Below are tips to make your pre-recorded video engaging and enjoyable.
Please ensure you download your recording as MP4, render at 720p (1280×720) and not exceed 2Mbps.
As counter intuitive as it may sound, the single most important factor in a good video, is the audio quality. People will readily watch a shaky, grainy, amateur video with good sound, but force them to struggle to hear what’s being said and they’ll switch off in seconds. Make sure you test the microphone and ensure it is working correctly and picking up the sound clearly before recording.
2) ELIMINATE AMBIENT NOISE
You want to find a quiet spot to do your recording. Close all the windows, ensure you are alone and that there are no reasons for interruption (a neighbour mowing or the postman delivering a package). You’d be surprised how much environmental noise gets picked up.
3) DON’T THINK ABOUT THE CAMERA
People often get consumed by the type of camera to use but this usually is not a problem. Nowadays most (if not all) cameras are good and you are almost always guaranteed to get decent HD footage. Any half-decent smartphone, or camera, now records nearly as well as the highest spec video recorders of yesteryears. However, do be aware that if you use ZOOM to record your talk, the quality is capped at a lower resolution.
Do think about lighting as it is very important. Next to good audio, it’s another one of those technicalities that can have a big impact on the quality of your video. Ensure there are no lights or windows behind you. They’ll mess with the light levels on your video. Don’t stand under your room spotlights. Go for bright, soft lighting coming from behind the camera to light up your face.
White walls are boring. Have something innocuous but discernible in the background. Don’t be afraid to show your natural environment e.g. bookcases, plants, painting – as long as they are not too distracting.
6) CAMERA HEIGHT
Your frame should be slightly off centre, but the camera height can be dead centre. Be careful of the angle though. The lens should either be directly level or be pointing ever so slightly downwards towards your face.
Ensure you are recording in landscape, not in portrait. The reason for this is that the orientation of the online platform is landscape, so if you use portrait there is going to be a lot of empty space and it is not going to look professional.
It is important that you plan out the presentation and keep in mind the time frame you have been assigned and how you wish to use it. Write yourself a script or use slides as a way to stay on topic to ensure you do not exceed your time limit and also keep the presentation engaging and on topic.
No need to over-worry about what you wear as long as you avoid some basic mistakes. Don’t wear stripes or overly bold patterns (they look odd on camera). Don’t wear clunky jewellery as this can be noisy. Do try to match your appearance to the impression you want to project about yourself. Also be aware, if you wear glasses, your lighting may reflect from the glass and into the camera.
10) GOOD POSTURE
What feels odd in person, looks good on camera. Sit or stand straight, even if it’s uncomfortable. Don’t hunch over, don’t use odd angles.
11) WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR HANDS
Movement is fine, but too much is distracting. Don’t be afraid to use hand gestures (studies show that complex thinkers use more hand gestures). Just don’t overdo it. The camera is a microscope remember. It amplifies everything.
The other half of Preparation is Practice. There is no substitute for it. Once you have recorded your video, watch it back – what didn’t go to plan? How can you make improvements?