Guidelines for Video Production

The Basics

Keep three things in mind: high quality camera, good lighting, and clear audio.

  1. Cameras: iPhones or standard video cameras are acceptable, as long as they can create HD quality video (all iPhones do). You can also use Zoom or other videoconferencing services. (Review how to ensure good video quality for videos recorded on Zoom.)
  2. Good lighting: The space you are shooting in should be well-lit and should not appear dark on-screen. Additionally, your subject's face(s) should be well-lit, with supplemental lights if needed. Videos cannot be lightened in post-production, so this is important.
  3. Room tone: Listen for the ambient noise in the room and ensure that everything sounds basically the same when you're cutting from shot to shot within one setting.

Tips for Recording

  1. It's best to outline or "storyboard" the video before you shoot it. This way the videographer and speaker are on the same page so there will be no surprises during the shoot.
  2. If possible, use multiple cameras to avoid constant zooming in and out: set one camera up for a wider shot, and another zoomed in to the main subject. Run both cameras at the same time. The two videos can be edited together in post-production.
  3. Use a tripod to avoid shaky video. There is really no way to fix shaky video, and even the steadiest arm will cause some movement, so use a tripod.
  4. Avoid busy backgrounds or backgrounds that show a reflection (windows, pictures on the wall, mirrors, etc.). Look at every corner in the shot and make sure that there are no extraneous items or reflections.
  5. Make sure that all shots are clearly focused and well-framed. Close-ups should focus attention, not distract the viewer. If the speaker is performing a task (like cooking or lighting a menorah), either keep the shot wide to see their entire body or zoom into the task at hand. Never cut the person's head off in the frame.
  6. All video can be edited. Don't be too stressed to try to get it perfect in one take. If the speaker makes a mistake, keep the video rolling and stop, take a breath and redo it. This is considered dead air and can be deleted.
  7. Have a time length in mind. Most videos made for the web are optimally no longer than 2-3 minutes.

Video Standards

  • Video Format: Preferred file types are .MOV and .MP4
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 widescreen (HD)
  • All videos should be shot in landscape orientation, never vertically.

Audio Quality

  • Use either a stationary mic close to speaker or a lavaliere mic attached to speaker.
  • The best sound quality will be in a room that has rugs. Empty rooms with bare floors will create an echo.
  • All audio should be consistently audible throughout the length of the project.
  • All audio files should be clearly understood through the length of the project.
  • All audio files should be free of background noise, background music, breaks, skips, hissing, etc.
  • If there is more than one speaker, neither speaker should be noticeably louder than the other.


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