Video Recording Tips

The following YouTube videos may help you as you plan and prepare for recording your videos.

  1. Video Recording Methods
  2. Create Higher Quality Videos
  3. Additional Tips

Video recording methods

Recording Videos options for the KOTESOL 2020 National Conference

This video introduces a FOUR methods you can employ to create online content for the KOTESOL 2020 National Conference. We are still working out logistics, so please continue to check the National Conference website for updates.

  1. NC 2020 intro: (0:35)
  2. Recording with YouTube: (5:40)
  3. Recording in the classroom: (8:26)
  4. Recording with PowerPoint: (10:12)
  5. Recording with OBS Studio: (14:50)
  6. Editing options (YouTube, Windows, Mac) (17:19)
  1. Go Live with YouTube Live (YouTube Live tutorial here) – this requires a “verified” account (verify with a phone number)
    • “Going live” also records your video with your own webcam / mic setup and saves it to YouTube automatically
    • Or upload videos to YouTube after recording
  2. Record videos in the classroom with
    • Your smartphone or DSLR camera
    • A built-in mic or separate (higher quality) mic
    • A tripod or your friend (holding the camera)
  3. Record videos with PowerPoint (but don’t just save it again as a PPTX file, export it as a video file):
    • To export PPT recordings as a video: File → Export → Create movie…
  4. Record videos with OBS Studio (OBS Studio tutorial here)
    • This is the most dynamic way to record television quality videos – depending on your setup and ability
    • Many “career” YouTubers and Twitch streamers use OBS to record their vlogs and streamed game playing
  5. Record videos with Zoom and Screen share (BONUS)
    • This method is one I learned about after making the above video (some Zoom setup tips here):
      1. Create a Zoom room with only yourself
      2. Screen share
      3. Record your presentation

Create Higher Quality Videos

How to record better videos

This video shares my personal setup and methods for recording my classes online. I provide a quick introduction to:

  1. My “studio” (0:17)
  2. Monitor(s) (2:48)
  3. Lighting (5:56)
  4. Microphones (9:21)
  5. Smartphone recording (12:54)
  6. The software that I use (OBS Studio) (15:26)

I hope it gives you some good ideas about how to record your videos at a little higher quality.

  1. Consider your background – do you want to show your bookcases / wallpaper? Consider:
  2. Consider using two monitors (or if you’re using Zoom, one monitor + your smartphone)
    • This will allow you to record your screen while also paying attention to your webcam or recording software
  3. You need a bright, soft source of light – 45 degrees above your eye-line is perfect, so:
    • Sitting in front of a window is good
    • Or, adding a soft light to the left / right of your eye-line helps
    • But sitting in front of a bright light (behind you) is no good
  4. Improve your sound quality
    1. Stand alone microphones include noise-canceling technology and pick up far better sound quality
    1. Your phone is good at arm’s length, but much farther than that and you should consider a separate mic
    2. Also, consider the space in which you are recording and the sound dynamics and acoustics. A quiet space is best
  5. Seriously consider using your smartphone for recording
    • Most modern smartphones have built in HD cameras, so it’s a great option for high quality video from a device you already own
    • But be cautious about going longer than 30 minutes without a break. My phone records a maximum of 4GB of HD video at a time, and then splits the file before beginning recording again. This is about 30 minutes of HD video. If a presentation lasts longer than this mark, you may have a few seconds missing in the middle when the camera splits the video to a second file.
  6. Again, OBS Studio gives you the most flexibility for recording videos (OBS Studio tutorial here)

Additional Tips

Live Streamed video vs. Zoom vs. Pre-recorded
  • Live Steamed video
    • Lowest quality of the three due to buffering needed on both ends (buffered upload from the streamer, buffered download from the viewer).
    • It will also have a few second delay between what is recorded and what is shown on screen
    • But YouTube does offer options to maximize quality (longer delay), or maximize interactivity (lower quality)
  • Zoom
    • Medium quality video, it will run like a video conference call
    • But, it’s a good idea (if you’re using an app for Zoom – or the YouTube app for Live Streaming) to set your camera as horizontal orientation before beginning. Once you start the call / stream, the orientation might not change, and most software is optimized for horizontal video
  • Pre-recorded
    • Offers the opportunity for the highest quality video, sound, and video elements (depending on your equipment and setup)
    • Affords the ability to edit the video before posting, to cut unnecessary parts or mistakes, or to add in additional elements, effects, overlays, images, or video clips
    • Ultimately is the most difficult to setup and will likely be the most time consuming – depending on how much you want to put into it
Setup considerations
  • Location / room
    • Choose a quiet room, with good lighting
  • Background / backdrop
    • Consider your background – and point the camera in a direction you don’t mind showing, or put up some kind of backdrop
    • Always be mindful of where the camera is pointing and what it is showing (unless you don’t mind)
  • Adequate Lighting
    • You need a bright source of light from the front
    • 45 degrees above your eye-line is perfect (so sit in front of an open window if you can)
    • Or, attach a light or two 45 degrees to your right and left as they will help soften the shadows on your face from an overhead light that is too strong or too directly overhead
  • Framing & camera angle
    • Don’t put your face in the exact center of the shot. Rather employ the rule of thirds to keep your eye-line in the upper-third of the viewport
    • Additionally, remember that cameras that are too low tend to show you with a double-chin. There’s a reason Instagram models take photos from above their heads. A higher angle (on the top of a computer monitor, or selfie stick) gives you a more attractive appearance on camera
    • Sometimes you may consider putting your laptop computer on top of a stack of books if the laptop camera is too low and pointed up at you.
    • Eye-line or higher is a good angle for the camera.
  • High quality camera (phone / HD webcam)
    • The highest quality camera, and the highest quality settings you can enable on that camera will give you the best video. Just remember the cautions mentioned above about file size.
    • If your webcam is not an HD webcam, perhaps it’s time to invest in one. You can find a good HD webcam for right around 50,000 won.
  • Sound quality (microphone)
    • At arm’s length, most camera mics are OK, but the farther away the camera / mic is, the lower quality the sound. This is because these camera / mic combos don’t employ any kind of noise cancellation
    • Consider purchasing a separate 3.5mm mic for your phone or USB mic for your computer to get a much better sound quality
  • PowerPoint (slides only)
    • When recording a video with PPT, remember:
    • You’ll get slides ONLY
    • You need to Export the file as a Video (and not just save it again as a PPTX)
  • OBS Studio (with talking head)
    • With OBS Studio, you can record:
    • Your screen
    • Your webcam (and overlay it over the screen)
    • Additional cameras
    • Additional monitors
    • A single piece of software
    • Create title and image overlays
    • Play videos and record them
    • Record a single software window
    • OR combine ALL of these (with transitions) into a very dynamic presentation
  • MS Movie Maker (Windows editing)
    • The simplest (and FREE) solution for editing videos in Windows
  • iMovie (Mac editing)
    • The simplest (and FREE) solution for editing videos on Mac
  • Handbrake (convert video files)
    • The simplest (and FREE) solution for converting any video file between a variety of formats
    • Compress huge files into smaller MP4s
  • Audacity (sound editing)
    • The simplest (and FREE) solution for editing or cleaning up sound (MP3s, WAV, etc) for your videos

By Aaron

Aaron Snowberger is the Technical Chair for the KOTESOL 2020 National Conference. As such, he's building the conference website(s), as well as providing consultation and recommendations for all technical aspects of the online format. In 2019, he was the Conference Chair for the National Conference held in Jeonju, where he also created the conference website, app, posters, and book for the event.

Aaron is a 14-year Jeonju resident, a Google Certified Educator, Trainer, and GSuite Admin, and a professional programmer, graphic designer, and online educator. He has taught ESL for 14 years, and computer-related design and programming courses for 8 years. He is currently employed by Jeonju University.