Tips on Recording Video at Home

How to set up your smartphone or computer for recording

  • Open Settings
  • Swipe down and tap "Camera"
  • Tap "Record Video"
  • Select "4K at 24 FPS or 30FPS"
  • Open your Camera settings
  • Android phone settings vary, but most have options for video, choose 4K if available, if not, choose the highest setting available. For example, use either QHD or FHD or 1080P.
  • If the FPS (Frames Per Second) option is available, choose 24FPS or 30FPS.
  • If you can’t film on your phone, your computer is also an option.
  • You can record using the Camera app on Windows 10, Quicktime on Mac or any other preferred software.
  • We ask that you avoid using Zoom to record your video because the quality is so low.
  • Place your smartphone in landscape orientation (horizontal) unless you are recording for social media and you have been requested to film a portrait style video.

How to record audio

  • Use a dedicated microphone, if possible. Place it six to 10 inches away from your mouth.
  • If you don’t have a dedicated microphone, you can use the wired headphones that came with your iPhone as a microphone.
    • You can use the wired microphone button to start and stop recording.
  • Apple Airpods can also be used as a Bluetooth microphone, but make sure that they are fully charged and that all bluetooth devices are off.
  • If you are just using your device to record, do not sit further than three feet away from the phone.
  • Avoid sitting near large appliances, vents and air conditioners. They emit more noise than you realize.
  • Regardless of how you decide to record your audio, before you do your actual recording of your video, try to do a quick 10 second recording to check the sound. Play back the recording to make sure the sound is okay. If the recording with the headphones or airpods don’t sound great, just use your phone.

How to shoot your video

  • Before you start filming, write a script for what you plan on saying. You shouldn’t read on camera what you’ve just written, but the script should help you think out your idea for the video before you start filming.
  • If you have a time constraint on your video, you can use this website to approximately calculate how long your video will be by converting your script to the time it will take to read it.
  • Use the natural light from a window. Your face should be facing the window.
  • Use available window light, room lamps and external light sources. Avoid fluorescent lights if possible, they can cause a pattern to appear in your video at  frame rates.
  • Use a desk lamp to evenly illuminate the face.  If the light is too strong, point it at a white surface or wall bouncing light back into your face.
  • To adjust the focus and exposure, tap and hold the screen on the main subject (you). The exposure and focus should look okay. If not, keep tapping on the main subject until the lighting looks right.
Man seated at a desk in front of a window recording video of himself. Another man in the background
  • Fill the subject with the frame and be mindful of your backdrop.
  • Avoid a stark white background if you can. Situate yourself in front of bright windows. 
  • Make sure that the window is in front of you, not behind you.
  • Stay away from backdrops that are cluttered and make sure you have enough space between you and that backdrop so that you don’t cast a distracting shadow.  
  • Make sure that you are not magnifying your image artificially (zooming in on yourself with your phone’s camera). Zooming in on your phone will make your video look pixelated.
  • If you are using the “Zoom” app to record from your computer, DO NOT use the virtual background unless you need to for security purposes.
  • However, if must use a virtual background because you do not want anyone to be able to identify your surroundings, please use a branded Columbia background. You can find them in the Columbia Photo Library, which is available to anyone with a UNI.
    • You’ll need to click the “view photos” tab, log in with your UNI, and then you’ll be on a page where you can type “zoom” in the search function.

Watch this video for more tips on how to look professional for a Zoom meeting or a video recording.