Film your video

You can get published on our library just using basic equipment such as a recent smartphone. If you thought you needed to go out and buy a DSLR to make a video, think again! Sometimes, the best camera is the one you have with you and remember that the content is more important than the quality of the video. Listening to someone who says something really interesting in low quality is better than listening to someone who has nothing interesting to say on a really good quality video. 

The "Studio"

Setting up your filming studio correctly is essential to helping your audience have good experiences with your video. Students need to be able to see and hear your video without distractions like buzzes, pops, or a shaky camera. The good news is that you don’t need a professional studio to create your course. This part teaches you how to set up your filming studio at home.

You need somewhere to shoot. Ideally, you’ll want a quiet room where you can close the door and set up camera gear, but you can do this just about anywhere. Outdoor is also fine, but make sure you have lapel mic or we won't be able to hear your properly, trust our experience on that one.

You don’t need a studio environment — in fact, it can add a little personality to your video if the scene looks homey. For example, a couch and plant combination? Perfect! A cozy nook? Great! In front of a bookshelf? You’d better believe it! 

Take a minute before you break out the gear to do a little set dressing. Remove anything that’s distracting, and rearrange the scene to help improve the overall shot. And if you’re looking to create a permanent space for your solo videos, consider choosing a room where you can control the light. That way, you’ll have a consistent look throughout all of your videos.

Lighting for a “talking head” video. If you shoot indoors, sit by a window where the light hits you from the front or from the side and not from behind you. Avoid shadows in the background or on your face.

Select your equipment

Build-in camera: Don't use built-in laptop camera.

Microphone: Try starting with the camera that you have in your computer, but avoid using the built-in microphone. Invest in a good-quality, hands-free microphone that’s stable, reduces background noise, and is small enough to be invisible in the video. (Blue Yeti, XBlue Yeti, HyperX Quadcast, Razer Seiren X, Blue Yeti Nano, Samson Go)

Screencast software: If your video is a screencast, then you’ll need screencasting software like Quicktime Player, Camstudio, or Jing.

Lighting equipment: Always film during the day and first try natural light in your room. If it isn’t enough, then try adding lamps and lights that you have at home. If you’re still not getting enough light, we recommend a three-point lighting kit.

Here’s what we’ve found works best when shooting a video solo:
DSLR + A camera with a flip-out screen + A camera with WiFi to monitor the shot on your phone
- Wide lens (like a 24mm)
- Tripod
- Microphone
- Audio recorder
- External monitor
- Daylight-balanced key lights

Set up your audio

Audio is something really important. A bad audio can ruin your content and leave a bad experience to the audience. It's pretty likely they will never watch a video of your again.

Check the gain in your microphone settings. Gain determines loudness of the audio that comes into the microphone. If the gain is set too high, you might hear an electrical static sound in the recording.

Check the audio output settings of your microphone. It should be set to stereo instead of mono.

Speak loudly, clearly, and directly into the microphone. Do not speak too close or far away from the microphone. For best results, maintain a 6–12 inches (about 15–30 centimeters) distance from the microphone.

If possible, use a pop filter—a physical filter you can attach to your microphone—to avoid a popping sound in your recordings. Such sounds can cause unnatural spikes in your audio.

When you’re shooting video with an iPhone, it’s best to position a second iPhone directly above the subject’s head to record clean audio. Creating a simple voice memo will do the trick!

Setup your shot

You have your studio, you have your equipment, you have your audio, and now you’re ready to set up your shot. When you’re preparing to shoot a video by yourself, consider sitting down. You’re the one shooting, and you’re the talent in the video.

If it’s easier to show your script on a laptop on a desk in front of you, do it! Grab a chair and something to put your laptop on, like a small desk or stand. Next, place your camera on a tripod and position it about an arm’s length away from you.

As for camera placement, think of it as the same for any other video. You’ll want to position the camera just above your eyeline, slightly pointed down. Check our shot inspiration here.

Here are some tips regarding camera placement and movement:

The subject should be in the middle of the shot, or on the sides, using the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds is a concept in which you separate a frame into nine equal parts by dividing it twice vertically and twice horizontally. Placing a subject along those lines or their intersections creates a more interesting visual.

If you are creating a “talking head” video, don’t be too far away from the camera or too close. Don’t put the camera too high over your head or too far below your face. Imagine you are having a face-to-face conversation with your students.

Make sure your camera is steady. Use a tripod or put your camera on a steady surface. Don’t try and hold the camera yourself.

Customize phone to shoot 4K video

As shown above, choosing 4K at 60 fps will give you the highest-quality and smoothest video, but it will take up around 400MB of storage space per minute.

4K is four times the resolution of 1080p and offers fantastic video quality right from your iPhone. Keep in mind that depending on your iPhone model, there are varying levels of 4K support.

iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were the first to offer 4K at 30 fps. iPhone 7 and 7 Plus offer the same, while iPhone 8/8Plus and iPhone X brought 4K at 24 fps, 30 fps, and 60 fps. iPhone Xs, Xs Max, and Xr all offer the same 4K support as iPhone 8 and X.

Don’t use the iPhone digital zoom

Unless you have the dual-lens iPhone 7 Plus, avoid the temptation to use the iPhone’s built-in camera zoom.

Since the lens isn’t zooming optically, you’re just enlarging the picture digitally, which means you will quickly enter the world of unsightly pixelation.

If you want to get a closer-up shot of your subject, move the phone closer until you find the perfect shot!

Use the exposure lock

The iPhone will automatically focus and expose your shot.

This can be a great function for quick photos, but when you’re shooting a video of one person talking to the camera, it can really complicate things.

The iPhone tends to keep adjusting and refocusing, which can lead to jittery-looking footage. That’s why we recommend using the exposure focus lock. This will help to keep the focus and exposure constant throughout your shot.

Set your camera’s recording and export settings

Make sure your camera is set to the the right recording and export settings:

Aspect ratio: This is the proportion of width and height of a frame. The aspect ratio of your video needs to be either 4:3 or 16:9.

Video resolution: This represents the quality of the video, which is determined by the number of pixels (p) in the frame. Your video resolution must be 720p or higher. A high definition (HD) video has a resolution of 720p or higher.

Pump yourself up! You’re the only person in the room, and there’s no director. In order to avoid sounding flat on camera, get hyped with your favorite track, take a lap around the room, or if all else fails, just shake it out and get loose.

If you have a good take, mark it! Since you’re the video producer, that means you’re in charge of the edit, too. Cover the lens with your hand after you feel like you got a good take so you’ll know exactly where the best takes are in your edit.

Only record what you need. Don’t let the camera continue to roll from line to line. Do a few takes in a row, then stop the clip. This will help immensely when you’re knee-deep in the editing process.

Edit your video

There are some pretty cool editing apps available for the iPhone, but they still don’t beat editing on your computer. When you finish shooting, plug your phone in, offload your footage, and import your videos into your editor of choice.

If you’ve never edited a video before, there’s never been a better time to start. The iPhone’s camera combined with some minor editing can unlock some serious potential. Plus, free tools like iMovie have made editing easier for everyone.

Perhaps the beginning of your video features the speaker preparing or hesitating. Maybe they stumbled over a few words or the audio quality was off. To showcase a professional looking video to your market, you’ll need to edit those parts out.

Setup your subtitles

If the message of your video is not easily communicated through the action alone, you might consider adding subtitles. That way, whether or not the sound is on, the viewer can appreciate the story you’re trying to tell. And let’s not forget how often videos are watched without sound on social media—on Facebook it’s 85 percent. Check Rev if you are interested. They will edit your video with subtitles within 24 hours and it’s not that expensive.