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

Zoom Setup for the National Conference


  1. Security Recommendations
  2. Profile Settings
  3. App Settings

Due to a new trend known as “Zoom bombing” (Zoom raiding / Zoom trolling), the Zoom team has shifted resources to combating harassment and improving security features in the app.

So, following the recommendations of this New York Times article, here are some recommendations for better security during the conference. (Note: most of the following settings may be accessed from your profile on the Zoom website at

Security Recommendations

  1. * Make sure you’re running the Latest Version of Zoom. I’ve personally updated the app 2-3 times in the last week or two after Zoom meetings. These updates include multiple fixes and additional security features.
  2. * DO NOT share your Zoom link / code publicly. Instead, share it only with the Conference organizers who will make it public to registered Conference attendees on THIS site (and the Slack chat) 10 minutes before you go LIVE.
  3. (Optional): Set a Meeting password. Actually, this step is not necessary because your Zoom link will be hidden behind a login screen on the Conference website.
  4. (Optional): Create a Waiting Room to screen attendees before allowing them in. (This can be managed by your helper / session manager / co-presenter if necessary).
  5. Restrict Features as needed in Host controls:
    1. * Set Screen-sharing to “Host only”. If someone were trying to Zoom bomb you, they could try to share anything (including inappropriate or derogatory materials, images, or Desktop wallpapers). So it is recommended to enable this.
    2. * Turn OFF the Annotation feature. Again, if participants are allowed to make Annotations on your screen share, trolls may try to write or draw inappropriate things.
    3. (Optional): Block private chats. This option disallows participants from contacting you directly / privately in chat.
    4. Turn OFF File transfers. If File Transfers are enabled, participants may be able to share files with the whole group.
    5. Restrict custom backgrounds. Again, if there are trolls in the group, some may try to set their custom backgrounds to inappropriate pictures. Enabling this option will fix that, and although some people may complain about showing the background of their home, you can just ask them to turn off their video cameras.
  6. * Disable “Allow removed participants to rejoin” to prevent people (trolls) you remove from the Meeting to rejoin.

Profile Settings (Web)

Many of the above settings can be controlled from the Zoom website (NOT the app) after you sign in. Go to to manage them.

You may want to check the following settings online:

1. Meeting

  • Schedule Meeting
    • Mute participants upon entry
  • In Meeting (Basic)
    • Chat (Allow meeting participants to send a message visible to all participants)
      • Prevent participants from saving chat
    • Private chat
    • File Transfer
    • Screen sharing
      • Who can share? (Host / All Participants)
      • Who can start sharing when someone else is sharing?
    • Disable desktop / screen share for users
    • Annotation
    • White board (similar to Annotation)
    • Allow removed participants to rejoin
  • In Meeting (Advanced)
    • Breakout Room (allow small groups)
    • Virtual background
    • Waiting Room

2. Recording

  • Local Recording (Allow hosts and participants to record the meeting to a local file)
    • Hosts can give participants the permission to record locally

If you want to record, you may check the following options.

Note: recording your Zoom talk is NOT recommended as it requires express permission from all participants. Additionally, you must give participants a chance to exit the room if they do not wish to be recorded or you may be in violation of various privacy laws.

  • Recording Disclaimer (Show a customizable disclaimer to participants before a recording starts)
  • Multiple audio notifications of recorded meeting

App Settings

Find your App Settings in the upper-right corner of the Zoom app (Gear wheel). The following list will go through most of the Setting screens and give recommendations to apply during the conference.

1. General Settings

One interesting setting here is “Dual Monitors.” If you have dual monitors:

  • Monitor 1 (main): Open your screen sharing, PPT, or main window
  • Monitor 2 (side): Open the list of meeting participants

2. Video Settings

  • Enable HD = higher quality image
  • Mirror my video = de-select to show text through your webcam
  • Touch up my appearance = uses filters to soften facial features and blemishes
  • Hide non-video participants = may be useful for large groups to give more space to people who are using their webcams

3. Audio Settings

Please setup, double-check, and TEST your Audio settings here before the Zoom meeting to be sure participants will be able to see and hear you.

4. Share Screen

Deselect the following if you don’t want to be forced into full screen mode when someone shares their screen.

  • Enter full screen when a participant share screen
  • Maximize Zoom window when a participant share screen

Select the following to avoid interruptions while screen sharing.

  • Silence system notifications when sharing desktop

5. Chat Settings

There are many options available here, but the defaults are probably fine. Still, you may wish to read through some of them yourself to see if there is anything you want to change.

6. Virtual Background Settings

Note: Only computers with a powerful enough processor will be able to use custom backgrounds anyway. But, it’s still recommended to disallow this feature for participants.

7. Recording Settings

Note: Recording your session is NOT recommended as you would need to get express permission from each of the participants to record them on video or risk violating various privacy laws.

That being said, the following options may be useful in other circumstances:

  • Record a separate audio file for each participant – this option would be useful if you were going to edit the recording later and wanted to control audio levels separately for each participant.
  • Place video next to the shared screen in the recording – this option would keep your webcam image beside the screen share in the video.

8. Profile Settings

This tab mostly has to do with your own profile. Feel free to take a look and edit it as you see fit.

9. Statistics Settings

This would be a good place to check on the stream statistics themselves as you are in the meeting. If your video or audio is lagging for some reason, you may be able to detect the cause or reason for the issue here.

10. Keyboard Shortcuts Settings

If you plan to do extensive Zoom meetings in the future, it might be worth your time to investigate the Keyboard shortcuts or set up some of your own to simplify repetitive tasks.

11. Accessibility Settings

These settings have to do more with accessibility features for users with disabilities. These settings would include things like High Contrast, helpers for blind or visually impaired users, and so on.