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Don’t be Camera Shy: Record choreography for better class prep

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Want to improve your teaching skills, grow your classes, and spend LESS time prepping?  Then grab your phone and start taking VIDEO!

As a fitness professional, program developer and entrepreneur, I’ve been teaching group ex classes for 25 years. But 5 years ago I started doing something that completely changed the way I teach. I thought I was good, a seasoned instructor leading multiple formats but what I learned was shocking!


The Video Discovery

In 2010 I got my first flip video camera.  At first I thought it would be cool to tape my classes and post some of the clips on social media. Not a lot of people were on youtube and facebook at the time so I thought it would be a great way to promote my classes and hopefully grow my clientele.  Now that did happen but something even better came as a result. I started noticing some teaching “crutches” and bad habits after viewing footage from my classes.  I discovered the camera to be a great way to evaluate and improve my teaching skills.

Creating a Video Library

Over time, I was able to build a great library of my choreography just from filming. I don’t know if you are anything like me and have a ‘choreography or exercise notebook of class plans’. I used to keep a binder and write down all my class plans, routines, and exercise progressions so I could refer back to them later.

That binder has tons of step combos, dance routines, exercise sequences and more. But when I actually referred back to my notes nothing made sense, it was all gibberish. So I have found video to be an easier, quicker and much more effective way of cataloging my material.

I now have close to a thousand dance and barre videos at my disposal. I may have forgotten the routine I created for an old Beyonce song from a few years ago but a quick view of the video and it all comes back to me. My videos have been amazing refreshers for me and time savers when it comes to class preparation. What used to take hours instead takes minutes.

How to create videos

The Video Camera

You don’t need any expensive equipment. Just grab your phone. Did you know that most of the newer phones have cameras just as good as expensive DSLR cameras? Its just the lense that is different and you can buy a lense that goes on your phone too!

Check your settings

  • Go to settings
  • Select the Photo and camera tab
  • Scroll down to record video
  • Make sure it's set to 1080p HD at 6 fps

Then use your forward facing camera or if you have someone that can check that you are in frame throughout your video you can use the back camera. I wouldn’t want you to make the same mistake I made with tons of my flip videos where I was not in frame or cut off for my classes!

If you want quality videos be sure to secure your phone by using a tripod and/or a mount. I have found many inexpensive ones, including my favorites:

It’s vital to make sure your phone is steady so your videos are not wobbly. If you are taping live classes you can also add an olloclip to give you a wider recording.

Press Record

Now that you are set up just press record!

Edit your Videos

The next step will be editing your videos. Even if you plan on just using them for your own choreography library, you will want to trim the beginning and end for shorter and cleaner viewing later.

Great editing apps:

  • My favorites apps to use right now are iMovie and Videohance. Both are great for chopping off the beginning and end in addition to editing throughout your video.
  • PicPlayPost is another one that I enjoy for promotional videos.
  • Animoto
  • Ripl
  • Capture is great when filming a video that you want to directly upload to youtube in less time.
  • A brand new platform/app is Adobe Spark. I am just starting to use this and will have an update on my facebook page soon.

Adobe Spark Post and Adobe Spark Video are likely going to be my go to apps for pics and video on social media.

Storing your video

So now you have your videos edited, what to do with them?

First, I suggest storing them on dropbox. Video files are large and you are going to quickly run out of storage on your phone even when you have a newer phone. So I encourage you to get dropbox and store your videos once edited.

Then you can upload them so you can access them online from any device, tablet or computer.

You can use YouTube, vimeo, wistia or Amazon S3 cloud. If you use the cloud then you don’t have to use something like dropbox to store since that stores as well as gives you the ability to view the videos. But I always like lots of backups since I have a huge library.

Start Filming!

So get out there and start filming! Use video for self-evaluation, a way to catalog your choreography as well as share clips on social media.

If you have more questions about anything I mentioned here please let me know in the comments below. I’d be happy to answer your questions or possibly make a follow-up video for you!  Oh, and follow me on social media to see some of the videos I’ve made!

1 Comment

  1. Christine Gallagher

    Brand new app that I am loving now: Vont
    You can still edit using imovie but you have limited text overlay abilities with imovie so after editing your clip using imovie (or videohance, splice or picplaypost) you can then open up your video in Vont and you have so many more options. My advice – pay the $6 for the three $1.99 upgrades – so worth it. I’ll have a tutorial on how to use the app and a few more apps i love on my facebook this week – www.facebook.com/christinedefilippis

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Where You Lead, Will I Follow? - 4 Tips for Every Group Fitness Instructor | GXunited - […] sure how this might work? Try recording yourself teaching and then listen to the playback with your eyes closed.…
  2. Where You Lead, Will I Follow? - 4 Tips for Every Group Fitness Instructor - GXunited - […] sure how this might work? Try recording yourself teaching and then listen to the playback with your eyes closed.…

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