Guide to record yourself

Guide to recording yourself for instructional videos

In eLearning Basics by Eoin O'Neill

It wasn’t too long ago before we all found it funny where the BBC interview where Professor Robert Kelly was interrupted by his children and wife on national TV and thought we would never experience something like that… how wrong we were! 

Almost overnight, we all had to find nice spots in our homes to attend our meetings and record videos with decent lighting, almost no background noise, and if possible, avoiding any interruptions from our kids and pets. It seems only a true video ninja could manage all of that. 

That is why in this post we have compiled our best tips for recording yourself, so you can concentrate on the most important thing: your messaging. We have helped numerous subject matter experts and managers to deliver high-quality video materials, so you are in good hands. 

The first step you need to consider before starting your recordings is a prior evaluation of the place(s) where you would like to record yourself. This way you will identify if you need to make some changes in your layout, or get any additional gear, such as: 

Tripod

A tripod (or even a stack of books) will help you to have stability and the best angle for your video. Place it in front of your seat so that you have control over the camera’s stability and its positioning. 

tripod

Camera

Either a professional camera or your phone will work perfectly, just make sure your camera is placed horizontally (landscape position). 

Your camera needs to be at eye level. Looking down or up at the camera is not as flattering and can make your chin and neck look out of proportion to your face. Frame yourself in the middle of the screen so that there is not too much space above your head.  

Make sure you are looking directly at the camera. If you are using a mobile phone – remember that the camera lens is to the side of the screen, so you must be aware of where it is located and focus on looking directly at it, instead of at yourself on the screen. 

camera

Lighting

Good lighting is key to producing a professional-looking video that is pleasing to the eye. If you are indoors, sit close to a window or any other light source. If the light from your window is not enough, you can get some extra lighting gear that you can position very close to your camera lens to reduce hard shadows.  

You also want to be sure that the light is bright enough to highlight your face and minimize shadows. This also will darken the background and put the focus on you. Choose an intensity that mimics daylight, (5000 – 6500K). That way your video will look natural and true to colour, and also make you look younger (another bonus!). 

lighting

Audio

Choose a quiet room and shut down all programs and devices that make sounds. Do not forget about pets or children that could cause an interruption. 

After this, do some audio testing to identify if the microphone in your camera or phone is as good as you need it to be. If you decide to use an additional microphone, place it as close to you as possible. The closer you are to the microphone, the clearer your voice will be, with any background noises diminished. 

audio

Additional Tips

Now that you have found the perfect place and got all the gear you need, you can focus on the following points:

Background and Clothing

It is best to shoot your video with a background that is plain or at least is not cluttered. The best clothing for the camera is a solid color long-sleeve shirt, sweater, or jacket. Patterns or prints can be distracting. Jewel tones and pastels are better than white for the camera. Do not wear jewelry that moves and makes noise.

Prepare your speech/answers to questions

Write a detailed script ahead of time. Planning will give you time to thoroughly think through all the very best ideas and props you have put into your video. In addition, by nailing your lines, there will be a lot less useless footage to waste your time later when you go to edit it.

If you are going to be interviewed, ask for the questions in advance (if possible) to prepare answers that really deliver the message you want to get across.

Teleprompter

If your script is full of essential details and every word must be precise, using a teleprompter would be a great option for you, especially if you intend on presenting your piece to the camera uncut and without camera angle changes.

However, if you want to capture emotion or inspire empathy, a teleprompter would not be the right option. It can be difficult to come across as genuine while reading every word off of a screen. There are many free teleprompter options online so there is no need to invest in a teleprompter device or app. Do some trials to see which option will work best for you.

When recording videos, you must place your screen with the teleprompter as close to your camera as possible, elevated to your eye level. Decide which font size is the easiest to read from the distance you will be sitting at and find the ideal speed for the text to move to allow you to speak at a natural pace. Practice is important.

Sound and camera check

Before starting your first take, do some test recordings and watch them back, to verify everything is working and looks and sounds as you want.

If necessary, change the angle of your camera to make sure you are in the correct position and move items out of the shot if they are cropped at the edge or overlapping your head. If there is any background noise, close any open doors and turn off any other devices you are not using.

self recording

Whether you are just getting started, or you are a video master, you have learned some of the key strategies to create successful instructional self-recorded materials. If you need further assistance about creating videos for your training materials, just get in touch with us.

We can assist you with the overall creation of your eLearning strategy to identify the best way possible to include your videos in your learning modules, and so much more.