Tips for a Successful Self-recorded Video

1. Prepare for the recording

Clean your camera first whether it’s your phone or computer, using a soft cloth to make sure there aren’t any fingerprints or smudges.

Do: Have a glass of water handy as well so you don’t get parched during your recording.

Don’t: Use the front camera on your phone, use the back camera because it often records at a higher resolution than the front or “selfie” camera. Don’t wear dangly jewelry that will distract or compete with your message.

2. Composition and format

Please shoot your video in the horizontal (landscape) format. In terms of quality, the 1080p setting, standard on many phones, is just fine.

Do: Shoot your video with your laptop or phone if that’s what you’ve got available, and feel free to showcase your Huskie Pride by wearing Red and Black and/or NIU gear.

Don’t: Shoot a vertical phone video, it doesn’t look as nice in the end as horizontal videos and we want you to look your best. Don’t use the zoom feature on your phone, it decreases the file quality.

3. Location

Please shoot in a well-lit environment and consider what background elements you are including. Window light is beautiful, just make sure it is evenly lighting your face without causing you to squint or be in shadow. If you don’t have window light, lamps work well too.

Do: Make sure your face is well-lit, and seek out a neutral background, declutter the background if necessary, to remove distracting elements.

Don’t: Stand in front of a window or other light source, or in front of a distracting background.  

4. Be steady

Please use a small tripod or other support to ensure that steady footage keeps the focus on your message.

Do: Prop your phone or laptop up if you don’t have a tripod available so the camera can be eye level.

Don’t: Try to hold your phone or computer by hand for long periods of time.

5. Sound

Please keep the phone close to you when speaking for better sound pickup, or you can wear a headset or earphones with a mic to pick up better sound.

Do: Test out your set-up and determine where the audio sounds best.

Don’t: Record in a room that has an audible echo if possible.

6. Your message

Prepare your thoughts on what you want to say; The video doesn't necessarily have to be read from a script, but a succinct message is preferred over a lengthy one. We recommend trying to keep your video message under three minutes.

Do: Record multiple takes if you mess up, the best takes can be edited together by the university for the final product.

Don’t: Feel like a video is the only place to convey your message. Hit the key messages in the video, and use other tools to share the details. Other ways to share details could be on department websites, newsletters, blogs or social media channels. NIU Institutional Communications can help identify additional tools for sharing your message.


If you have questions or would like additional help with any of these tips, please contact NIU Institutional Communications: video_services@niu.edu

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