Video Shooting Tips

Take a moment to get feel comfortable and relaxed before starting to take pictures.

Plan Before You Film

Think about how you’d like to respond to the given prompt, and consider what video format works best for you. Are you comfortable talking to the camera on your computer or phone, or would it be easier to have a friend “interview” you?

Work From a Script (But Avoid Reading Directly From It)

Once you’ve finalized what exactly you want to cover, plan the main points you’d like to convey and jot down clear ways to say them. Writing your ideas ahead of time encourages intention and clarity—and helps eliminate run-on sentences and excessive “ums” and “likes.”

Clothing Etc

Dress modestly.


We want to see you and hear what you have to say! Reduce background noise, choose a well-lit setting, and avoid having the camera pointing up your nose. These things sound obvious, but believe me, they go a long way.

Use an external microphone whenever possible. If you are relying on the microphone from the camera, you should be within 10 feet of the subject so that the microphone can pick up the sound properly.

Turn off any ambient noise, computers, or fans. Shut doors to help stop ambient noise from outside. Place a blanket around the room to help eliminate echo.

Project your voice so that it will be recorded clearly (but don’t shout).

Eliminate any unwanted background noise. Turn off a television in a different room, for example.


Don’t shoot near windows —best is natural light if your subject is properly positioned for it.
If you have shadows, you can bring a light close to your subject to help eliminate the shadows or use a large white sheet or reflector to reflect light onto your subject.

Make sure that the lighting doesn’t undermine your video. Stand so that light is

shining on you rather than behind you. This means that you should not stand in front of a window where the sun shines behind you. Creating a test video will help you know when and where your lighting works best.


The person holding the camera must make sure to hold the camera very steady, or – even better – use a tripod.

Having a stable shot can make the difference between a good video and a great video. Whenever possible, use a tripod. If you don’t have a tripod, brace yourself on or against a table or fence to help stabilize the video.

Your posture etc

Stand tall and with good posture. Don’t sit in front of the camera. If you are using a webcam built into your computer, you can set the computer on a raised surface (even a stack of books will work) and then step back from the computer to deliver your speech.

Ensure that your entire torso is visible in the frame without making you seem very far away. Your instructor will want to see your facial expressions and your hand gestures clearly.

Shoot Several Takes if Necessary

The beauty of an application video is that you don’t have to settle on a bad take. If the neighbor’s dog is barking incessantly in the background or you get off track, do it again. In my case, I couldn’t figure out how to sign off in a way that seemed natural. Was I supposed to say “bye?” Just stop talking? After a few takes, I found a smile and wave that didn’t make me look insane.

Edit What You Make

Programs like iMovie, Final Cut Pro, and Movie Maker are intuitive and easy to use, and there are plenty of free video editing programs to try. You don’t have to be a seasoned editor to make small changes that go a long way. If you can’t figure something out, there are a myriad of YouTube tutorials to show you how.