- C&M staff
Follow these simple guidelines to produce a self-recorded video that looks good and works well.
Know what you want to say
Prepare key messages you want to share. A script is fine, but should be for reference only.
Dress the part
Dress professionally from head to toe (or at least from head to waist). Avoid tight patterns or stripes that tend to ‘strobe’ on camera. All white and all black are also poor choices. While some colour is a good idea, avoid distracting colours like neon green. Lapels or collars are also good. Please don’t wear jewelry that makes noise when you move or shift.
Prepare your surroundings
Pick a quiet indoor or outdoor place to record without an elaborate backdrop. This ensures you are the focal point on the screen. Remove anything distracting behind you and keep it neutral. Adjust your backdrop. Decorate if needed to make it look clean, uncluttered and professional. Try to avoid any backgrounds with busy patterns. If you’re standing in front of a wall, please stand far enough way to avoid creating a shadow behind you.
Turn on a desk lamp over your laptop so that it shines on you, or sit facing a window. Experiment until the light illuminates your face in a flattering way. Make sure you’re not back-lit—you don’t want to appear as a shadow.
For best results, use a smartphone, tablet, or video camera. With these cameras, it may be easier to ask someone to assist with recording. If assistance is not available, consider recording in Zoom. Review instructions on how to record in Zoom, and customize further using a custom SFU Zoom background.
Elevate your computer and camera to head height so that you can speak and look directly into the camera. To help with the camera angle, use books, a box or a small stool to raise the laptop or screen.
Close other programs on your computer
If self-recording with Zoom, turn off all notifications during your recording. Make sure all other windows on your computer are closed (especially if they make noise).
Use notes or a script
A benefit of recording at home is that you can have a cheat sheet or script in front of you so that you don't have to memorize everything you want to mention. These can be loaded right onto your computer. But don't rely too much on your notes, use sparingly. They are primarily a reference.
If you are recording in a house with other people or pets, be sure to let everyone in the house know ahead of time that you will be recording. Yes, even the pets.
Test your audio
Wired headphones with an in-line microphone are preferred, although the headphones or earbuds will be visible on camera. If possible, use a quality external mic (like a podcast mic or lavalier) and no headphones.
If a wired microphone is not available, use your phone’s, or computer’s, default built-in microphone as a last resort, as they pick up extra noise. Test the audio ahead of time to make sure you can be heard without difficulty. (Record a short test video and then play it back for yourself.)
Shoot wide (landscape)
When shooting, remember to turn your camera or tablet to the side. This ensures a horizontal video. Use vertical (tall) framing only if your video will be presented in a vertical orientation, ie. Instagram/Facebook stories or Tik Tok.
Tips while recording
Look at the camera, not the screen
It’s very tempting to watch yourself during a recording session, but looking directly at the video camera is the only way to maintain direct eye contact with your audience. If necessary, put a small happy face or picture just above your webcam and look at it—it will look like you are talking to your audience through the camera.
Watch your body language
Be sure to have good posture and relax your shoulders to avoid stiffness.
Take your time, there’s no rush. The recording will be edited later, so feel free to do another take or start over.
Relax and Enjoy!
Transferring your video file
SFU faculty and staff can transfer videos via SFU Vault. If using SFU Vault, please email the link to the file recipient. (Note that starting April 2021, SFU OneDrive will be the preferred file sharing method at SFU.) Those that are not SFU faculty or staff can use their own preferred file transfer software.