How to record your reading at home

This page contains some tips and guidelines for recording video at home for inclusion in our Livestream services and meetings. These tips work for video, but also keep them in mind for Zoom meetings or anytime you are projecting your image some place. This is a quick rundown on how to do it, what you need and what we need in order to include your videos on our livestream services.

IMPORTANT: The first thing you will need is a recording device that can produce a file that you can email. Most smart phones, tables, webcams and even some older camcorders will produce such a file. It doesn’t matter the format because it can be converted to what is needed.

#1Record Horizontally – Think television or movies. They are wider than they are tall. Hold your phone or recording device so it records horizontally as in the example below.

#2Good Lighting – Make sure you have enough light! This is very important! When you make a video, it usually comes out a little darker than what you see with your naked eye because the camera is looking at bright and dark areas that it can see and tries to average it. You should always have more light in front of you, than behind you.

Example: Using two table lamps, remove the lampshades and place them several feet to the front left and front right of you by about 45 degrees. Turn off any lights directly behind you, but leave any lights that you have on OVER you on. You don’t want just a face in the video! Most room light at home will not work properly for videos. Look at this example:

If you don’t have a couple table lamps or some type of floor lamp, record facing an open window during the day so that light can come in and illuminate your face. Do NOT record in the direct sun!

#3 – Eye Level – Place the recording device about eye level in order to record. You can prop it up, somehow, or lower yourself, but it is never good to have a video that people are looking up your nose. PLEASE, DO NOT have someone hold the camera while pointing it at you. It doesn’t matter who they are, the person hand-holding the recording device will never be able to hold it steady and it will look MUCH better if it is steady!

#4 – Frame Yourself Correctly – Ok, so you are not a professional videographer, or at least most of you aren’t, but you do need to frame yourself properly in the video or else it will look strange to people viewing it. I’m not going to explain things like head room, nose room and leading space, but here is an example of framing that would be good to follow.

Examples of Framing for videos

Looking at the image above, the center photo is the best way to frame yourself in the video. Don’t worry about how much is to the left of the right of you, just worry about how much space is above your head. If you frame yourself in the example above to the right (Too Close) then people will be taken aback when they watch view the video.

#5 – Uncluttered Background – When recording, also pay attention to what is behind you. Try not to make it too cluttered or the viewer will attempt to make our what is there rather than pay attention to what you are reading or saying. A plain, white wall behind you might be too much, but it will be best if everything else you have is cluttered. You can also film outside where the background is so far away as to be blurred out in the video.

#6 – Don’t Hide Your Face – When reading from a book or a sheet of paper, do not hide your face behind the paper. Conversely, don’t hold it so low that people are viewing the top of your head while you’re reading.

#7 – Record Silence – Leave at least 5 to 6 seconds at the beginning AND the end of the video where you are just looking at the recording device so that there is enough video to weave it into the broadcast. Don’t move, adjust lights, reach for the recording device or anything. Look at the device, smile, and then begin reading.

#8 SMILE!!! – Smile and look at your recording device once in awhile. It doesn’t have to be a big, toothy grin, just a small “mona lisa” smile is good enough. You are communicating with real people on the other side of this and not just your phone!

#9 – REVIEWWatch the video all the way through before sending it. Watch the video from start to finish to make sure it’s exactly what you want to send. If there are glitches, it won’t make the best video.

#10 – SEND – When finished, send the finished video to OR if you have problems sending it, send an email to the same email address and we will work something out.

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