How I conquered my fear of video through using 360 video

How to Conquer your Fear of Video by Using a 360 Camera

I don’t need to tell you, but video is the next big thing. In fact, it’s not even next, it is the thing now!  That fear you have about making video is only going to build and get more difficult for you as almost all the social media channels have added in video options. Even more frightening is the live video, right?  Never mind the Stories options in anything from Instagram to even Skype and What’s App. It’s not going away.

It will become one of the main forms of communication moving forward and you can be damn sure that even if you don’t want to snapchat “Yo Self”, it’s more than likely that you will be called to some kind of video at work or with friends at some point.

Think I’m joking? Well, there have been many reports done on what employers will be looking for in the future and ability to communicate well, creativity and critical thinking are going to be very desirable traits. More than anything communication and authentic communication is a way for us to differentiate ourselves from machines.

So the ability to perform on video is a very very useful and sought after skill, which is fine unless you have a pathological fear of it like I did.

However, as you may have guessed I managed to get over my fear of video and am actually even enjoying playing with it now. I’ll take you through how I managed to do it, so you can shortcut yourself to video creation success. This article is not about being a successful You Tuber. This is about getting past the fear and starting.

You have a fear of the normal camera, never mind a video camera

I can’t speak for you, I can only speak for me and I can tell you that I had a pathological fear of cameras. Be they static, iPhone or the worst video. I absolutely hated them. In fact, I hated them so much, that I had panic attacks and anxiety surrounding events where I would have to have my photo taken. It started when I was a child and mushroomed from there.

If you’ve read my blog from the beginning you’ll know that it took me 3 years to be able to publish this blog, all because I refused to have my photo taken. There can be no personal blog with no personal photos, so it sat in the gathering dust space in my brain for all that time. Until I was essentially cornered and it happened. (Thank you Jools, Lady Velo)

I won’t tell you the ins and outs of the story now, but the condensed version is that a photoshoot was arranged so that I could not back out of it. And guess what? It changed my life and how I saw the static camera. I am eternally greateful to Jool and her briliant photographer partner Ian, as without them, I would not be in Bali writing right now ! If you want to read the full post and see the results, it’s here. 

So, I know exactly how you feel and the only advice I can give is band aid and rip it off. Fast. Do not be me and waste valuable time on this stupid fear. If you can organise a professional photoshoot where they will take hundreds (yes hundreds) of images and push you in the right direction, so that you can feel comfortable, then please do it. If you can’t afford a professional as they can be pricy then there are alternatives.

Airbnb bizarrely is a great place to find these photoshoots that are not so expensive, as you don’t need to book for a whole day, which is what the higher end photographers require. Here’s one I found here, but there are heaps more. Just don’t use those ones that hustle you on the streets of London. I did that once, it was HORRIBLE.

Or ask a patient friend or family member that has a couple of hours spare to help you. Do not go with people who are unkind, or demeaning as that will make the fear worse. Trust me. Or get yourself a tripod and a remote, stick your phone on it and do it yourself. Practice, practise, practise.

Start with the static camera and then move up


So you don’t even know where to start with video

If you go online you will see plenty of articles suggesting that you do Video chatting and facetiming to get you used to it. I do not disagree with this at all, however there’s a big difference between that and videomaking. The leap I feel is too big.

There are even courses that you can do for the day in London that put you in front of a proper camera and a film set. Trust me I did one. It was a god-awful experience, that frightened the living daylights out of me, and ensured that I put the video idea on the backburner for another 2 years. It was nothing to do with the course, as I know a lot of people found it useful, it was just way too much for me in one go.

I also tried public speaking, which I have to say was probably the most useful out of all the things I tried, but I suspect this was due to the outstanding teacher and his specific methods. Michael Solokin, who offers classes in central London really focuses in on fear and getting past it. A lot of the techniques he taught on the courses of his and the books he suggested really helped with accessing vulnerability. This helped me to move forward significantly faster than anything else I had done before.

All the other things I had done before Micheal were about practising, but what he did was help to change my mindset around video and the fear. Addressing your core beliefs and why you are so scared is a really important way to get past the fear of video and any fear.

Why is vulnerability so important in Video making?

What Michael teaches on his course and spends a lot of time focusing on is how to put yourself in uncomfortable situations and not be afraid of looking like a complete dickhead basically. The fear that you have or that I certainly had, was mainly about that. About saying something stupid and of being outed as “an imposter”.

I have absolutely no issue with talking in real life and no issue addressing crowds, but the video thing, SCARY. It was through practising going up against the fear and learning how to LEAN IN to it week after week with ‘Michael, that I started to realise that it was about learning the “how” and then just throwing yourself at it.

Feeling the fear, accepting it
& carrying on anyway


Realising that I didn’t need to be expert from the word go and that  no one is expecting me to be a TV presenter and the most important thing that ‘Michael taught me was to be myself. The more authentic the better.

He is a big lover of Brene Brown, and used her work and the book Darling Greatly through the course. She focuses in on and studies shame.

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen. Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic imperfect selves to the world. Our sense of belonging can never be greater than the level of self-acceptance. Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage “  Brene Brown.

I highly recommend her book Daring Greatly and her in general. She’s amazing.  For in inkling watch the Ted Talk. That will get you started and help you to begin addressing the fear.

Blockages – what the hell shall I make videos about?

I wish I could say that I did Michaels course and immediately started making videos, but I did not. The thing was I wanted to make them, but then I stumbled upon the issue of not knowing what to make.

I was consulting at the time, so I had a lot of very cool consumer electronics products I could have made videos about, but as I was representing the brands, I decided they may have been a little one sided, so I could not really do that.

Apart from that my daily life was not so exciting. I had my head in spreadsheets all day and any calls I made were confidential, so I had no angle and nothing to say, so I thought.

I was at a bit of a creative low point then. I’m sure more motivated people and what I would say to me now is “you were stalling”. Making up excuses NOT to do it!

There were probably 1000 things I could have made a video about. From my expertise in marketing, product launches and sales, through to just walking down the street as I am now doing in Bali.But I was making excuses, that was all.

To start off with I believe you just need to practise, so make them about what you ate for dinner last night if you have nothing else. I don’t think the topic really matters so much. Just get past the fear and start making. You don’t even need to post them to You Tube.

Now I’m travelling – there is no excuse – How I finally started

I will say that I was lucky enough to have a 360 camera to take with me travelling as this was one of the products that I was launching before I decided to go on a creative sabbatical. I had learned how to use it, as I’d pitched it to retailers and distributors, and I really liked it, but I all honesty I was kind of struggling for how to use it in real life.

There is or was at that point not a lot of information on how to shoot for 360, so it was pretty much a have a go and see through exploration, as there was no rule books or manuals. This kind of situation suits me perfectly as I detest manuals and I prefer to find my own way so that worked in my favour.

There were no more excuses left, none. Not one. I had to do it.

Using the 360 cameras, but still hiding

So I started, because by that point i’d told so many people that I was going to do it, that I had to. When I started my Digital Nomading in Gran Canaria,  I took it out for a wander around the old town with some friends. 360 video is a really good way of seeing the things as they are, as you get to show the viewer what is going on in your environment. It’s the authentic opposite to insta perfect Instagram in that way.

The authentic part I really liked, how ironic that I was still hiding from the camera!  You can see one of the first videos I made there. No one has watched these as I have not promoted them. I am just keeping them to remind myself how far I am progressing.

It’s a good tip to do this, as it’s a reminder that even though you started a few months ago and only have a handful of views,  that you have moved on yourself and what you can do. It’s really not about the views in the beginning, it’s about finding your authentic self on camera.  Again I am no expert, but at this point, I think it’s daily practice and trying stuff out.

Let’s talk on Camera

Between January and March I kind of lost interest in the video. I was not in a great place then myself. I was feeling a big change coming up and I was less than grounded, so I just focussed on my immediate tasks and less on stuff like this. So again, I let my work take over and the fun stuff I really wanted to do I left to the side (do not do this, it’s not a good idea, this is just more stalling).

In March I headed off to Bali with a friend of mine Natasha, who owns the blog Your Style Muse. She’s very creative and positive, so I decided to ask her to be my side kick on the videos. We warmed up on wandering around with it at different locations and not saying a lot as you can see in the jungle walk video below. We then discussed how we were going to just chat as if we were having a causal conversation. two friends on holiday, having fun. Peaceful fun as we were relaxing mind you.

That week we were on the Gilli Islands near Bali. It’s heaven on earth if you have not been there. I decided to take the camera with us on a walk and we’d chat, showing off what we have seen on the way. This it turned out was so much easier. Making video with a friend and just chatting. We kept it up for almost 20 mins.

Natasha and I did quite a few videos that I am yet to upload on the holiday and then I did a couple more with other friends. This format worked. Walk, talk, and video. walk, talk and video. Simples.

What 360 videos is so much easier than straight video to start

If you make a straight video, even if you do have a wide-angle lens, the viewer cannot see much more than your face. It’s a fact unless you turn the camera/phone around and you are not talking to the camera.

When using a 360, the viewer can move the view around, up down, side to side. They can watch you for the whole time or they can look around, which you can encourage them to do by pointing out things. For me, this means a whole lot less pressure than making a standard video as if you position yourself in an interesting spot, or you walk around like I do, that takes the focus off you.

Why I don’t edit my videos

I decided pretty much at the beginning that I was not going to edit my videos. I’m sure this goes against every advice that you will get told for having a successful YouTube channel, but I know for a fact, that if I had to edit these videos would never see the light of day.

To edit in 360, you need Final Cut Pro, which is not only expensive, but it’s complex. I downloaded it, fiddled with it (remember I hate manuals) and then gave up an hour later. Way too complex, the thought of spending my day in that made me feel nauseous so I ditched it.

This website and the path that I am unfolding for myself in my 40s is about being honest and authentic. Edited swish videos don’t really fit into what I am trying to do. I am also not trying to become a YouTuber. My YouTube channel is set up to help me practise the art of video making and also to inspire others to start with theirs. Hence why I’ve added up my beginner videos, so you can start to see the transition and the progress, and that I started with no idea of what I was doing at all.

So please don’t let the editing part stop you. If you don’t want to do that part then don’t or if you really want a swish intro and to have them looking fancy you can find 360 video editors on People Per hour or somewhere similar.

The progress

So I went from Zero videos in 2017 through to now having made over 20.

I’ve gone from not talking at all and hiding through to probably talking too much. I’ve made loads of mistakes, slipped up on my words and probably said a whole host of factually incorrect things about Bali. ( I apologise to anyone if I have).

However, I am now losing lost the fear of the video day by day and incredibly  I’m really beginning to enjoy it.  I know for a fact, that I would never have got to the stage I am now just doing straight video, as it was much too daunting for me and still is.

Straight video is the next type that I wish to conquer.

Set yourself a challenge – The 30 days of 360 Video Challenge

I personally love a challenge and I love trying out new things. I know that if I set myself a challenge I will complete it. I’m a bit bullheaded like that.  Sometimes we need to set ourselves challenges so that we can level up.

I started with my 30 days of 360 video challenge yesterday. I went for a walk and spoke about the local area I’m staying in. That’s an easy one for me.  Day 2 I did a Root Chakra meditation. Where I attempted to stay still for 10 minutes, but that I failed as I had creepy crawlies on me, as I was sat in the Jungle near Ubud Bali.  However I did not delete it, it’s going up tomorrow.

I have no idea what I will do for day 3 and thereafter. That’s part of the challenge, to come up with something new for each day. The more I throw myself at this medium, the better I will get so I’m just having a go, and that is all that I can do.

I challenge you to start a 30-day challenge too. I am not on social media right now, but you can email me and send me your YouTube Video. I’d love to see more people use this medium, especially women my age, as we are so few and far between.

The camera that I used

The camera I’m using is the Utopia 360 from Emerge Technologies. If you know me you’ll know that I worked with this brand as a consultant then I launched products in EMEA and managed their brand for 8 years. I did not pay for this camera as it was a product showcase sample.

However, I am not working with them now, so I can be completely honest with you. It’s a really really easy to use camera. It links with your phone (through wifi -it does not use actual wifi don’t worry) )  and you can download the video to your phone and then upload to any of the social channels. You can also do Facebook and YouTube live ( I have not done this yet, as I’m off social media for now).

As I link it to my phone I use the phone as a microphone which makes it sound pretty clear when I do the videos, plus it’s light which is key if you are holding your arm out for ages.

The downside is that the video is not amazing quality, but if you want that then spend the money and buy a high end one. Of course, much more expensive. I don’t really have anything negative to say about it, which is why I am using it so much.

It’s available on Amazon for £149.99 right now.

My YouTube Channel – The Tigers Journey

My brand-new channel is up and live and I’ll be adding videos every day as part of the 30-day challenge, assuming that the wifi works here!  I am not on social media myself at the moment, as I’m on a 60-day block of facebook, twitter & linked in, so I can’t promote it. If you feel like any of these videos are interesting enough to share, then do go ahead, I would be grateful.

And do let me know if you are on YouTube yourself and how you are finding making video. I’d love to hear from some real video makers!

You can take a look here and do subscribe, you would make my day!


I’m Zoe Langman, a 45-year-old welsh Nomad. On December 19th, 2017, I packed up my flat, put all my essentials into a suitcase, and started my Nomadic Journey. I don't think it's ever too late to reinvent or redesign your life.

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