Tips for recording video messages at home
Follow these tips to help improve the quality of your videos when recording from home.
Preparing to Record
- Choose a recording device you’re comfortable with. For most people, that will be a smartphone, but a laptop or plug-in webcam will work as well.
- Set the camera at eye level or a little higher. A slight downward angle is more flattering than looking up at one’s neck and nose. It’s the same principle as taking better selfies.
- Make sure your face is well lit and your background is not. If possible, stand by a window so the natural light falls on your face, but the window itself is not in the camera frame. Do not position yourself with a window or other bright light source behind your head because it will cause your face to be silhouetted. If you’re recording after sundown, position yourself so a lamp is casting flattering light on your face from above, but make sure it’s not creating harsh shadows.
- Inspect your surroundings. Notice what’s visible behind and around you in the camera frame. Pick up any clutter and other distracting items. Make sure your setting fits the tone of your message to the extent you can.
- Record in a quiet place. Listen for ambient sounds. Anything you can hear — the TV on in the other room, people’s conversations, car horns or landing airplanes outside — will likely be audible on the recording.
- Silence your phone/tablet/smart watch. Don’t just put your devices on vibrate mode, turn off all notifications that may distract you during recording. You may even want to put your phone in another room unless you’re using it to record the video.
- If you’re using a smartphone to record, position it on its side to produce a horizontal video. Vertical videos often don’t work well on video sharing platforms like YouTube. Make sure the phone is already on its side when you press record. And make sure your face is mostly centered in the frame.
- If you’re using a computer to record, close all other programs on your computer and turn on Do Not Disturb mode. This keeps your computer running as fast as possible and prevents notifications from popping up while you’re recording.
- Plan out what you want to say and practice your message on camera. Record as many takes as you need until you feel comfortable with the end product.
- Look into the camera, not at the screen. The camera is the little dot at the top of your laptop monitor which might have a light. Try to maintain “eye contact” with the camera and don’t let your gaze wander too often.
- Mind your body language. Try not to touch your face. Sit up straight. Keep your chin up and your shoulders down.
- Keep it brief. Most people won’t watch a video for longer than a couple minutes. Say the most important thing(s) at the beginning of the video.
- Pause at the beginning and end of your message. Count to 5 in your head after you hit record before you begin speaking. When you’re done, count to 5 again before you stop the recording.
After you’re done recording
- Take a still photo of yourself to accompany the video. Most video platforms ask for a thumbnail image to accompany the video, and if they don’t have one will pick a frame from the video. Creating your own still image by taking a photo of yourself where you like how you look will ensure that the preview/thumbnail will be one you’re happy with.
- Watch the recording to make sure you’re happy with it.