Quick Video Tips
- Avoid backlighting (i.e. windows or lights behind you); see the article on lighting linked below
- Frame your shot relatively close and tight versus wide and far — but remember that keeping enough space for your hand gestures to be visible may be helpful to your audience
- To create smaller file sizes that look better once compressed online, keep the webcam stationary
- Look directly at the webcam as much as possible to address your viewers, not at your computer screen
- For longer videos, it helps to write out a script ahead of time to reduce stumbling
- If possible, position yourself away from bare walls to minimize shadows
- Caption your videos for accessibility (guidance is available for YouTube and Panopto captioning) — if you script your videos, you can expedite captioning with your prepared text!
Video expert and Champlain College Montreal faculty member Adam Van Sertima and Core professor Liz Allen-Pennebaker discussed their favorite video quality strategies in an interview series, summarized in the following articles:
- Creating Good Video Lighting with Stuff You Already Have
- Backgrounds, Real and Virtual
- Looking Good on Camera
Liz and Adam also discussed some important pedagogical aspects of making videos:
- Plan to record a short test clip before you launch into your main video or audio recording to check your sound volume and quality
- Use a quiet room (no A/C, fans, or traffic; avoid rooms with a lot of echo typically caused by tile, cement, hardwood, etc.)
- Whenever possible, use an external microphone, like a desktop microphone or the microphone built into a headset
- In the audio settings on your device, make sure your desired input/mic is selected (sometimes software defaults to a computer’s inferior built-in mic), and adjust the input level to avoid distortion caused by too much volume.
- Position the mic close to your mouth; try to maintain the same distance throughout, talk toward it at all times, and be consistent with how loud you talk
- If your software has post-processing options for recorded audio, consider using a “normalize” function before saving to elevate your overall volume level as much as possible without overpowering the signal
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