Discussion #4125

Set Up Your Virtual Studio

60 min - Discussion
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Description

On April 30, 2020, we held a live webinar with Louise Johns to learn how to set up a virtual studio. She explained how she onboarded and trained her staff so they could teach remotely as well as what her studio is offering online currently. She also shared tips for framing your videos as well as making sure the audio and sound are good.

Links and Resources

- Absolute Center

- 3-Point Lighting

- Logitech Webcam

- Ring Light

- AirPods

- 5 Things to Kow to Go Live Blog

What You'll Need: No props needed

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May 04, 2020
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I welcome everybody. Uh, it's the Pilates report and today my guest is Louise Johns. She's a product party, is a movement teacher, has been teaching movement in many different modalities for 25 years. So my guess is she started very, um, she's co owner of absolute center Pilates and movement studio located in Lafayette. And for people like me that don't know where Lafayette California is, it's in the Bay area. It's near to Oakland on that side of the Bay. You may have seen her crawling around on the floor teaching primal movement as she's one of the cov creators of primal movement works. And today the subject that we're going to explore is teaching online.

So virtual teaching of polarities, um, we don't have all the answers. There's other resources as well as ours. There's different ways of doing it and I think the right answer is going to be very specific to your location. But we're going to do our best. We're going to chat for about 30 minutes and then we'll do a Q and. A. Um, you know, we've got as practical as you want and uh, but we only have 30 minutes to do our discussion, but we will be sticking around and doing that whole Q and a afterwards. But before we start, I'm going to do a couple of polls here just to see who our audience is and I wanted to see whether or not people are already teaching online. So there should be a poll on the screen at this point and if you could answer that, that would be great.

And we can kind of see how the audience there so we can tailor our responses appropriately. So about two thirds already teaching online. Great. So if you have wisdom to share with us, we'd love to hear that. Uh, there's about 20% not teaching yet, not teaching and 20% planning to go online soon. So then I have one other poll question. It's just, I'm just curious, you know, are you people's studios open? Is your Pilate studio where you either own or teach? Is it operating yet? Um, and some parts of the world kind of eminent league and open.

So I'm kind of curious about that. But today we have 97% it's still closed. Just a couple of people hoping they're going to open within the next two weeks. That's really helpful. Thank you everybody for contributing to that. So I have been reading in the press that certain places are opening up soon, but it looked like from our poll, that's not necessarily the case.

So do we still need to learn all about online teaching if our, if we're going to get the chance to open our studios in a few weeks. Yeah we do because we're going to probably keep our virtual classrooms going to have it a little bit of an additional revenue stream because when we open there's no way we're going to be back up full working operations. So definitely um, having your virtual classroom is going to be helpful going forward. Yeah, I don't think everybody, I totally agree Louise. I think a few people are gonna say, you know, I'm not ready to go back into that studio until I've had a vaccine. So, you know, for the people that have compromised immune systems or in a high risk group like being older, I think they're going to hesitate before coming into the studio, even if there is greater separation and all of those things. Definitely, especially for us as studio demographics is 60 plus we do, you know, a lot of those people that are coming in are coming in in need and I don't see them rushing back in maybe for privates, but definitely not for classes. How long do you think, do you think it's a forever or just until the vaccine comes that you're running both businesses, you know, your physical classes and your online?

I don't know. It's a little hard to speculate, but I always try to, um, play the long game and, um, I would say that we're going to probably, we'll give it a good effort of keeping the virtual classroom open. And I think that as the business begins to slowly get back to normal, maybe that virtual classroom would just naturally organically begin to fade away. Um, we do have clients that travel. They've been like, why didn't you do this before? You know, so when they get back up and traveling, that's something that we can definitely offer them. It might not be as as many classes as we're offering right now, but I think we're going to give it a good push to try to keep that. Yeah. Yeah. I've heard that for lots of people that, Oh, you know, if I could done this before, I would have kept that revenue and my client, you know, is on vacation or a second home that's further away. Definitely.

Yeah. I think that my personal view is it's going to be a permanent kind of change to the environment, whether it's as extreme as today, I don't think it just, you know, we're not going to go back to the same normal we had before. Corona virus. The world is going to be different. Yeah. It's tricky because we're trying to visualize a world that we don't even know how it's going to operate. So that uncertainty, um, so there's always a thousand different a through and we could do this and this.

And I think that there's not, there's no, um, there's nothing wrong with having a long list of ideas for sure. Yeah. So talking about your, um, your studio there, w what are the offerings that you're doing through your virtual studio here, through your online offerings? Well, we have perhaps even broader than that. What are the other ones that you can consider? So what is the kind of universe of things that you can do? Well, we have, we basically took, um, the day to day class schedule that we had when we were open and we quickly just flipped it into a virtual scenario so that people could keep on a schedule that they had before. This is in the early days when we, we just want everybody to, they always come at eight o'clock, let's just give them that eight o'clock class. Um, and then our staff, um, are amazing.

And they quickly switched over to doing virtual one-to-one training. And I would say that two thirds of the staff are under 35. So they had no problem. It was like, Oh virtual, no problem. Um, and so now we, I've been up and running since we've been with, since we've been closed. And what we're finding is, is that there's some people don't want to do the live virtual thing, but they don't, maybe they don't have the budget for the privates. So we're beginning to create these small group privates where we can have between four and 10 people in a class together. They pay a little bit more for that. Um, and there may be no one another or maybe they all come from the same demographics or maybe it's like the low back group or the funky knee people and we're beginning to put them in together.

So you've got like a virtual classes as opposed to the privates, which are costly, that middle ground in between those two things. So if you're pricing that kind of middle ground, you know, like the four to 10, is that a higher price than a group? Yeah, so the virtual is, would be the low level, although it's the big funnel, right? Because we can, we can have a lot of people in that virtual classroom. Um, and then you've got the small group privates, which would be between three, four and 10. And then we've got the one-to-one training. So it's like the funnel goes like this and the money also goes like that, right? Because you can have 30 people in a class as opposed to one to one.

Mmm. So it just depends on how big your virtual class schedule, like how many people. If you're only getting 10 people in there, then obviously one-to-one training is going to be more affordable. I mean more lucrative to you than a group class. But for us, our group group classes are pretty well attended, so we're able to pay our staff. Great. And so do you think it's about 10 people at the point where you can't give individual corrections? Is that, yeah, I mean, you know, like I've just got a little tiny laptop and as you see I'm wearing glasses. I'm actually going to get my husband to get the TV cause that's the next step is to put the TV into my laptop. Um, I want to be able to see everybody more than 10. That gallery view, it just starts pushing people over into the next gallery and you're flipping back and forth. I want to feel one screen with 10 faces and that's it.

Cool. Would you charge something different for say, like a duet? Yeah. Um, no. W uh, right now when we're doing one-to-one training, it's per household. You know, like I'm training Jenny at 10 o'clock and she's like, my husband's going to join me and I'm like, sweet. That's fine cause it's no more real, extra work for me. I'm still, it's just per household. Um, maybe going forward we might if, yeah. I think right now we're just sticking to the one one-to-one cost, whether there's one or three people in the household coming to the event. Cool. And at the present time, is the product that you're selling just live classes, you're not recording them and then selling them afterwards?

No, we're not. We have, we are recording them only so that people can go, maybe it's 48 hours afterwards, but they pay for that class. They have a membership and it's behind a pay wall because some people are still working or like me, you've got kids. I can't do 10 o'clock, but I could do four 30 but we're not, we don't have a prerecorded prerecorded gallery. Yeah. Or library. Right. And w what is the software that allows you to expire the link after a certain time?

Um, we basically bring it in through, um, fit grid and zoom and Katie basically create, that's my business partner, Katie Santos. Some of you might know her, I might know her. We have a code and she creates the code for the membership. And then every two weeks she changes the code on our website. So it's a pay wall on our website and that code expires. It's not perfect because people lose the codes and they're constantly emailing us in Texas. Like was there a code I can't get in?

So it's not perfect, but we're happy to help the people in our community. I mean, that's what we're doing. Yeah. So with the recorded video, um, you could sign up for say your 10 o'clock class, but if you miss it, you can watch it on the video. Yeah. So fit grid sends them the link to watch it afterwards and you can, we did start doing that manually. Um, and we may go back to doing it manually, but when you've got 30 people, our front desk person who is amazing, she's at home and she's got two kids at home. So she's like emailing, emailing and working your tail off. So the software, the fitness software is good integration. It's not perfect either. Um, but yeah, they can watch it too. They can watch it for 48 hours after the class has been. And they liked that.

Yeah. Yeah. Well, I've talked to some other folks about this and they've told me that they ended up competing with themselves when they gave him a permanent video with the Jews so that clients have, I've still got your class from last week. I'm going to keep on watching that. I don't need you. So there's this risk of, you know, competing with yourself here, you know, putting yourself out of business. Definitely. And then it's also not fair on the staff member because they've recorded it and if it has, it has forever. We can't, there's no way that we can track how many times that person's viewed that video. Um, I don't have the bandwidth or the time to track it, so, um, it's not fair on the staff member. So we agreed that we wouldn't do that.

We would give it a very short shelf life and then it goes away. Yeah. Yeah. Some folks have talked about, um, you know, the different formats they can do. And so you can do a private where you don't give any visual, you know, you don't demonstrate just giving audio cues to the client. Similarly, you can do group classes in different formats like that. How are you, well, what is your style of teaching that you're using at the studio? Um, so the private, the one to one training, the stuff we're doing them from their homes and I'm coming into the studio to do my private training. And for the most part, everybody's on a laptop and they're doing visual and obviously demonstrating, I mean the first few times when when a client gets used to you physically not being there and directing them, um, they quickly go get back into the swing of how things were before.

And the reality is is we have long standing relationships with our clients so we can anticipate their movement before they've even done it that we already know like, Oh, they're going to do this. And I will say that an observation I had when I first started teaching online was as a Plaza teacher, we train the eye. That was what Ramana always talked about. Look at the body in front of you to see what it's telling you. And that skillset is, is ma like, it's a really valuable tool when you're teaching visually because you are watching them. And it's like you're, you've got these magic eyes and you're looking and it can be exhausting, but it's a really interesting observation that I had was wow, that observation technique. But we do when we were beginning to be teachers.

It's really valuable right now. Great. So you're doing a combination of verbal cues and demonstration. Definitely. Yeah. Yeah. So you know, we're going to get into how you film this, but there's a little bit, yeah. What you film, is it that German by the way that you teach? Yes. So if you're just watching and giving verbal cues, you don't need the great lighting because nice to look good, but it's a different challenge. So kind of one of the things to consider is, you know, what is the format you're using?

Well, um, if you are not going to have, if you're filming from home, the big thing is to make sure that you're not filming with like winter this window behind me. So you don't want to film into direct light because you're just going to look black. And also if you're filming from home, it's, it's, um, good to consider the colors that you're wearing. So if you're going to put a black mat on the ground and you're going to wear your favorite black pair of tights, essentially when you sit down, you're going to disappear. So they're not going to be able to see you. Let me get to the filming kind of strategy in a second here. Um, sort of comes down at you. If you're demonstrating you need to be seen clearly by the client.

So think about your filming these day. If you're just giving verbal cues and directions, it's a really different budget that you need a different kind of filming and lighting and all of those things. Definitely. Definitely. So what are you, so I'm now going to go into the tack of assuming that you do need to be filmed and that you are demonstrating and you know what, of all the bits that you need for doing this. So what is the video? How are you making the video here? What do you do?

Well, right now, right now I'm on my laptop and I have a larger tech webcam plugged in and um, that's what I'm using to record and that's what we use for our live class schedule. And so why did you transition from just taking the camera that's on the laptop to putting a large attack? Um, because of the larger tech gives you a way to frame. And so like for example, one of the girls that teaches for us, I think she's probably five, eight, well I'm five two so it doesn't really matter, but when she's in the room and plus I think that in order to um, to keep someone's attention, you want to have a little bit more something to go on, like to look at. So not just a white wall or whatever it is.

So something visual and the w a larger tech, it gives you that ability to capture like is behind me. You can see the whole room behind me rather than just like, okay, yeah, yeah. I just say on the webcam, you know these webcams, you know, Logitech has a really well known brand but they just have a USB cable and they just plug it into that USB port on your computer. Yeah. Although I will point out that if you've got a newer computer, sometimes the camera in your, the video camera and your laptop or computer can be better than the larger text. So you just have to like do the, check yourself in the other room back and forth. Yeah. Have you considered, um, just using your iPhone or your Android phone?

Um, the downside for privates, yes. But for the downside of the live classes is that that gallery view is even smaller, so you don't really get to see anybody. So that's not really ideal. I've seen some people do the laptop to do the gallery view and do the iPhone, particularly the newer versions like iPhone 10 and 11 have this amazing camera, which is probably going to be of a higher quality than, you know, most of the webcams you can buy through companies like Logitech. Yeah. That w that would be the next step I guess. Yeah. I think, I think, you know, the, the way I look at it is that there's a, a whole spectrum, um, when we're filming at parties, anytime, you know, we're doing it with a $10,000 camera. So you know, if you want that kind of production movie quality all the way up to just using your laptop or your iPhone. But the iPhone camera, I am just a stand and some of the high end Android phones are just as good.

Yeah. I mean, I've told you this before and it's my favorite line. We're not making Hollywood movies. Well, just trying to keep everybody moving and low stress. Yeah. Yeah. That's our main intention. And as things go, we'll make improvements and we discover like different tech and go, wow, we should have been doing this ages ago. And it's like, Oh well now you can only take in so much. It's gotta be one step at a time. Yeah. What I kind of, what I would encourage people to do is experiment is like what do you have in your house today? And if you have a laptop, see how it, and then you can very easily, okay, that's kind of crappy, or it's good enough.

Or what's the feedback that we're getting? Yeah. I mean we definitely didn't stop. We started with overhead fluorescent lighting and that white wall in the corner and it was horrendous. But that's all we had. That's all we could do. And it took me a little while to kind of swing my mind and go, okay, how can we be a little bit more creative? Yeah. Cool. Let's talk. So we talked a little bit about the camera.

What about the audio? What are you using there? Um, so again, for our live stream classes, we are using some of the stuff like to use, um, Bluetooth wireless headphones, um, and that, or they just speak into the microphone on our laptop for the studio is pretty good. The reality is, is that the, unless the client is live, if they do go to look at the recording because it could make the class, it's not that great. I mean it's zoom. So we just purchased a wireless Mike, it got here this morning. So I'm pretty excited about that. I don't know how it's going to be. And then there's the whole safety thing. Then we're now having all of this stuff with this one microphone. So it's like, yeah, I don't know. I bought it.

I'm going to unpack it and play with it and see and see. Y why thing. I think, you know, if you're used to using, you know, the Apple, um, what do they call their boats? Yeah. You know, those can work really well. I would say as soon as you put anything in your ear that has a microphone in it, they bear in mind, you know, is your earring going to knock on it? Is your hair going to be noise? Those kinds of things. The other issue is if you have the Wyatt had set say into your iPhone, uh, you have the, all the issues of that microphone it's usually about here and it just bangs on your shirt and uh, it's, it's not great.

I mean, wearing a mic definitely takes some getting used to. I have seen on Instagram cause that's where I do all my shopping and these new mics, they're like a little square and you can clip them to your shot. Now that it's great for this, but the downside of us plots as teachers is where we're laying face down. Now you've got this thing up against you. So I don't, you know, I think I'm just going to do the, we could do the handheld mic and be through little singing with the handheld might. Maybe, I don't know. Yeah. You know, it's in some of the tech.

I'm just saying that Jacqueline added in the chat here that yeah, there's also a focus on some of the, um, Logitech webcams. And the problem with autofocus is it'll suddenly find you're focusing on the wall behind you. Yeah. And in general that the camera that's in your laptop or the one that's in your iPhone is not going to have that. So it's not going to be like trying to work out what to focus on and the foreground going out of focus in the back. Um, and so, you know, at the of the day, you know, we're not, as you say, you're not in the Hollywood film production business. And so is sometimes, you know, as you buy more complicated technology, it creates more complexity that doesn't really help you get the job done.

So I just kind of say that around the challenges of the more sophisticated it is, the more time that you spend getting things to work. So this webinar, just as an example, is just done on my desktop computer and I do have a microphone, but it's pretty basic tack that most people have in their homes. So we talked about the video, we talked about the audio. Let's talk about a little bit about the lighting. What's your setup on lighting? Well, I'm fortunate enough to have a husband that does live podcasts and so I stole his three point lighting. So we have three lights, one, two and three, and I've been watching a lot of videos on three point lighting.

So basically right now you can see the windows and I've got shadow on this side of my face and that's okay for me. But if I was like doing like with that would probably not be good. Um, we have also overhead lights on. So for us, we just try to make the studio as bright as possible. Um, like I was saying earlier on, if you can get natural daylight into your space, that's great. Um, in California it's pretty much always sunny, so we have that. Um, but I think you can get away with what you have in your studio. When I um, onboarded a teacher from Austin, Texas this morning, she and I were like, I'm like put your table lamp behind the laptop and she's moving the lights around so I can at least get her lit as much as possible. And again, you know that whole what you're wearing, you want it to reflect. So like I will wait today cause I wanted you to see me and I knew I wasn't going to disappear up against that white wall.

You know, you can get as fancy as you like. You can spend a lot of money on lighting. Again, I go back to fix the problem. Don't buy the equipment before you find out you don't have a problem to solve. No, because the three point lighting setup, each light bulb is $50 and in that light system is for light bulbs. So we would just fortunate that we had them. That was all, yeah. Kind of thinking about framing, you know, you're kind of thinking about where am I going to put this camera here. Um, do you have any thoughts on how we frame the shot?

Um, no. I mean, yes, but for live classes, I mean, originally I had this idea of having these blinds open and it'd be a beautiful backdrop and people will be able to see that beautiful tree behind us. Um, but the sheriff, the sheriff didn't like it. The sheriff came over and we have to keep the blinds close. I'm breaking the rules by having that window open right now. Um, so unfortunately the frame, but if you have like I've seen some studios on Instagram and backdrop is amazing. Um, the frame, like what you can see is definitely helpful. But again, we just, this is what we have and that's it. Cool. And then the last thing, so you've framed the shot. You've, you've got that, you know, this is very much this type thing. You know, the challenge in framing it is really the only way of knowing what you've framed is to look through the lens of the camera. Correct. You know, you can look at the room and you know, your vision is very broad. You know, that's, that's how we evolve to still be around and not get eaten by animals. So, you know, we have this amazing field of vision, but when we're actually framing the shot, you know, we can only get this kind of much. So look at it, take a photo with your, with your iPhone, whatever it is, this is what it's going to look like.

And it's a great white way of just really understanding what you've created. Yeah, I mean for new teachers teach are teaching virtually. I recommend having it in speak of use. You selfishly you get to see yourself so that you know that you're in the frame. And so what I started in the early days as I go back and forth between gallery view and speak of you, cause I wasn't, I couldn't, it's weird because there's nobody with you, you don't know this.

We don't have any mirrors or anything. So I'm like are they seeing me? It's just looking the way it should be. So that's helpful to have it in speak of you and then it's a little bit more work having to go back and forth. But that's right. That's just how we started. Yeah. Cool. Is there anything else you want to add on set design? Um, I will back up what John says.

Make sure you um, take, I would take a photograph and definitely what John says and when you look at that photo you're like, Oh my socks are in the, in the photo. That's not cool. Or that plan is coming out at the top of my head or like this post behind me. I was coming out of the back of my head, not so great. So this is not where I teach. Um, but definitely taking a photo and or recording your zoom session and then playing it back to yourself so you can see exactly what it looks like is definitely helpful. Yeah. Yeah. Some of our experiences is, you know, you can put something in the set and then suddenly all the client is doing is looking to see like what is it that John has in the back of his, the big applause coming out the top of your head.

Yeah. For many ways less is more simpler. It is. The more they're going to focus on you moving and less on, Oh, I wonder where she got that picture. Whatever it is. Um, so now we've got this ability to take great video. We've got the audio right, we've got the lighting right, we've got an engaging set. How do we get that video to the client? Good question. It's magic. Like I said, any wrong, we were doing it manually, so we use mind body online. So what I meant by that is internet connection.

Oh yes. Internet connection. Okay, thanks. No. So I highly recommend getting yourself a cable, plugging yourself into your routes and you may say festival. What's, I was like, what's a router? That's where the internet comes into your home or your studio. You can get cable that's 250 350 feet long and it's not expensive, like $20 in the United States for 150 meta feet of cable. Plug it into your router and then plug it into your laptop. And then disabled wifi makes your internet much more stable. Um, and much faster. You're going to get the most out of it.

Because everybody's on the internet. Um, so that's definitely what I recommend. Yeah. I just say cat Phi stands for category five, spend a little bit more money and get cat sex for the capacity of a cat. Five cable is more than enough for what we're doing here. So don't, don't pay the extra for that. Um, it kind of looks a little bit, if you remember when we had telephones in our home, looks a little bit like that kind of plug that goes there. That's what you'll find on the end of a category five cable. Technically the longest you can run it before you get real signal.

Degregation is about 200 feet. So I wouldn't buy one even if they'll sell them, which I don't think they will as longer than 200 feet. Um, so that, that is the kind of thing that, you know, as I think we all know with wifi, if we suddenly have other people using that same piece of bandwidth, you know, that's not part of the spectrum, it'll will degree the quality of it. So it helps remove the kind of transmission issues by having a cable connection from, you might think of it as your modem, your router, it's whatever that piece of equipment is that the internet comes from. Cool. And then what is the technology you're using on it? I know the answer to. So tell us about zoom and what you're doing. Okay, so we have the, we don't have the free version of zoom.

We have the next one up the 1499. I don't remember which one that is. And that allows us to only have one class at one time, but it does allow to have other people logging in, but they can't host a meeting when we're hosting a meeting. So the next level up is like 1999 and we could do that if we're going to have classes on top of one another, which we're not. Mmm. The teachers all have their own zoom for them doing privates at home or a lot of them are just doing Facebook. Um, then we have my body online, which is what we've always had. So people are registered to the class. And then the fitness technology software that we're using right now is fit grits. We're just on the free, the free version for Ida.

I think they give us like two weeks. Um, and basically what that does is it communicates from MINDBODY online to zoom and it communicates. So they get another email, they sign up for their class from absolute Senate, thanks for coming, wait to receive your link. Then they get a link from hello outfit grid and then they get a link and that link puts them into zoom. Um, they're a new company. It's not perfect. Um, but it's, there's also like a stream. Um, there are so many, we looked at so many in the beginning to begin with and it's a big investment. So if your classes are only 10 or 15, I would just do it manually, sending them to the link, set up the link, and then send it to the manual if you at the time. Yeah. I think when it comes to that technology, if you just do privates with a few clients and they um, Venmo, do the money, then just email them back with the zoom link.

You don't need that integration software. But once you get to a class of 20 or 30 people and you're doing it multiple times a day, I think it makes sense. Yeah. I forgot the pricing on Fitbit as it is, but it's something like 102 hundred yeah, that's different levels based on all the little extra pieces. So basically like 125 bucks and then up to like 200 something like that. Okay. So my sort of thought on these pieces of software, try to do it manually.

If you, if you're getting enough clients that there's enough money coming in that you need to automate it, then pay somebody, you know, like fifth grade to automated. Otherwise, you know, good old fashioned email works pretty good. Well yeah, I mean it's too, like we were spending like two hours emailing links so then we're paying somebody and or ourselves. So the cost of having the software to do it, it's like, okay, it's cheaper to have this stuff by do it. Yeah. I'm more professional if that's, you know, um, talk about charging. You know, we've, we've, I've actually so many times on these webinars we've talked about how much to charge for classes when they're online. What's your philosophy?

No free stuff. We didn't do any free stuff. Um, nothing. We'd uh, I mean it's just some, yeah. Um, we did put, um, a few videos up on YouTube and that's really, um, I had two thoughts. The YouTube part is obviously a marketing tool to drive traffic, but also I did want, we did have a little bit of compassion light, maybe people can afford it. So YouTube is a great platform and so it's a win win, right? You've put your stuff up there, it's good marketing and advertising for you.

Plus you get to serve the community that don't have the budget to attend class. And we have like a drop in class fee that is about to go up tomorrow. And then we have a monthly membership for people that just want to do the monthly thing. The interesting thing for us with our clients is they didn't want to buy the membership because they realized that we make more money from them when they do the drop in. So we had all these people doing drop-ins and nobody buying the membership.

We realized obviously from a business standpoint, you need to fill those seats every month so you can have this membership that's solid and as a good foundation to it. Then you can begin to budget a little bit and the drop in is so up and down, there's no, there's no continuity to it. So we actually just introduced a sliding scale for the membership and it's sort of like, this is, I'm on a budget, I can't remember what we called it, but it's like I'm on a budget. Uh, no, I'm in, I want to support you and or I'm feeling generous. Here you go. And so far most people that have bought the, I'm feeling generous. Here you go. Fabulous.

When it comes to private, she charged the same, gosh, the same for privates. Um, the small group privates, we charge the same that we used to charge out. And so it's really just the really big group classes so that you've got this lower price point. Yeah. And it was a $10 drop in. Now it's going to go up to 12. The monthly was 69 and it's go up to 89. Um, we really want to be able to pay the staff. That's the big thing, right?

It's like how are we going to support these teachers? They've got families to feed and bills to pay, so how can we support them the best we can? So that's kind of where ramping up now going, okay guys, you've watched, you've been working really hard. Let's see if we can give this a little push and then give you a little bit more of a paycheck. Fantastic. You've got some teachers that didn't, didn't or aren't able to come to the studio to film in your set up there.

How do you train them to do this? Teach? Why? How do you train your teachers anyway coming into the studio, but also how do you train them if they're somewhere remote from the studio? Well, the first thing that I've been doing is I watch a lot of the classes and I can do that from home and still be a mom and I'll have it in the background much like I do with my Pilates. Anytime I'm listening to Carrie's a teacher, reform a class, I'm like, wait, I've got to write that down because that was amazing. Um, so I'm listening and the first thing I do is coach them on their language. So being mindful of the sows and the thinking was, because when you're a virtual, they're really, really obvious and really, really annoying. Um, I also have been coaching my staff to slow down. Um, I've got another, um, staff member the same as me that when we get nervous, we get super excited and then it gets, you talk really, really fast. So a nice little trick that I've been doing is counting to three.

So you might say, place your feet on the ground, lift your hips, and then at the movement. Otherwise it's like please should be on the ground, lift your hips, move your arms. The Lola's, like Whoa. Too much information. So slowing the content down, um, is really, really helpful and being really mindful of your language. That's the two big things. Cool. Tell me about your class schedule.

What did you design for your class schedule? We mimicked what we already had. However we have, we had this conversation, Katie and I a couple of weeks ago about when people were coming to us physically, they have that drive time to prepare. So they're like, I'm going to leave the house 20 minutes, get to the studio drive. They walk in the studio, they come 10 minutes early for class, they visit with their friends. Now they don't have any of that time. And so we have found that maybe the 10 o'clock class is not that great because now that just, if it's a mom or dad, I'm working, you're just rushing to the living room and then you're doing your class. Um, so we've started to experiment with classes, maybe a little bit out time about normal schedule.

So noon was not always a big hit, but now we're beginning to add the noon because the day is the day. I don't know about you, but my days go by like that. Um, so we've, we're doing that right now and not having classes. We're already having one class and the other class we're not layering on classes on top of one another. Yeah. If you know teachers are coming to the studio to do the live virtual classes, are you organizing them? So they come in at different times?

Yeah. So there's at least 30 minutes in between. So the first person finishes, wipes everything down. The other person is sitting in the car park, they leave, they're like high five virtual high five. Then they come in, wash their hands. I mean I like to wipe everything down again. And then that, so there is that cleaning time that we have to allow for in between classes. So the advantage of having a remote classes like the one in Austin, Texas, I can have it a nine 45 and then at 10 o'clock because there's no cleaning time required. Thank you.

So I am going to try and work through some of these questions here and uh, we'll do our best to get through them. There's quite a lot here and we'll, if we don't answer them today, you know, maybe we can go a little bit late. Let's just see how we get on. The first question is from Laura. Um, people are joining from all over the world. Um, two take the classes, but as teachers liability insurance work with a global audience. Good question. We, um, we have a liability form that new new participants, clients sign when they sign up through MBO and um, on that we have language about just the same language that we've had before. The reality is that this is such a great area. Mmm. Who, I mean, it's a gray area. We, we have the disclaimer and we hope it's the same as you would when you're doing a YouTube video. Please don't try this exercise.

If you have diabetes or high blood pressure or don't hit your head on the couch, that kind of basic stuff. Yeah. I didn't hire people to have like, you know, if you've got to take my classes, sign, sign your way. Yeah. Sign the waiver online. The PMA gave a online waiver. If they gave it away, it's on their website. Yeah.

Who's behind the scenes and really running the show can put a link to that. So if you need the wording for an online waiver, they gave an example of what that might be like. Yeah. And if you're using MINDBODY online, you can tell who signed the waiver and who hasn't because as you pull it in their profile, it'll say their waiver needs to be signed. So we shoot them a quick email saying, please sign your waiver. Um, so we making sure that everybody has the basic waiver that we had before. For sure.

Great. Hope that Hans answered you or the um, next one is from Krista. Have you had any new, different, unique requests from clients during this time? For example, more mind quieting or spirit balancing versus work. My parent house. Yeah. I mean we, we definitely have requests for breathing, um, breathing exercises, um, yoga and meditation. And there are already studios that, that says genre and we do do that, but that's, we don't have yoga teachers. And so we've been referring to other local studios to support them. Um, and I'm about to, I have a friend who's a PT and a cranial psychotherapist and a Gyrotonic teacher and she lives in Washington. I'm about to have her come and join us as she can be that person. Um, so definitely in the vigorous ones we already have a vigorous workout on the schedule that Stephanie, um, she teaches and she calls it functional fitness and sweat.

And it's basically with, uh, a wooden chair and a mat and she's this really safe. And if she's doing the exercises herself, she knows how safe they are, you know, like, put your chair on a mat, make sure it's doesn't slip, all those things. You're just having to go the extra step to explain to them to be careful. Yeah. Um, can you recommend a lighting brand? Uh, no. I don't know what these are called. Uh, big, big. I mean if you go onto Google and just go three point lighting, you're going to get a long list of brands.

Yeah. My own feeling on for nearly every Pilate studio, unless you happen to own something like a three point lighting system overkill more than I would invest in doing this. Um, we've, we've talked a little bit about ring lights before, uh, ring mates just, you know, they just make you look better. Um, they're very inexpensive. They're, you know, sub $50 and I think Jay will be able to put some links to some companies that are selling them on Amazon. Um, but I would start off with just seeing what, what do you have in your own studio? What's it look like with just your lights on? With the Curt, it's called, pulled it open. That is, um, just to be able to just see what the natural light is. Um, you know, you can spend a lot of money on lighting, but I would, I would try just using what you have in your home before you get there. This is for Maria. Can you talk about the software and processes to create videos to be available to clients on a membership basis? So we are not selling a prerecorded library.

Um, it's just too much work. And my feeling is if I'm going to do, if something's going to be like I'm going to try to make a video's good as like you guys are producing it plays any time. I don't have, I don't have the tech for that. They're going to get this. And so if I'm going to try to sell a top notch video to a client that's not really top notch, why wouldn't they just go to plays any time or Nike or one of the big brands that are selling the Hollywood version of what you're doing? Um, we really want to speak to out client-based. That's right here in our community. They already, they already know what the brand is. They've already been here. And if they're new clients that coming in probably be from a fro Ruffo from a friends. Oh, they've always wanted to try it and they were too embarrassed and now they can try it from home and not be embarrassed. But, um, we're not, we're not really investing in that.

Yeah. I kind of say if, if the question Maria is, you know, how do you get into know parties, any times video subscription business and the people we compete with, we started this 10 years ago, so we'd been doing it for awhile, but there are pieces of people, companies that sell a software service where you, all you'd have to do is produce the content and upload it and they'll do everything else for you. Um, there's a service within Vimeo, not Venmo, the payment, but Vimeo, the video company, and there's Namaste stream. But there's lots of other companies that do it. Um, we've seen lots of people start on their services and it's not that easy to be successful and everybody's going to say, well, you would say that you don't want more competitive, then we have lots of competitors, but, um, there's a pretty big investment to really build up that category there. So unless you're really just servicing people you have an existing relationship with, then I kind of caution people to answer the market. But clearly, you know, do it if you wish. It's not an inexpensive thing to do. Yeah. And just to add to that real quick, what I would focus on is more speciality information. So if you have a large population in your studio that are, have some sort of ailment, like again the lower back thing, I would create like a lower back class for those people. They already know you, they already come in the studio. Um, I would do more specialized content rather than the get fit or plot is stuff on that same kind of subject.

Have you used the new video library feature on mind, body online? Um, we've played with it. I don't think they're ready yet. I love my body and my, but I don't think they're ready yet. Okay. Um, if you're using zoom, how do you see 30 people in the class? You don't?

Yeah. I just, just a little bit about the zoom screen. The number of little thumbnails that you have on the screen is dictated by how powerful your computer is because it's rendering an awful lot of video to do that. So for most people kind of caps out at 25 on your page and then you have to swipe to see the next 25 so if you're doing a group class and you're expecting to do corrections, verbal corrections, and check everybody out. And Louise and I were talking about it earlier and if I, if you think that the thing that I'm wrong in this categorization, but it's about 10 people, is about the number of people you can focus on and give verbal corrections and cues to. Once you're beyond that, you're really just teaching to a computer and you're hoping that everybody is following along successfully. So it goes really, you and Louise talks about her pricing. She talks about, I've forgotten the words, small privates private. Yeah. And she kept those a 10 and anything up to that point, she feels that she can give individual attention, which is why she prices at that point. It's beyond 10.

It's, you know, it's like a dance party. You can't see everything that's going on anymore. Um, so hopefully that answered your question there. I mean, I will, we, our next step is to plug in a TV screen, but we have, but that's not going to give us more, is this going to make everybody bigger? That's the next step. It's an old television that we happen to have. I mean, I haven't done it yet, so I don't know how it's going to be, but that's my next step. Yeah. Uh, this question's from Deborah. Um, have you discounted your regular rates for the zoom classes?

Initially? Yes. Um, because we were scrambling, um, so before we had for mat classes we had this drop-in rate that was quite high to discourage people from doing a drop in rate. It was $27 because the new student special is $69. And so we want the client to come multiple times when we have the studio open because we know that they're going to like the product once they've been. So the zoom initial dropping class rate is only 10, but the membership mimic the membership that we were giving away. And so now we're beginning to take things back up.

So the drop in fee is going up to 50 Dean, I think it's got to 15 the membership is going up to 89 and everybody, we were very transparent. We're like, this is a limited time. It's going to be for the next, I think it was 60 days. We're just giving it this way because we're trying to figure out the tech and it's not going to be perfect. So we kind of wanted them to know that we may lose you while we're teaching. Um, but now we're getting ourselves together and a little bit more organized. Now we're going, okay, we're ready.

And our client base is support is supporting that for sure. I have a question here from Scott. Do you like Bluetooth or the microphone in the computer better? You know, so this would be the earbuds like this or do you like into your computer? I'm undecided.

The weird thing about the headphones in here is that you feel like you're on an airplane a little bit when you're teaching. Um, I'm undecided, I'm undecided on that one. I go back and forth. I think my response to you, Scott there is what exactly is it you're trying to, what's the problem you're trying to solve so that if for instance you're teaching and you're doing a relatively small amount of demonstration, so you're fairly close to the computer and probably the microphone and your laptop is going to be the best solution. If you're further away and that microphone is really not picking up what you're doing, then I would go with the air boats, the Bluetooth earbuds. However, as Louise and I have found out as we were doing a tech rehearsal yesterday, shit goes wrong. We were trying to pair Louise's earbuds with her laptop.

We spent 15 minutes trying to do it. It worked. Louise tells me an hour before it didn't work during that time. So every time you add another level of complexity, it's something else that can go wrong. And you know your clients are going to be there on the hour at say 10 o'clock to expect you to be ready. And so I always encourage people to go with a simplest technology setup they can have, cause there's less things to go wrong. Yeah.

The microphone in your laptop with a camera in your laptop is pretty much, yeah, a robust solution that's always going to work. So that's kind of where my, my F your, your style is. So my, my needs today, and this webinar's a little bit different to teaching, so I'm just going to show you kind of what I have here. I have a one of these kinds of microphones, which is all about podcasts style things. It's right in front of me. I'm speaking to it and it's a different kind of knee. But this is total overkill for most people, for what they're teaching. Yeah. I would just add to that one thing, John, if you have clients that are hard of hearing, so you're working with more senior population and it's the, you're doing chair exercises, having the Bluetooth capability, if you don't have any trouble, is better for them because you can be louder and you know they're not going to be able to hear you if you're away from the computer.

And there's this turned up all the way. That's the only, how about that, uh, the production team at plot has any time published a blog post today. Maybe geo can put it in the chat and we have links to equipment that we recommend. Um, we're not in, we're not getting money for this when there's no endorsement. It was just kind of like, these are things that we've found a pretty robust, so they generally work. But think about what is the problem you're trying to solve with this purchase. And a lot of cases just talking into your laptop is going to work great and don't get any more complicated.

Dolly is asking when you open the studio where you need to wear face masks to teach? Yes. And I'm, yes, we're going to have to wear face masks. Um, I think doing privates will be fine. Um, I've, I wore a face mask for a very long period of time when I was sick for about a year I had to wear a face mask and I'll tell you it's not pleasant and you don't get used to it. But if people are motivated, they're wear them. Um, and I think it's just going to be, we're going to have to see how it goes. The private training, I think we'll be fine. Um, it's hard to talk to somebody like this. I find like this morning in my coffee shop I smiled when I smiled. I'd like big eyes, like I'm smiling right now. Um, I think it's gonna be a wait and see what happens, but we'll definitely have to wear face masks for sure. Yet.

This is from Debbie. What type of classes are you offering to a place, your reformer classes, traditional math classes? Um, I'm actually just about to add a riff, a live virtual reformer class. We um, before we had nine reformers, we're going to go down to six and then space them probably seven feet apart if we have space more than that. Um, and we have fortunate that we have multiple doors into the studios. There's going to be like an in and an outdoor and then wearing the masks and we're not sure how it's going to go. We're going to see how it goes when they get him. I think the question might've been not the physical classes, but if you had to on an online schedule and reformer classes.

Yeah, we've been, it's a little bit in that base. We just began like this Saturday will be the first time we actually teach an equipment class. Um, no it's going to be fewer numbers. So I'm teaching it so I don't have to worry about if I'm paying someone by head pay a teacher to do it, I'm just going to pay myself. So if I only have three people, it's not a big deal. But I'm serving that market about community cause that's what people are asking for.

Yeah. When I spoke to Maria Leoni, I think it was last week, she talked about reformer on the mat and I just see that Kelly has put that into the chat as well. That's what her studio is calling it. Basically taking the um, the reformer programming. Yeah. Just doing the same programming but doing it on the map. Yeah. With a nine foot band. That's what we use. Do you have any clients reluctant to pay the same price for virtual privates as they do for, um, in person?

Um, no and I, not that I know of. Um, we began to reach out him individually to clients and a couple of weeks ago we had a focus group with clients and we had the uh, zoom focus group. That was an interesting thing to do. We sent out a Q and a and then people go on board. And for the most part, if they, if they can't afford it, then we're reaching out to, they'll be like, how can we serve you? Is there something that we can do? And we try to figure that out. We haven't had an awful lot of those. Yeah.

Yeah. Some of my other discussions, Kelly, what we've encouraged people to do, if they had a lot of people as we know are suffering, economic hardship all around the world, they don't have the same money coming in. So it may be they could afford to privates before and so they said, you know, we still want to serve you. Maybe you can come to our group classes less expensive or maybe cut it to once a week and come to the group. Um, there's a variety of ways of kind of doing that. But I think at the end of the day it's still, you know, as the teacher there, you still have this massive investment in your skills. You're still same teacher giving you the same amount of time and the same amount of energy. And by the way, you still have the same bills that you had before.

So yes, there's going to be people that expect it to be discounted, but I would encourage you to push back on that and just see if there's a way of doing it. And I, just to add to that, I would say that teaching online is way more exhausting than teaching in person. I am physically exhausted at the end of the day and I used to be able to do six to eight clients in a row. I can do one had to take a 1520 minute break, six people in one day I am, I maxed out. It's so much more, so much more energy is put into the virtual, the virtual arena. And by the way, I think that it's, if you're just spending all day doing zoom meetings, which is how will we run our business through zoom, I am exhausted at the end of the day. Focus on a screen. It is.

It's definitely in some ways probably as teachers should get paid more because it takes more focus. Plus when you're teaching the classes, you don't get to do just two reps and then stand up and walk around the room. You have to do all eight or 10 or 12 and at the end of the class you're like, that was a killer workout for sure. Colleen has a question here. Is it possible to deliver a good product session for a group with a tablet that cannot be plugged into the internet? Uh, are there blurriness soundly, like that kind of thing, that type of issue?

Um, I'm not, I, we just installed, this is still on a laptop, it's called webcam. It's an app that you can buy in iTunes [inaudible] and it talks to the camera in your, in your computer. So I'm assuming it will do the same on the tablet. So if you're in the app store and you just type in like webcam, you'll get a bunch of apps. None of them are very highly rated. There's only been like two or three stars and a max of like 20 to 50 people rating them. So we just installed it. It was like seven 99 my husband, who's the tech person in our relationship is like, it's great. And I was like I don't notice any different. But you can explore apps for sure.

Yeah I don't, it depends. Colleen, what, I don't know for your is which tablet you have. You know if you have like a, an older iPad then um, yeah that's a tougher, tougher product to be able to do. And all of the iPads as an example of a tablet, you cannot put an ethernet cable into them. Pretty much all of them. So it's going to be through wifi and if you're just trying to get back into simplifying like what's the simplest setup I can have. That's why we recommend a wired connection over a wireless just cause there's less things to go wrong. But if you have a, an iPad which has a decent internet connection cause it's close to where the wifi based station is and it's got a good camera, relatively modern. I don't see any reason why you couldn't, couldn't do it that way.

The other thing to think about is you probably have a cell phone. So if you have like a, you know, an iPhone or, you know, high end I enjoyed is going to have a great camera and you could do the whole thing through that so that Mmm. You know, this applies to everybody. If you have a question, I don't know if I can answer them all, but John at parties, anytime J O H N M hopefully that helped. Colleen Dolly has a question. When you open your studio where you require clients to wear socks and or gloves.

Um, I definitely, I would say socks. I don't know. I haven't really thought about the glove thing. Mmm. Katie and I, just in the middle of writing up our safety, health and safety procedures, in my mind, what I say is walk in the door, wash your hands. That's the first thing that you're going to do. Um, it depends on if that compromised in their age and I dunno, that's a tough one. Yeah. There's, there's a whole bunch of things to think about with zoom is the, you know, you may have heard of these things called zoom bombing. So you're gonna have people enter your zoom session and if you enable the camera to be on, you know, they can show all kinds of disturbing, disgusting images. So think about how you set up your zoom meeting.

And what Louise is using is she's using the meeting software or what we're using today. This is zoom, but this is the webinar version of that software. So it's vague, kind of different. And if you're doing a class, I strongly encourage you to go for the meeting information. If you're the host, when the whole thing is over, you do get some information. This particular question is, does it record who is in the room? I do not know the answer to that if they're not on mute. I mean in terms of my recording, right? No, no, not recording the video, but recording John came to the session.

Oh no, you have so fit grid. It will tell us who was there live and who, who wasn't. And it'll tell us when they watch the video. So when you set up to think about what are the settings you've got there and what you need from it. Um, and uh, there's some really, really good tutorial videos in the zoom FAQ section. I strongly encourage people to read those and make sure they understand it.

Cause the last thing you want is some weird person messing up your polarities class. I will say John that soon just updated the safety net I guess. And you can have a password protected link. You could do that for clients too, but they did just update it. Yeah. I don't think zoom zoom, if you set it up wrong, is vulnerable to zoom bombing. He set it up correctly. You'll be really, really safe. Yeah. Um, Joanne put in the chat in terms of using a tablet that she's using a tablet with Bluetooth earbuds and she's having a lot of success.

Thank you Joanne for adding that. I try and always it finish on time. It's a whole hour and I'm sorry to the people who I haven't answered their questions to here. Um, but we just have to do it next time. I will be back on Tuesday and Thursday next week. My guests next week are Madeline black on Tuesday and on Thursday it's Cara research for Kara. Uh, it's ask Kara reset anything. Oh, I think I'm going to be on that one.

You just have to email the questions and if it's too personal, homes may not ask. It depends on how many questions we have. But um, thank you so much Louise. Yeah, no problem. And uh, it's wonderful to talk to you. I hope to get to visit your studio in person one of these days. That would be great. Thank everybody that is on the call. I really appreciate you joining us. If you have questions for me, it's John or Pilates anytime if you have questions for Karisa support at parties anytime. And that's where we do all our customer service. So thank you very much. Thank you Louise.

Comments

2 people like this.
Thank you very much for all of the insight. I love these broadcasts, and I love the spirit of community that Pilates Anytime is creating.
2 people like this.
Thankyou so much, these webinars are so helpful
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Extremely useful 
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thank you so much. Very useful! Good to know that I am not alone with this! 

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