Testimonial Recording

Here’s our tips for getting the most out of shooting your video at home.

Best Practices

  • Shoot in the highest quality your device allows: This will vary from camera to camera, but make sure it is at least 1080p.
    • If using an iPhone go to: Settings → Camera → Record Video → 4k @ 24fps
    • If you’re shooting on a prosumer camera (something like a DSLR or Mirrorless camera), we’re going to assume you know where your manual controls are and are at least a little bit familiar with them. If so make sure you’re at:
      • Your highest resolution
      • 24fps
      • Set your shutter to 1/50 or 1/60
      • While we love some great depth of field as much as the next production company, make sure you set your aperture at a place where the subject is fully in focus.
      • Adjust to the lowest value that is properly exposed.
      • If all this sounds like gibberish, you probably don’t need to worry about it.
  • Shoot in landscape: horizontal

Landscape (horizontal) = Great!

Portrait (vertical) = Great for photos and Instagram stories, but not great for this kind of video 😢

  • Stabilize your camera
    • Use a tripod if you have one. If not, that’s ok! Just grab a stack of books, a stool, a near by table, or really anything that you can set your camera on to make sure that it doesn’t move while you’re recording.
  • Say no to noise 🙅🏻‍♀️
    • There’s a lot of things in our day to day life that we’ve become accustomed to that make noise. While it’s totally fine while you’re sending emails, it becomes very apparent when you play back your recorded video. This most often comes in the form of things like fans, air conditioning units, or your mom yelling from downstairs to fold your laundry. Just make sure to close your eyes for a second and listen to see if you hear anything you wouldn’t want on your video. If you do, all you need to do is turn it off for the short time you’re recording (or let your mom know you’ll be down to fold, shortly).
    • If you’re in an an office, or have roommates, or are working in any area that tends to get traffic, make sure to lock your door and throw a note up asking that people not interrupt for the short time you’ll be recording.
  • Recording Audio
    • If you have a way to externally record audio, we’ll assume you know how to use it, and you should!
    • If you don’t know what an external microphone is, just focus on eliminating noise from your environment and you should fine.
  • Think About Your Environment: You don’t need to go and try to make a studio, but we’re willing to bet that some places in your home or office are more visually engaging than others.

Option 1: Not very visually appealing. When it’s the only option you make it work, but it’s never our first choice.

Option 2: By moving to a different area in the same house we now have a scene that is far more visually engaging than option 1, right?

  • Avoid Clutter: Take a minute to look around and see what your camera sees. Are there old water bottles and coffee mugs? Is there a stack of documents 6 inches high on your desk? Taking a minute to clean up can make a huge impact on what your final video will look like.

Remember Option 2? While it was way better than the blank wall, we can still improve on our frame by decluttering. Let’s get rid of the sheet music behind the face and crop in so we don’t see as many photos and trinkets bordering the frame.

Option 3: Now we finally have enough going on in the background to offer some insight into the personality of the person speaking, while not being so distracting that you stop listening to what they (you) have to say. This sweet spot is the goal.

  • Look For Natural Light: When you don’t have lighting equipment laying around it’s best to try and shoot in a room that has a lot of natural light. It will make your video (and you) look your best.
    • Setting up in rooms where you can be next to a large window is always a great choice
    • Avoid backlighting your subject (don’t put the window behind the person speaking on camera)

Bad: Backlighting the subject and almost no light in the room

Good: Next to an open window with natural light

  • Framing: For our purposes, framing is going to refer to where your subject is on screen and much like Goldilocks, the middle is just right

Bad: Uncomfortably close.

Bad: Way too far away. It makes the subject feel distant and small

Good: Just right. The subject is occupying the center 1/3rd of the frame. It almost feels like what you’d be looking at having a conversation with the person in real life

  • Finer Details
    • Make eye contact with the center of the lens: If you’re looking at the camera body or away from the lens, it will look like you’re looking away at something in the distance on the video. Be especially careful of this if filming with a phone since their lenses are always off center.
    • Put your phone on airplane mode: Nothing is more frustrating than almost getting to the end of recording and then having to start over because someone’s phone went off. Make sure to save yourself the headache from the start.
    • Lock Exposure to the subject’s face if you’re recording on an iPhone: you can learn more about it in this 2 minute video
    • What are you wearing? We know everyone is working from home right now and everyday has become super casual Friday, but let’s remember this video will be live on the internet and lots of people will see it. Let’s treat it like class picture day and wear something that will make mom proud.
  • The End
    • We know this can be a lot of information and details if it’s your first time making a video on your own. If you get confused, hit a speed bump, or just have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Vance directly. We want you to feel great about your video and enjoy the process as much as we do!