Video Best Practices

This content identifies recommended best practices for using video in online learning.

The most important thing to focus on is the content of your video. Regardless of how great your videos look and sound if nobody wants to watch them, what’s the point?

Practice, practice, practice. The more times you record yourself on camera, the better you’ll get.

Once you’ve got the content figured out and your onscreen presence is dialed in, here are a few tips for creating even better videos.


What Equipment Do I Need?

Woman using laptop webcam

Regardless of your setup, there are only 3 things you’ll need to produce videos:

  1. camera

  2. mic

  3. light

Start by using your computer's webcam or your smartphone. Adjust your chair height, stack books, or use whatever you might have to get your camera at eye level for the most flattering angle. Sit facing a window or set up a lamp behind your computer for better lighting. You can use smartphone earbuds for better-quality audio.


Pick a Quiet Location

  • To start, find a comfortable spot at home or in a quiet area where you can obtain good even lighting and minimize distractions from outside noises that can be picked up easily on your microphone.

  • Take a moment to consider the background and ask yourself what you want the students to see and how that might affect their learning experience. It’s helpful to minimize clutter and awkward items. Although the home recording experience can help students and viewers learn a little information about you and even help personalize the remote learning experience, you want to limit distractions.


Look for Good lighting

  • Finding a good source of light for your webcam is key to making your videos look better. You want to avoid recording in a dim room, sitting directly below overhead lighting, or having a bright window or light behind you.

  • Indirect light from a window in front of you or slightly off to either side works well as it illuminates your face. A lamp placed behind your laptop or webcam can also provide better lighting for the camera.


Set Up Your Shot

Example of man properly framed for webcam recording at home
  • Framing your shot nicely helps keep the attention of your viewers on you and makes the overall video look clean and well-presented.

  • It helps to elevate your computer or the webcam so that the lens is about eye level or a little higher. An even eye-line provides a more comfortable perspective for the viewer. You can stack a few books to get the camera where you want it.

  • Keep an eye out for the spaces around your head to make sure you’re not giving yourself too much or too little headroom. Make sure there’s nothing behind you in the background that can be distracting. For example, a poorly placed plant can make it look like you have leaves sticking out of your ears.


Check Your Audio

  • The best way to ensure higher-quality audio is to use an external microphone. Preferably, you want to record with a headset, or with earbuds and a microphone that can be plugged into your computer. There are many affordable options available online.

  • If you are recording with a webcam or built-in camera microphone, it’s important to avoid areas where you might encounter background noise, loud A/C, wind, etc. If you can hear background noise through your earbuds, your students will be able to hear it in a lecture recording.


Get Ready to Record

  • Think about how you might dress for an in-person class. Although the students are, in effect, being invited into your home in the remote learning experience, it can be helpful to present yourself professionally.

  • When you’re ready to press record, a good idea is to do a quick test run and make sure everything is working properly. Record a quick, one-minute test video and play it back. Does your audio come through? Does the shot look clean, clear, and focused? It’s often easier to notice small details after you’ve finished recording your video, so this practice can help you catch anything that might be amiss.

  • As you’re delivering your lecture, remember to make eye contact with the camera when you want to address the students. Also, try to relax in front of the camera when you’re recording. It helps to use mannerisms and gestures that you would typically use in person.

We want you to produce the best possible remote learning videos for your students. If you get stuck, don’t worry. We’re always available to help. Email today!


Equipment Upgrade Options

The following are budget-friendly options. See mid-level options.

While this equipment will certainly bump up the quality of your remote productions, it’s definitely not necessary. Use the webcam built into your laptop or your smartphone. Adjust your chair height, stack books, or use whatever you might have to get your camera at eye level for a flattering angle. Sit facing a window or set up a lamp behind your computer for better lighting. You can usually use smartphone earbuds with a built-in mic for better-quality audio.

Webcam Video Production Equipment

Start by using what you have available and test record using different mics such as your computer’s built-in mic, earbuds mic, webcam mic, etc. Newer laptops often have great quality mics but remember you want to be as close to the mic as possible for the best possible recording.

The following remote video production equipment (or similar equivalents you can find) are some recommendations that will help make producing webcam videos a breeze.


Smartphone Video Production Equipment

The following items are inexpensive but help produce a high-quality video with equipment that’s sure to elevate your mobile videos.

For phones without a headphone jack:


Professional Quality Equipment

Contact to discuss what they use and recommendations

Helpful Videos

10 Online Teaching Tips beyond Zoom: Teaching Without Walls Episode 1


10 Ways to Look Better on a Webcam


How To Use Your Smartphone As A Webcam for FREE!




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