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Recording video for social media and the web

Most modern smartphones, tablets and laptops are great for recording internet video.  The following tips are specifically focussed on self-recording techniques and expand on the points covered in the short video below.  

Tips for location, lighting and framing


  • Pick a quiet room to record your video. Ideally the location will have a neutral background free of distractions.  You may wish to remove items in the shot that you don't want your viewers to see.
  • Make sure your camera lens is free of smudges, cleaning it with a soft cloth if necessary.
  • It would be ideal if you are able to prop up your smartphone, tablet, laptop or webcam as close to eye level as possible.
  • In the case of a smart phone, you may also wish to ask someone to hold the phone for you, being as steady as possible.


  • A light source should be coming from behind the camera and falling on your face. Natural light from a window usually works best.  Do not use the LED light on your smartphone or tablet.
  • For artificial lighting, you can place a desk lamp behind your phone/tablet/computer. 
  • While windows are best if they are casting light on your face, the opposite is true if these or artificial light sources are directly behind you in the shot.  
  • Your face should not be in the shadows and/or darker than the area behind you.


  • Your eyes should be 1/3rd from the top of the frame
  • Try to remain within one meter of your recording device to ensure good audio quality—closer is better.  You may wish to use earbuds or earphones that have a built in microphone, but it is generally best to avoid headsets with large microphones as these can be distracting.  
  • For videos intended for FacebookInstagram or Twitter, recording in portrait mode on a smartphone is often best because it optimizes your framing for mobile viewers.  
  • For videos intended for YouTube or websites (webinars included), recording in landscape mode is often best because more of your viewers will be using tablets, laptops or desktops.   
  • When in doubt of which format to choose, opt for landscape video as it is easier to work with across platforms



  • Use the default camera app
  • If you are familiar with video resolutions and settings, 1080p is sufficient.  
  • If you’re unfamiliar with these settings, don’t worry as most apps will adjust the video resolution as needed.
  • Rehearse at least once to warm up.  Try to ensure that your message is succinct and to the point and avoid rambling sentences or segues as viewers will likely lose interest and drop off before the end of your video.  
  • Make sure that your topic is understood within the first 10 seconds.
  • Start the recording, take a deep breath and make sure you are relaxed. You can trim the beginning later.
  • Look at the camera during the recording so your viewers feel as though you are looking at them.
  • You can move the phone to show what you are talking about but be sure to keep the movement smooth and not too quick - panning back and forth too quickly makes it difficult to follow. 
  • Speak loudly, but without shouting, slowly and clearly.
  • Avoid using features such “pinch to zoom”
  • When you finish, keep looking at the camera and pause, then stop the recording. You can trim the excess later.
  • Trim the video using the native camera app.  In some cases, social media apps (eg. Instagram) will also allow you to perform simple trims of your clips before you post them.
  • Generally speaking, your video should not be longer than 1 minute for social media, but this may vary from shorter to longer depending on the content and the medium.

Additional resources

The following resources furthur explain the recording and editing features for some of the most common smartphones, tablets and laptops:

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