We’ve put together a list of hints and tips for making sure things you record (or stream live) are to the best quality possible.
We highly recommend if you do nothing else, watch this video on speaking to camera. It’s got some great tips on how to make what you do more engaging.
Before you start
- Don’t think that the only way to do this is with professional equipment. If you have an external camera, microphone etc then feel free to use them (if you know how), but otherwise don’t worry. A modern mobile phone will do just as well as a lot of professional equipment.
- Relax. Being in front of a camera or microphone can be off-putting, but remember that people value what you are doing for the content. Nobody is expecting airbrushed faces and studio-quality sound.
- Make a plan. Know what you want to say and do in advance, so you’re not stumbling to find the words.
- Rehearse if you have time. If you’ve gone through something even once before then your brain is more prepared.
- Get your space ready. Make sure there aren’t any distractions and close the door.
- Warm up. You’ll look a bit silly, but you’ll sound better afterwards.
Things you must try to do
We strongly recommend you do these things, as they make a huge difference to the overall quality of the recording and the ease with which it can be used.
- After pressing the record button, take time to get yourself into position and get comfortable. Before you start speaking, count slowly to five in your head. Do the same once you finish speaking before you move to press the stop button. Those extra few seconds are easily removed, and make it easier to edit recordings together.
- Avoid holding the recording device. If you have a tripod then this is a great way to hold a device still, but you can also get away with propping it on a chair, mantelpiece or even a clothes airer. Hand-held videos have their place, but if you are just speaking to the camera the wobble can be very distracting and even make people feel sea-sick.
- If you absolutely must hold the device in your hands, try resting your elbows on the back of a chair to reduce movement.
Tips for better sound
If you want to improve the quality of your sound recording, try the following.
- Keep extra noise to a minimum. It’s not possible to eliminate every sound, but getting rid of as many as possible helps bring what you’re recording to the fore. Think about sounds you might not even notice usually – is the washing machine running?
- Speak clearly, aiming at a point behind whatever is recording your voice. Try talking to the far wall. If it helps, stick a photo of someone else behind whatever is doing the recording and talk to that.
Tips for better video
- Unless you’re aiming for the ‘selfie’ effect, make sure you’re filming in landscape mode. This isn’t to say that landscape is necessarily ‘better’ – if you think what you’re doing will come across better in portrait, please feel free.
- Make sure you’re positioned well in the video frame. You should be able to see your entire head and shoulders, and a bit of the background around you. Remember that we can always zoom video in after it’s been recorded, but we can’t zoom it back out.
- Avoid using a digital zoom if at all possible. Move your camera backwards and forwards instead.
- Make sure you’re well lit. Don’t dazzle yourself, but try and make sure there is an even light across your whole face. You might want to move a lamp or two. If in doubt, record a test and play it back – can you see yourself properly?
- Avoid bright lights from behind you (this can include windows) unless you want to appear as a mysterious silhouette.
- If you’re using your phone, try to use the back camera rather than the front. Don’t worry if you need to set it recording and then step back around into the frame – we’ll chop that out during editing. You’ll also be less tempted to look at the video screen, and more tempted to look at the camera.