My Top Five Tips for Recording Your Own Video Successfully

Home » My Top Five Tips for Recording Your Own Video Successfully

With the calibre of smart phone cameras these days, filming your own content can be a cost-effective way to get started creating videos for your business.

However, remember that any video content you put out is a representation of your brand.

Here are my top five tips to ensure that the video you record is top-notch and usable.

Tip #1: Record in the format that best suits the platform your audience are on.

I used to tell everyone to always record their videos in landscape (holding your phone horizontal) – I am broadcast trained, it’s ingrained in me, and what looks best on a TV or movie screen… HOWEVER nowdays with the majority of video being viewed on mobile devices, there is a whole range of other video formats to decide between now, so it really does come down to which platform you are making your videos for. If you are making your videos for your website or YouTube for example, I would still recommend going landscape/horizontal, but if its soley for Instagram then portrait or square is your best bet.

“What if I want to use my video across multiple platforms?” I hear you asking… In that case record in Landscape, as you can reformat when you edit your video, but ‘chopping’ off the edges to make square or portrait. While its pretty much impossible to add on extra sides to a square video to make it 16:9 without cropping and loosing a lot of the other edges of your video.

If you are filimg for multiplatform, bear in mind where you are postion or the action of your video happens on the screen, as you will loose some edges converting a landscape video to a square video, and even more converting it to a portrait video for your stories feed.

Tip #2: Stabilise your camera

Nobody likes shaky footage, unless you are making a Blair Witch style film!

To avoid shaky footage:

  1. Turn on the image stabliser. If available you will find this option in your camera settings menu. Some phone cameras have this automatically inbuilt. Image stabliser helps reduce any camera shake being noticable into your footage. It can only do so much though….So…
  2. Use a tripod. You can get minitripods especially for phones, or adapters so you can use your phone on a full size tripod, if you happen to have one. A selfie stick is another option, however since your are still holding it there will inevitably be some movement captured.
  3. If you don’t have a tripod, get creative and see what other options there are around to keep your phone still and steady. You may think you can hold it without moving, but after 30 seconds or so of recording I’ll bet your arms start to shake! A stack of books to rest your phone on, your phone case positioned just so, a shelf…. (just try and keep your phone eye level and bear in mind the angle of yourself / your subjects you will be capturing!
  4. If you really, really, REALLY, have to hold your phone while you record… (I say that with a sigh!) then brace yourself as much as possible by keeping your elbows close to your body and perhaps only film really short videos.

Tip #3: Think about your lighting. 

You want to aim for even lighting across your whole video so think about where your light soucre is coming from.

Don’t film with a really bright background behind you (a window, or the sun for example) as you will find either you/your subject is a silhouette, or the window is burnt out. It is much better to perpendicular to the window instead.

If you are filming outside, think about where shadows are falling. Its much better to film complete in the shade than to have odd shadows fall across the main subject of your shot (your face for example).

Inside, it is better to use light sources coming from the side as oppose to straight above you to avoid shiny foreheads or odd shadows.

As long as you have even lighting across your shot you can always boost, or decrease slightly in editing, which you can’t do as easily if you have patches of both dark and bright lighting in your shot.

Tip #4: Check your background for anything that might be distracting or offputting for our audience.

Overflowing public bins, branches that look like they are growing out of your head, really messy desks or bookshelves, other people doing something irrelevant, a dog ‘doing its business’… can all divert your audiences attention away from the main purpose of your video. Before you hit record choose your location carefully so that your background compliments your video rather than detracts from it.

Oh, and while you are at it, switch your phone to flight mode as well, to avoid any distraction from incoming calls or notifications. There you go, that’s a bonus tip for you!

Tip #5: Think about what your video will sound like. Your audience need to hear what you are saying clearly.

I probably should have had this as tip #1 as sometimes audio is even MORE important than the visuals of your video. I mean if your audience can’t hear or understand what you are saying then what’s the point?

Unless you are in a really quiet place (and I mean really, really quiet, like a car with the engine off, windows closed, and no children in it!, or the back of your closest (really its a thing podcasters do!) then you probably don’t want to rely on the inbuild microphone on your phone. We all know how great they are at picking up every.single.noise in the backgrond while we are on the phone.

Instead use an external microphone for the best results. Either a Lapel/lavelier microphone that the person in the video wears (*discreetly, with cables nicely hidden under clothes) or a shotgun mic attached to your phone.

If you don’t have an external microphone, your other option is to use the sound recorder app on a second phone, placed as close as possible to the person in the video (but hidden from shot if possible). You then sync the video with the audio afterwards. Another bonus tip, if you are using this method, get your subject to clap loudly at the start of filming to make syncing together easier – and to avoid looking like a dodgy lip sync video!

So there you have it, my top 7 tips to achieve some great DIY videos. If you have any questions feel free to get in touch, or leave a comment below.

Whether you are curious about how you could use video within your business, or champing at the bit to get started, I’d love to have a chat. Shoot me a message, or give me a call. I love connecting with other local business owners!

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