Mobile Camera Video Blogging Tips

Posted by admin on February 15th, 2014 filed in Hacks, Technical Writing

Here my notes from when a colleague shared his best practices for video blogging (thanks to Timothy Kuhn): These tips are intended for laypeople who are using e.g. a notebook’s built-in web cam, or their mobile phone cameras, to record stuff like expert interviews at conferences. (If you are more of a pro and have a real camera, these tips will be redundant to you.)

  1. Avoid mixed lighting (i.e. natural light + artificial light). Small cameras can’t handle that, it makes part of the video too blue and other parts too red. Record either indoors (no windows), or outdoors.
  2. Avoid racoon eyes, i.e. ugly shadows on a person’s face. The person should not stand directly under a light.
  3. Avoid bright backlight, e.g. coming from window behind. Backlight causes over- or underexposed video, because your small camera cannot tell whether it should focus on back- or foreground.
  4. Pick a good background. Avoid the ‘hostage footage’ look, ie. don’t shoot a person right against a plain white wall, it feels cold and boring. Use a calm unbusy everyday background — to give the room some realistic depth. (Think of a newsroom.)
  5. Pick a good frame. Simply do a head-to-shoulder upper-body shot like they do it in the news. Position the person a bit off center. Don’t cut off chin/forehead. The person should not stand too far away (unless you must see the full person for the video to make sense), this will improve video and audio quality on small recording devices. The person should not stand too close either — just a head with cut-off body looks uncomfortable.
  6. Test the device’s microphone to get optimal audio. Be aware of (and avoid) aircon and laptop fans and other background noises. Noise will come out loud and unfiltered in the recording.
  7. Use short opening and end slides. This is good for branding and gives your video a character and closure.
  8. And finally: Say no to vertical video! :-D

PS / Update:

LOL and behold! This video interview is spectacular: Not only does it showcase 7 examples of the 8 “don’t”s listed here. You also see Amanda Palmer with eyebrows. And clothes on! :D

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