Video Recording


Although videos do not always need to be polished, there are several quick and easy things that you can do when recording to improve the overall quality. Here are 4 important things to keep in mind:

  1. LIGHTING – making sure there is enough light on your subject/scene can make a significant difference on image quality. Keep in mind: too much light behind your subject will make their face dark and hard to see, so avoid shooting your subject in front of windows unless you have sufficient front lighting. Try using lamps or other lighting that you already own to brighten up your subject if needed.

  2. AUDIO – audio is often overlooked, but it is a very important part of the video. Using a mic when possible is a great idea. Headphones that come with a mobile device often have a built-in mic, which usually works great.

    No mic? In a controlled environment, using your devices built-in mic should still be all right - just make sure you are in a quiet space and that your device is close to the subject speaking. This option will not work well in a noisy environment.

    Need better audio? If the above options aren’t working well for your videos, you might want to consider purchasing a USB or phone mic (depending on your device).

  3. STEADY SHOTS – a steady camera can result in a more professional looking video and can make the viewing experience more enjoyable. If you don’t have a tripod that you can use, think about steadying your camera by propping it up on a table, shelf or other nearby objects. It is ideal if the camera lens can be placed slightly below eye level.

  4. TEST RECORDING - always do a short test recording to ensure everything looks and sounds all right. This can save you a lot of time and frustration if something isn’t being captured properly.

Paper cup cut into a tripod holding a smartphoneDon’t have a tripod for your smartphone? Try this: A clean paper cup can make a great tripod for a smartphone by simply cutting a slot (about the width of the phone) in the bottom of it. Watch a how-to video.


Smartphones, Tablets & iPads

If you own one of these devices, you will be able to easily record your own video.

Before hitting record:

  • Clean your camera lens (often forgotten, but very important)
  • Ensure your device has enough free storage space
  • Check video quality settings Smartphone Camera Settings
    • Typically, the default quality setting will be sufficient, but if you aren’t happy with the quality being captured, try increasing this. Keep in mind that higher quality video takes up more space on your device.
    • Depending on your device, the location of this setting will vary. To learn more, try doing a google search with your device name plus the words “video quality settings” or “video resolution settings”.
  • Turn on Aeroplane Mode/Flight Mode so you’re not interrupted

Switch to video mode on your device:

  • The step you might be forgetting: Once you are in video mode and can see what is going to be captured, you should lock the video settings
    • Tap and hold on your subject (persons face, piece of equipment, etc.). This will lock the focus and exposure. Typically a yellow box will appear around your subject after doing this.
    • Swipe up or down on your video to make it brighter or darker
  • Do a very short test recording to ensure everything looks and sounds all right.
  • Leave time after hitting record before you or your subject starts talking. Do the same before pressing stop - then just trim these parts of the video out. This will give a cleaner beginning and end to your video.

Record Webcam Video On A Computer

Most computers have a built-in webcam that can be used to record a variety of video types. Think about positioning your computer screen so the webcam can record more than just a talking head. For example, it can be used to record a demonstration of how to use a piece of equipment; or record an interview. Sometimes an application will come installed for recording with your webcam, but there are also many other options available depending on your platform. Here are some examples:

Video Recorder (Windows, Mac)

Video Recorder is a free online tool that allows you to record video from your webcam and then save an MP4 file to your computer, Google Drive or Dropbox. As the site states “All you need is a web camera and a good internet connection”. This tool could be handy if you need a very quick and easy way to capture a short video with your Webcam. No registration required.

Screencast-O-Matic (Windows, Mac)

Screencast-O-Matic captures webcam video and/or a screen recording. Videos can be saved to the computer as an MP4, or uploaded directly to YouTube. The free version is fully functional, with only a small discrete watermark in the bottom corner. The limitations of the free version are that the recordings can not be longer than 15 minutes and there are no editing tools. Upgrade to the Pro version for $18/year. Registration required.

iMovie (Mac)

iMovie is not only great for basic video editing, but it will also allow you to import video directly from your webcam. Apple provides instructions on how to do this using the latest version of iMovie.

Quicktime (Mac)

The standard free version of Quicktime on a Mac is another option for recording webcam video. Visit How to use QuickTime Player to learn more.

Camtasia (Windows, Mac)

Camtasia is a screen recorder and video editor all-in-one. It also has the ability to capture webcam video. If you are creating a lot of videos and looking for an all-in-one capture and editing solution, Camtasia might be worth considering. Educational cost is approximately $230.

If you believe that Camtasia can meet your teaching and training needs, full time faculty may be eligible to request a license for the full version. Please consult the One Off Software Requests for Full Time Faculty Use document for information on how to obtain a license.