Recording your own video

In our online services we try to involve as many different members of our church family as possible. You can take part in our online worship if you are willing to video record yourself doing a reading, prayer, testimony, children’s story, drama, or other creative item that can help us to worship.

If you would like to take part in our services in one of these ways, please contact us.

Almost all our service content is filmed on everyday mobile phones, tablets or laptops. No expensive equipment is necessary but there are some important things you can do to get the get the best quality video and sound. We’re all learning as we go, but these are some of the important lessons we’ve learned so far:

  1. Please follow the guidelines of the service leader especially regarding the length of your item. All videos should be under 5 minutes if at all possible.
  2. To record yourself you can use a laptop with a webcam, a phone or an iPad or tablet. The cameras on phones often give better quality results than laptops.
  3. Sound quality is more important than video quality. You’ll get better sound the closer you are to your device. If using a phone, better sound can be achieved by using a headset if it has a built-in microphone (looks like a bulge in the wire). If you want to improve things further, we recommend a ‘Lavalier’ style clip on microphone to plug into your phone like this one. Note that you may need to unplug the microphone to play back the video on your phone’s speaker.
  4. Lighting is important. Please avoid having any light sources behind you e.g. windows and lamps. This will put your face in shadow then we won’t be able to see you! Rather, try to position yourself so that you have a light or a window in front of you, or preferably diagonally in front of you.
  5. Position your camera at eye level. This looks much more natural to the viewer than looking up at somebody or looking down at them. You can get your device to the right height by putting it on a stack of books or boxes.
  6. Stand up or sit in an upright chair at a table. It's harder to get the angles right when sat on a sofa or easy chair.
  7. Please position your device so that it records in landscape rather than portrait orientation.
  8. Try to look directly at the camera. If you're using a camera or device in ‘selfie’ mode where you see your own image the tendency is to look at yourself (it’s not vanity, it’s just human nature to look into the eyes of whoever we see in front of us!). The actual camera on a phone, tablet or laptop is usually very small, only a few millimetres across. Consider putting a sticker or a post-it note next to it with an arrow to remind you to look into the actual camera.
  9. Your notes are best placed below the camera as it looks more natural then looking to the side of the camera.
  10. Before you start talking and after you finish talking, pause while you look at the camera for 2-3 seconds. This gives the editor time to fade in or out.
  11. You can often get good results by being in your garden but be aware that background noises like neighbours’ lawnmowers and passing cars will be picked up. If it’s a sunny day, it’s best to film in the shade to avoid harsh shadows. Avoid any wind or breezes, even light breezes will sound very loud on the recording.
  12. Consider what’s in the background. It’s good to have something behind you and to not be right up against a wall to give the shot some depth. Pictures on the wall, flowers, bookcases etc behind you can help to add depth but try to avoid anything which is too distracting so that you yourself are the main focus of the shot.
  13. Play your recording back to yourself (or to others in your home) and see how it looks and sounds. Nobody likes seeing or hearing themselves on video but this is something we have to try to get used to whilst using this online medium for worship, until we can meet in person again.

The following short video from Speak Life has great tips for recording your own video on a mobile device.