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Recording at Home - Audio and Video Best Practices

Framing

If using a smartphone to record, hold your device in the landscape position.

Position your face in the middle of the frame (window) and be sure that there is an even amount of space above your head (headroom) and your shoulders. Hold your camera straight out in front of your eyes—you don’t want the camera to be too high (someone is looking down your shirt!) or too low (Eww, we're looking up your nose!). 

If using a computer webcam to record, consider the many free recording software programs available. Be sure to research the best option for your PC or laptop. Position your face in the middle of the frame (window) and be sure that there is an even amount of space above your head (headroom) and your shoulders. Arrange your computer camera straight out in front of your eyes—you don’t want the computer camera to be too high (someone is looking down your shirt!) or too low (Eww, we're looking up your nose!). Consider stacking your laptop on books, a box or a stand if needed.

Position/Tone

If possible, look directly into your camera lens when speaking, as much as you might ordinarily look someone in the eyes when talking to them. Imagine reading this segment to a good friend or child. You can hear a smile in someone's voice, so try to smile more often than you might normally. Particularly during these unprecedented times, we want to instill a sense of positivity.

Reading as You Record

If you’re recording on your smartphone, place the text beyond the view of your phone and read “through” the device as you record.

   

 

If the webcam is near the top of your screen, position the text toward the top of your browser and scroll as you read.

If the webcam is near the bottom of your screen, position the text toward the bottom of your browser and scroll as you read.

 

Background

Pay attention to the background of your shot. Include plants, framed artwork and elements of a non-personal nature. Do not record in a space that is cluttered or contains items of personal nature (family portraits, credit card statements, etc.)

Lighting

If recording indoors, position yourself as close as you can to any windows to utilize as much natural light as you can. Record in a bright space to highlight your entire face/torso. This is also taking into consideration your background as mentioned above. 

If recording outdoors, be sure that your face is clearly visible and the lighting on your face is not too harsh (blinding brights and too-dark shadows on your face), or that you are standing directly in front of the sun (halo effect behind your head, or your face is too dark and obscured).

 

Also be mindful of your skin tone and the best lighting for your complexion.

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Audio

Speak clearly and with conviction. If holding a smartphone or cellular device, be sure that your hand is not covering your microphone. Listen to your take. If it sounds like the "teacher from Charlie Brown,” your hand may have been covering the microphone.

 

Before Sending Along

Watch the video. Look for weird things or bad lighting. Listen for bad audio or loud distractions. Reshoot if needed. HOWEVER, your take does not need to be perfect. We may be able to “fix that in post”! ;-)