10 tips for recording videos

If you're on this page then you've more than likely been asked to contribute to one of our Virtual Services.  Thanks for agreeing to help.
Here's a few pointers to help you record a good video:

1. Use your smartphone

If you have a fancy DSLR or Camcorder then by all means use it, but the hassle involved in getting the video from the device and onto the web is probably not worth the bother.  The cameras and microphones in your smartphone are more than adequate for our meagre requirements!  Laptop cameras are not great.  iPad front cameras are equally woeful.

N.B. If you have an iPhone it would be helpful if you ensure that Most Compatible is selected in Settings>Camera>Formats

2. Landscape

Unless you've been specifically requested to record a portrait video please record in landscape.  Most people will be viewing on a TV or Computer screen that is landscape and the black letterboxing is distracting.


3. Framing

Now that you're recording in the proper orientation (see above), try to completely fill the frame with your subject. Your head should be just above the middle of the screen. 
Take note of what is in the background and how it is filling the frame - it can be very distracting to have too much going on in the background. 
Sometimes you might be specifically asked to leave room for text (that will be added afterwards) - just stand to one side and leave a gap beside you.


4. Angle

The best shots are with the camera just above eyelevel pointing slightly down at the subject.  Preferably you should be standing (I don't know why but they just look better).  If you are seated try to sit up straight.  Again the chair or furniture can become a distraction. Try to keep yourself as the subject.

5. Script & Mistakes

Have a print out of what you are going to say. Try mounting or balancing your script (if you are following one) as close to the camera lens as possible (so that you're not looking down and up all the time) and don't worry too much about looking directly at the camera lens.  We're not professionals and we're not expecting eye contact.  Far better that you complete your video with no mistakes.  Don't be afraid to rerecord until you get it right (we only see the version that you submit!)  Having said that all of our videos are edited before being put online, so if you do make a small mistake then feel free to just 'talk to the editor' on the recording and request the changes you'd like and then simply carry on (if you can give some idea of the timestamp wiothin the video that would be great).  Also if you have to stop mid recording (for personal or technical reasons), simply upload the first part of the recording and then upload a second or third part too.  As long as you let us know via email or WhatsApp that there are edits required we can handle it.


6. Lighting

Don't use the built in LED (unless you absolutely have to).  The Sun is the easiest and cheapest light you can use!  You want a good even light shining straight onto your face.  Try to avoid backlit-settings, so don't stand with your back to a bright window.  If you do choose to mount a lamp shining at you - be aware that if you wear glasses then the bulb may be reflected straight down the camera lense.

7. Sound

If you do choose to film outside just be conscious of the background noise.   If it's windy then the mic may pick up a lot of noise.  If the neighbours kids are shouting or arguing it may not be an ideal backdrop to your video.


8. Try and keep it stable

If you don't have a tripod or selfie stick that you can adapt (and let's face it - who does) then try balancing your phone on a mantlepiece or window sill.  Failing that ask a steady handed housemate to hold it for you - use both hands and hold your arms close to the body for stability.


9. Starting and Ending the recording

Don't feel the need to start your delivery perfectly.  Set the recording going. Get yourself in shot.  Compose yourself. Deep breathe in and out, Smile. Don't smile. Purse your lips, whatever.  Find a natural expression and then start talking. It will all be edited out.  If you make a mess of it  - simply start again, you don't have to restart the recording, just say to camera "I'm going to start again" and carry on.  Just be sure to let us know via email or WhatsApp that edits are required.
Similarly when you are getting to the end don't worry about stopping the recording.  Simply finish speaking and stay looking at the camera for three seconds and then move to the camera and stop the recording.  The end can be cut off in the editing suite.

10.  Sending the video to us

Please use this link direct from your recording device - it will take you to a trafroad-my.sharepoint Onedrive site with a Select Files button on it.
Once the video is uploaded we will receive an email notification so that we can grab it and edit it if need be.  Noone else will be able to see your video.  As mentioned above.  feel free to submit multiple videos with instructions on how you want it edited.