Choosing a Room

The space you select to record your video should allow for clear, crisp audio recording as well as having enough room for your video equipment, lights and, if you are using one, your backdrop. If you are recording your video without a backdrop, you also need to consider the look of your space. It should be a simple, tidy, professional setting that doesn’t distract from what you are teaching. No matter the room you select, you will need to take time to properly light the space and create the best possible environment for audio recording.

Choosing a Room: Audio

As with screencasting, you’re looking for a room with very little or no echo or reverberation. A room with carpet and curtains is a good place to start. Once you select your space, you can improve the room by:

  • Hanging thick blankets or bedding on the walls and over any solid items of furniture, such as bookcases and desks.
  • Closing the windows and curtains while you’re recording.
  • Turning off all electronics, including hard drives, unused computers, air conditioners and appliances.

When recording audio in more than one location or with different setups, the audio does not have to match exactly, but try to avoid drastic changes in the audio.

For more on selecting and treating a recording space and do-it-yourself audio solutions, watch The Art of Voice Recording: Chapter 4, Controlling the Sound.

Choosing a Room: Setup

First, decide on the look of your video. You can film yourself in front of a backdrop, a plain wall, at your workspace or in a different space altogether. Then, select a room large enough for your equipment that allows you to control the natural light. Backdrops, lights and a camera take up lots of space and need to be planned for. You may need to cover windows and move furniture.

Once you’ve selected a room, think about the space you are recording in and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do you want in the background?
  • Will you use a backdrop?
  • Where does the natural light come into the room?
  • Where will you be? Standing or sitting?
  • Where will the lights be?
  • Where will you place the microphone so that it is close enough without being in the shot?
  • Where will you position the camera?

Map this out before you begin. You’ll save time setting up your equipment. Plus, you’ll be able to replicate your previous setup with ease. Note any changes to your setup as you go. It’s also a good idea to note the specific settings for your lights, camera and audio recorder.

When planning your setup, plan to position yourself at least two to three feet in front of your background. This will allow you to shoot with a shallow depth of field, with you in sharp focus while the background is nicely out of focus.

Keep things simple as you begin. Start with one camera and one microphone, and use a three-point lighting setup (See Recording: Setting Up the Lights). As you gain experience and confidence you can add in more lighting and camera angles if needed. First, let’s get the basics solid. No matter where you decide to record your video, it is important that you talk it over with the Course Producer before you begin.

Examples of On-Camera Video Setups

  1. Dark Grey or Black Backdrop: This is a clean look that is easily replicable for multiple recordings. The simple background helps focus the viewer's attention on the content of your course.
  2. Sitting at Desk: This style looks and feels natural, but it requires a more advanced understanding of audio and lighting.
  3. Instructor in an Interior Location: This style is visually interesting but it’s more difficult to light the space properly and more difficult to replicate if you need to reshoot.

For more on planning your setup, watch The Instructional Video: Chapter 2.5: Stage Plotting.