Video Basics

Online video has become very popular and is now a standard element of many online experiences. An instructor-generated video is effective in personalizing an online course, engaging students through different teaching/learning styles, and presenting content that is difficult or impossible to present with text or other traditional forms of delivery.

When to Shoot Your Own Video

While we would like to lead and coordinate all video shoots, there might be times where we will ask that you shoot a video by yourself. This can occur for a variety of reasons.

Always consult with your Instructional Designer or the Media Team before creating videos on your own.

Possible reasons to shoot your own video:

  • When you have spoken to your Instructional Designer about your video needs and our Media Team is unavailable.
  • When you feel it is important to address students by speaking to them on video.
  • When you wish to amend additional video commentary to an already developed presentation or topic.
  • If you wish to present and relate current news or events to the course subject matter in a timely fashion.
  • If you are on location out of state or otherwise, and want to capture relevant video.
  • If you have access to real-world examples that you wish to show and comment on.
  • When you feel video will be beneficial and you need quick turnaround.

Fundamental Video Concepts

Below are the very basics of shooting a quality video. We would like you to keep these things in mind when planning and executing your video shoot.

Framing and the Rule of Thirds

Imagine guidelines dividing the frame into thirds vertically and horizontally.

When filming, remember to have your subject or focal point placed one-third of the way across the frame. The eyes of the person you are filming should be one-third of the way from the top of the screen. Otherwise, your subject will look awkward. With the eyes placed around the top third line, your subject will look comfortable. This rule also helps ensure proper headroom. Headroom is the space between your subject and the top of the frame.




Too Much Headroom, Centered

Too Much Headroom, Centered



Too Much Headroom, Centered

Too Much Headroom, Centered


Lighting is everything when it comes to video. And that makes sense since what you are recording is light reflecting off objects and surfaces. Always be sure you are in a well-lit area when filming.

The easiest way to do this is to go outside and film on a sunny day. Otherwise, you can also film indoors with ample lighting. Be sure to have your bright light source in front of your subject. Avoid having sources of bright light behind the subject, such as bright windows, televisions, uncovered lights.


Too dark


Sound is very important and needs to be considered carefully. When recording your videos, be sure you have things such as your cell phone and computer silenced so as not to interrupt your recording. Also be sure to keep your cell phone in another room during recording as the signal broadcast by it can sometimes interfere with the microphone on the camera and cause unwanted noise.

Also be sure to position yourself or your subject no farther than about 10 feet away from the camera. The microphone on the camera can pick up a lot, but you don’t want to be too far away. Be sure to keep framing in mind too.

Be aware of other environmental noise such as sounds of garbage trucks, lawn mowers, noisy neighbors, and so on. When filming outdoors, make sure there is little to no wind. Even the faintest wind has a chance of being picked up on the microphone when it blows over the camera.


When picking a place to film your videos, try to find a backdrop that is visually interesting. But don’t go overboard. You don’t want anything distracting from the content or message of your video. Again, remember to pick a location that is well lit.

Change it up. When filming multiple videos, try to film in varied locations. This will make your videos more visually interesting.


Always use a tripod. A tripod not only holds your camera for you, it also keeps it stable and level. Keep situations where you are filming while holding the camera in your hands to a minimum. A shaky or constantly moving camera can be very distracting.

If you feel the need to move the camera- for example, when showing various objects on a table -reposition the tripod and start and stop the camera between talking about each object. Don’t worry about editing. We will take care of that on our end.

Filming Techniques

When filming it is a good idea to get what is called “B-Roll” of objects and things talked about by the speaker. Take note of things you talk about during your video and record closeups of them whenever possible. Again, we will take care of all the editing.

Now you are bound to need a few tries when recording your videos. In these cases, feel free to let the camera keep rolling and try it again. So if you are going along recording and decide you would like to say something in another way, just start again from the beginning without turning the camera off. We will take care of editing out the bad takes. Be sure to pause and leave ample time around the beginning and ends of your takes. This will allow for natural transitions in and out of your video.

Reviewing Your Video

After recording, you should review your video. This can be done either in camera (see the Camera Manual for details) or by copying the video to your computer. (See the following sections for details) Be sure to look at things like the framing, lighting, and sound quality in addition to what you said and did.

Uploading Videos to CEOEL

Once you are done recording your videos, you can send them in via our Media Uploader. More information on how to use it is located on the Using the Media Uploader documentation page.

Published on June 12, 2015 at 3:20:49 pm CDT. Last modified on June 06, 2018 at 4:03:30 pm CDT.