Best practices for filming testimonials
Make sure there’s enough light: Brighter is better! If the image looks a little blotchy or degraded, you’re probably not in enough light. This rule is simple but frequently neglected by first-time self-videographers. Filming in an area with sufficient light will make the film look professional and pleasant to watch.
Film in front of a relatively plain background: A plain colored wall will work well. Try not to record in front of anything more complicated than a bookcase. A messy or visually overstuffed background will distract the eye.
Relatedly, film somewhere clean: The area doesn’t have to be spotless, but people will notice a cluttered background.
Be thoughtful about the camera’s position: Record from the chest-up. Make sure your entire head is in the frame, and look straight or nearly straight into the camera.
Try to avoid too much camera jostling: You can ask someone to film you or even pose/lean your phone on top of a table or stack of books. It’s also fine to record selfie style, with your arm extended and the camera pointed towards your face, as long as you don’t move your arm/wrist too much.
Free and easy-to-use video editing tools
Desktop video editing tools: Machete Lite (Windows only), Avidemux (Windows, Mac, Linux), iMovie (Mac), OpenShot (Windows, Mac, Linux)
Mobile video editing tools: Splice (iOS), Quik (iOS, Android), Adobe Premiere Clip (iOS, Android)
Audio best practices
Film in a quiet place with limited noise. This will help us capture the best possible audio without muddled speech or intruding sounds.
Record somewhere with (on-the-fly) audio insulation. If you’re indoors, record in an area with a lot of furniture; too much empty space will cause echoes.
Interview best practices
It’s always better to record too much than too little: You can always edit the footage down, so don’t be nervous about rambling, recording multiple takes, or sharing too many files. Relatedly, multiple takes should be the rule more than the exception.
Review what you’ve filmed: If it seems a little off, film it again. We can edit together different pieces from multiple takes. For example, if you stutter or there’s an awkward pause, feel free to re-film.
Be casual: Use colloquial language and talk to the camera as if it were a friend. Don’t be afraid to get emotional! People aren’t watching a 30-second video for its conventionally-conceived eloquence. They’re watching for the immediacy of your experiences and point of view.
Always include the question in your answer: Remember, when you edit this footage together, you won’t necessarily know what the subject is talking about unless the answers reference the question. For example, if the interview question is, “What is your favorite color?” the answer should begin, “My favorite color is…”. If all we had on film were you saying the word, “Blue,” audiences wouldn’t know how to make sense of it.