Creativity still matters.
CASE District I wishes to thank Embryo Creative for their generous commitment as our gold sponsor of the CASE District I Conference welcome video. Embryo Creative has been a CASE DI sponsor for four years.
It’s been three months since the coronavirus pandemic disrupted our lives. And even as restrictions are easing, large gatherings pose a risk of spreading disease.
I suspect many of you in higher education communications are thinking about ways to connect with students, alumni, donors in an era where physical distancing and digital connection is the new norm.
You’re probably thinking about video as an alternative to alumni reunions, donor events, capital campaign kickoffs, and campus tours.
But video production often requires close physical contact in confined spaces for hours at a time—not ideal for quelling the spread of an infectious disease.
I don’t like to make predictions about the future, but I think it is safe to say the way we make video will continue to adapt to our new pandemic reality.
We’re seeing more home recordings, more animated graphics, and more creative reuse of existing images and video.
The past months have familiarized the viewing public with lower resolution video, poor color fidelity, audio hiccups, and digital glitches. We’ve all joined the cult of Zoom in our personal and professional lives.
But while the production methods have changed, what makes great video hasn’t.
Story and character still matter.
Creativity still matters.
Relevance to your audience still matters.
Emotion still matters.
What kept your audience watching in the past is the same thing that will keep them watching in the future.
Video’s greatest strength is still its ability to use sound and image to move people to act. To give. To share.
That hasn’t changed.
So be bold. Be creative. And embrace change.
To that end, we’ve put together some simple tips for maximizing the quality of recordings you may need to produce at home.
Use them for an upcoming Zoom meeting or when capturing alumni soundbites for your next communication with donors.
Best Practices for Home Recording
Try to position your camera—whether laptop, phone, or tablet—at eye level so that you are looking straight into the lens. Ensure that the camera is pointing forward and not tilting up toward the ceiling.
Position yourself about 18-24 inches from the camera so that your head, shoulders, and chest are completely in frame.
If using a phone or tablet, be sure to turn it horizontally so that the camera is filming in landscape orientation where the width of the frame is wider than the height.
Be sure that you are positioned in the middle of the frame so that there is equal space on your left and right. Also, try to leave some space in the frame above the top of your head.
Think about the background and what will be shown over your shoulder. If possible, try to position yourself and the camera a minimum of 6-8 feet from the wall that’s behind you.
It’s also best to try to have something in the background (a bookcase, fireplace, art) as opposed to a blank white wall.
Remove any object from the background that is in frame and that you do not want to share with the public.
Do not position the camera so that it is pointing directly at a window.
Film in a well-lit, bright room.
If filming during the day, consider opening your blinds a little and using daylight as illumination. If using daylight as your primary light source, turn off any other lights.
If filming at night or in a dark room, try to use table lamps, desk lamps, and floor lamps for illumination instead of overhead lights. Turn on as many lights as you can to illuminate the room.
If using lamps for illumination, make sure they are two feet or more from yourself and the camera.
Try to film in a quiet area of the house.
If possible, ask other members of the household to move to another area of the house and to keep loud conversations to a minimum.
Take a moment and listen for any noise that is constant in the room and identify the source—for example, a fluorescent light that hums, a ticking clock, or a beeping microwave. Once you’ve identified the source, try to turn it off.
Be sure to turn off the television and radio, as well as the air-conditioner and any fans.
If filming on a computer—or in a room with a computer—close any open email or chat programs that have audible notifications. Also, turn off audible notifications on your phone and tablet.
Sit straight and speak directly to the camera. Keep your hands away from your face and try not to cover your mouth when speaking.
If using notes or a script, try to place then at eye level.
Do not just read the script. Instead, use it to help refresh your memory. It’s best to glance at the script and commit 1-3 lines to memory before continuing.
If you do happen to glance at the script, be sure to look back up at the camera and pause before continuing to speak.
And, above all, try to have fun.
If you’d like to learn more about using video to stay connected with your audience, find us at embryocreative.com
Photo credit: Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash
About the author(s)
Ryan Ferland is Director at Embryo Creative. Since 2007, he’s helped academic institutions tell stories with purpose and wow viewers. See for yourself at embryocreative.com