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How to Make a Great Video

23 April

Video is a great way to tell people about your project. We have collected some great tips for shooting yourself on video from Nick Montgomery of Merc Media:

Place the camera at eye level. Use a tripod (if available), or any stable surface that is level with your eye. The camera shouldn’t be shooting up your nose or down at you. One other option is to get someone to hold the camera for you but watch that it doesn’t get too shaky in their hands.

Fill the frame with your lovely face. Get close enough to the camera so that your smiling face fills the frame enough. Leave a small gap between the top of your head and the top of the frame (this is called “head room”).

Place yourself just left or right of the centre of the frame. Rather then put yourself dead-centre in the middle of the frame, place yourself just left or right of it. This is more appealing to the eye.

Choose a good-looking background. The background should compliment you, but not distract the viewer from you. If it’s a wall, put some distance between your back and the wall to create some depth.

Pick a quiet spot to record. You’d be simply amazed at what sounds the mic pick up. Listen really closely to what the room sounds like. Ticking clocks, running refrigerators/vents, outdoor noise…all of these things contribute to bad audio but can be easily solved. Ask anyone nearby if they would mind being completely quiet for 15 minutes while you record. Or even better, tell them to go for a coffee break away from your recording spot.

Get yourself close to the mic. If you’re using an external microphone to record your voice, place it as close to yourself as you can without getting it in the frame. If you’re using the camera mic, get yourself as close to it as you can. Speak with a clear, proud voice (just don’t shout). If you can see audio levels on your camera, make sure that when you speak you don’t see them going into the red. If you do that, that means your audio is “peaking” and is too loud.

Talk to someone off-camera. Rather than look directly into the camera, ask someone to sit right beside the camera (they can handle operating the camera for you so you have one less thing to worry about). Look at them and speak your answers to them. This lets you sound more conversational and natural. They can lead you into your answer by first asking you the questions.

Take a breath and smile. Before each speaker starts, I always ask them to take a deep breathe in and out, smile and then start talking. It really helps to loosen you up and improves your expression and delivery.

Do a couple of takes. Once you’ve recorded one take of you delivering your answer, try it again. You’ll probably find that the first take warmed you up and you’ll deliver it better a second time. Plus the editor always loves to have choices between a handful of good takes.

Review it. Play it back, listen to it. Make sure you clearly spoke and that both the video and audio turned out well before calling it a day.