Best Practices for Recording Yourself on Zoom

Using Zoom and other video devices can be tricky. The mic, video, chat, breakout rooms, waiting room, mute, and other options available make it so that there it can be difficult to keep track of everything. Often the technology stops working at the most inopportune times. Here is a list of tips and tricks to ensure your Zoom video runs smoothly and looks great for all of your remote work or video recording needs.

Take time to do some technology checks

  • Make sure your internet is working and has a high-speed, stable connection. Wired connections are preferred, if possible. Run an internet speed test at speedtest.net and send those results to the meeting administrator.
  • Clean your computer’s camera lens to ensure there are no smudges. We love using microfiber cloths for this.
  • Check your audio sources to ensure they are working. A quick test call before the meeting to make sure your mic is working can be a lifesaver.
  • If you’re using the Zoom desktop client, make sure the app is up to date before the meeting.

Find the right spot for the video

The right spot will help not only you look better on the zoom camera but feel more comfortable while speaking.

  • Find a simple background. Too much clutter will distract participants from what you’re saying.
  • Make the source of light that will be on you be independent of time-of-day.  That means avoid using a window as your primary source -it will not look the same at 10 AM as it will at 3 PM.
  • Try to find a place that is free of extraneous noises. Stairwells, neighbor doors, and scampering children all have a way of making themselves known at the worst times.
  • Avoid placing the computer or webcam for the meeting excessively distant or close. People would like to see from mid-chest to just above your head, providing a clean portrait framing for the video – this way everyone can understand your expressions the most clearly.
  • Do not use fake backgrounds.
  • Make sure to use horizontal (landscape) framing instead of vertical (portrait) framing.
  • Do not put the camera at very low angles that look up your nose.

BAD EXAMPLES:

The examples below have either a distracting background, too much head space, used a vertical shot, or was taken at a low angle.

GOOD EXAMPLE:

This example shows the model directly facing the lens with little headspace, good lighting, and a simple background.

How to personally prepare before the shoot

Making sure you are physically and mentally prepared for a video is crucial to your performance. Often those who show up tired or hungry have a difficult time providing clean answers or a pleasant presence while on camera. It is also important to know the purpose of the shoot and how the end product will be used. Sometimes it even helps to practice questions. If you do practice interview questions, do not memorize your answers. This will come off as robotic and unnatural on camera. In order to make sure you are physically and mentally prepared here are tips to help you feel better and think more clearly.

  • Get a good night’s rest.
  • Hydrate and have your morning cup of joe or diet coke.
  • Eat before the meeting start time, and brush your teeth after.
  • Practice interview questions, but do not memorize your answers.

Clothing, jewelry, and makeup

The type of clothes, makeup, and accessories you wear on camera are important to the aesthetic of the video. As the subject of the video, our crew wants the focus to be on you – avoid anything distracting. The right clothes and accessories can help ensure that you are in focus and look good on camera.

Here is what you should avoid wearing:

  • White, bright red, or black shirts. If accompanied by a blazer or jacket, it will look a lot better.
  • Neon colors, especially bright green, yellow, or red.
  • Silky, shiny, or reflective materials.
  • Small or tight patterns or pinstripes.
  • Large and distracting patterns.
  • Extreme and overdone makeup.
  • Putting hair into a ponytail or an updo (makes the person seem like they have short hair).
  • Chunky and distracting jewelry or accessories.

Because of how the camera registers images, anything with small or tight patterns or pinstripes should be avoided. These patterns cause the video to waver in an effect known as moiré which creates a static-like visual effect that is very distracting to the viewer.  We also ask that big, blocky patterns, chunky jewelry, or extreme makeup are avoided because they can be distracting. Reflective materials can cause hot spots that make lighting the subject more difficult for the camera crew. Neon colors are not flattering and do not register well on camera. When you are comfortable and in a simple outfit, you will look better on set and feel more confident.

Here is a list of what you should wear to set:

  • Solid colored clothing
  • Neutral or pastel colors
  • Comfortable to sit in for long periods of time
  • Natural, but professional, makeup 

How to act on camera

The best way to act on camera is by being you! Being on camera can be intimidating, but remember that you’re there for a reason, and were chosen because of who you are- relax!

  • Be you
  • Let your personality shine
  • Act natural

We hope that these Zoom recording tips and tricks will help you get the best video possible. While technology is tricky, following these best practices, tips, and tricks will make your video easier to manage.