Prior to the pandemic, our team often recorded on-location or in our studio, using our own cameras and lighting equipment. In March, like many others, we had to shift to a work-from-home model while sheltering-in-place. Many clients had to use their home environment for recording their own video content.
The MTI team produced this video in the early weeks of sheltering-in-place to aid our colleagues, particularly faculty who are creating course lectures, in turning their at-home environment into a set for recording video content:
Since this video was produced, we’ve noticed there are still common pitfalls many recordings fall into. Fortunately, they have easy solutions. Here is a non-exhaustive list of issues you can look out for when recording yourself.
The Camera Is Too Low
Raising your computer’s camera to the same height as your eyes will produce a better image for presenting yourself to an audience. Not sure if it feels like the correct height? One easy tell is if you can see the ceiling in your image. See the ceiling? Your camera is still too low! Add another book/box or two to raise it up.
Poor Eye Line
Realistically, it’s difficult to maintain constant eye contact with your camera. In some cases, the camera (especially on laptops) is so small it feels like it’s not even there. To make matters more challenging, you can’t be expected to memorize or perfectly execute every lecture you need to record. It can help to position your outline or script near the top of your screen, as close as possible to the camera. Place yourself further back from your screen to help minimize eye movement. You can also record your video in separate clips to focus on individual chunks and use slides or other graphics on screen to strategically hide edits.
Poor Audio Quality
Are you recording audio for a powerpoint presentation, or your options for recording are limited to a platform that significantly compresses audio? You can vastly improve the audio quality of your recording by using your phone to record yourself!
Missing/Undesired Results for Video, Presentation, or Audio Content
Especially if you’re recording for the first time, do a brief 5 second test with your setup. Play it back to make sure everything you want to capture looks and sounds as you prefer. A brief test will go a LONG way to prevent you from re-recording an entire lecture.
In addition to these tips, remember that everyday occurrences such as outside noise, family, pets, and roommates have become a regular part of connecting with audiences virtually. Reduce distractions where and when you can, but in some circumstances there may be instances outside of your control.
COVID-19 has really impacted the way we work and think about working from home. We hope this helps you with your own recording, teaching, and learning.