Virtual Class 101: 5 Steps to Nail Your First Virtual Class

January 26, 2021

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Thousands of industries are transitioning to a more online focused strategy, employing live virtual platforms such as Twitch, Zoom, Instagram and Facebook live. This new form of delivery requires a variety of new skills in order to be executed professionally. Our goal at azingo is to make this transition as easy as possible, rolling all the essentials into one seamless platform. We offer a complete suite of backend resources, so you can focus solely on your content.

Today, we’d like to help you in the right direction, focusing on the 5 most important aspects of teaching a virtual class. Whether you’re a cook, fitness instructor, math tutor or hosting webinars, we’re sure that this information will offer answers to questions you might not have even had!  
Before diving in, don’t feel the need to create Hollywood level content. Your customers aren’t looking for the best of the best. The goal is simply to create content that is professional, fun and easily digestible. Keep your focus on your favorite yoga poses, but make sure they look good on film!

1. Equipment: Lighting, Microphone and Camera

Lighting is by far the most important part of any virtual class. Good lighting makes the difference between an amateur and a professional virtual class. Although you may think your audience won’t be able to tell the difference, subconsciously, they can, and they will!

The goal of good lighting is to fully illuminate your subject, YOU! Natural light is always best. If possible, situate your set opposite a window. But ambient light isn’t always as consistent as we’d like it to be. This is why it is important to have multiple types of lighting.

The cheapest lighting setup simply consists of a ring light. But for under $100 on Amazon, you can pick up two soft box lights. These are the best bang for your buck. Setting up these two soft boxes behind the camera, on a 45-degree angle from yourself offers a very high quality lighting setup for cheap!

Good clear audio is the next step in hosting a high quality virtual class. A simple shotgun style microphone (like these) are a great start and will offer all you need for a long time. Further along in your adventure, you might want to explore solutions like boom mics, lavalier microphones or a high quality mic such as the blue yeti & its competitors.

Luckily, you probably have an amazing camera in your pocket! Unless you’re really upping your  game, there’s no need to buy a camera. Your phone when paired with good lighting and a microphone, will pump out some superb quality content for years to come! But an iPhone paired with a dimly lit studio will not perform as desired, so focus on that lighting setup! Azingo makes it easy for you, hosting an entire business right in your pocket. We are firm believers that your phone is all you need!

Want to know more?? We have written a whole blog just on your gear! Here's a link!

2. Location and Background

Imagine your background as your virtual studio. Although it’s important that it is not too distracting, it is a great place to show off some personality.

Avoiding distractions in a background does not mean it should be boring, but visually appealing and complimentary to your class. Your two main options are to find a (mostly) empty wall to film in front of or purchase a dedicated backdrop. When dealing with a backdrop, you should add some sort of decoration to break up the flat color.  

When deciding on your background, a great starting point is to think bright and light. Stay away from darker and gloomier colors. These take away from you as the subject and can distract viewers.

When creating your set, keep lighting in mind. If possible, a set across from a window can be hugely beneficial to your lighting when filming during the day. If you’re primarily someone who runs their classes at night, this is less important.  

3. Music

Before streaming any music, make sure to check with your local copyright laws; ensuring your use of the music is by the book and legal.

Especially for fitness classes, music can be key! We recommend you avoid playing music through your own speakers as this greatly reduces the audio quality and is simply unprofessional.  

One good way to offer synced music is to share a playlist on YouTube, Spotify or Apple Music with your patrons before the class, then once you start, have the group all press play at the same time. We recommend YouTube playlists as Apple Music is subscription only and the free version of Spotify comes with ads which would de-sync some viewers’ music.  

Zoom offers a great feature: “Share computer audio” this allows you to stream your music directly to your audience, in high quality! We’ll be posting a blog soon on how to do this easily.

4. Outfit

When choosing your outfit, keep these three easy points in mind. Color, Patterns and Branding.

Try not to blend in with your background. Keep your viewers engaged by wearing clothing that contrasts with your background. Darker clothing with a light background is the best way to achieve this contrast.  

Subtle, stylish patterns are not a cardinal sin, but avoid heavy patterns that may distract the audience from what’s important.  

Creating a consistent brand image is important, and one of the easiest ways to water this image down, is by promoting other’s brands while in the spotlight. Avoid large, distracting logos. This includes most graphic T’s. Instead of promoting LuluLemon and Nike, promote your own merchandise!

If you’re already selling your own merchandise, wearing it during classes is a great way to subtly promote your product. Consistently wearing your own product is a great way to keep your merchandise at the top of your audience’s mind.  

5. Audience

We love to see you in your element! But remember not to get too carried away in the zone.

Don’t forget, you’re on camera! Interact with your audience. Simple things like acknowledging your audience in a few words every so often goes a long way. Remember, your goal is to make your viewers feel like you’re right there with them.  

Engaging with the audience doesn’t only include the class itself. Be sure to interact with the group before and after the class using your azingo app. Simple things like reminding them of it, as well as following up afterwards makes a huge difference when trying to host the best customer service.  

We hope these tips helped you in your journey to virtual class greatness. Be sure to do your own research on these topics, especially lighting techniques; this was only the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned, and we’ll be diving deeper into how each of these topics can be perfected! Already teaching classes virutally? We’d love to hear your personal tips and tricks on how to run a smooth session!

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