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.
These tips are intended to be a ‘best effort’ set of suggestions – don’t worry if you can’t manage every single one.
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 (or in many cases better) than 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.
- Leave a few seconds at the beginning and end of your recording, so that we can make edits at the best point.
To improve editing
- To make it easier for us to slot your recording in to whatever is being produced, start your recording a few seconds before you actually start speaking, and end it a few seconds after you are done. Removing a few seconds of silence is easily done, and means we have more flexibility in how we edit things together.
For better sound
- 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 the microphone and talk to that.
For better video
- Avoid holding the recording device if at all possible. 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.
- 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 usually 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.