a simple thing to do Anyway I believe I have looked at Telestream but will look at it again

          • Zach, just to let you know after further research phone calls to B&H Online I found out that the Black Magic Device would not work with the Dell mother boards. Instead due the upgrades that have been made the device to use was the Magewell USB Capture HDMI was the way to go. However the cost was quite a bit more but ended up worth every penny as now I can run my Sony ProCam as a webcam and it’s working beautifully without even having to load any new drivers. But like I said it was costly at $299.00

          • zachwolfson

            @arthurmorehead:disqus thanks for the update, Art. Great to hear you got things sorted with the folks at B&H. They’re a solid resource. Sounds like the Magewell will be a solid investment for you moving forward. I’ll follow up with you soon to see if I can be of any further support too.

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