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How to Record Nonprofit Video From Home

June 14, 2021

Producing compelling videos for your nonprofit is tough. Chances are you didn’t get a degree in cinematography and don’t have thousands of dollars of expensive gear lying around. That’s okay—you don’t need it. Below, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process we use to record video from home using just your mobile phone. 

VIDEO: How to Record Nonprofit Video From Home  

Review talking points with your subject

Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools we have for activating people, which is why getting your talking points across is crucial. Ask your subject to review what they plan to talk about or do in the video. This can help get out any nervous energy before filming begins and ensure they feel at ease. 

Find a prime recording location 

We recommend filming inside when possible, in a well-lit room that is free from distractions. Find natural light from a window or a space in your home or office that would be a good “set” or background. Try to create space between your subject and the background (ie. don’t film your subject with their back against a wall). Finally, tidy up the space behind your subject to limit distractions. 

Avoid shaky video with a tripod or flat surface

Use a tripod, laptop camera, or phone set on a flat surface to avoid shaky video. Do not hold your camera when filming when possible. 

Light your subject

Make sure you choose a location with a lot of available light so that your audience can actually see your subject. If you are filming indoors, we recommend facing a window that gets indirect sunlight. Indirect sun ensures that the light isn’t blinding to the person being filmed and avoids hard shadows on their face. You can make any necessary adjustments by turning on or off the lights. 

Ensure top quality audio 

Clean and clear audio is very important, especially when people are speaking in the video. If the location is noisy or distracting, wait until the noise quiets down or find another location to film. Don’t hesitate to start again if a car goes by or somebody starts mowing their lawn.  

If you have access to an external microphone (one not built into your camera or phone) use it! If not, it is best to get your microphone as close to your subject as possible to get the highest quality audio. If audio is not great from where you are standing, you can record a voice memo on a separate device and hold it out of frame. Most bluetooth headphones or wired headphones, such as Apple Airpods, also work really well to capture audio. 

Give your subject countdown cues 

Being in front of a camera can make people feel really vulnerable, especially if they have never filmed a video like this before. They’ll be looking to you to help ease their anxieties. A great way to ensure your subject feels at ease is to offer clear direction. 

Tell your subject you will count down from 5 to cue them to start speaking. After pressing record on your camera, countdown from 5 to give your subject time to gather their thoughts before they begin speaking. We recommend saying 5 and 4 out loud then using your fingers to count down from 3...2...1 then pointing at your subject to signify that it is go time! 

Remind your subject to pause and count to 5 in their head in between their sections / takes.

Producing a compelling video doesn’t have to be an intimidating endeavor or even an expensive one. Review your talking points, find a location, use a tripod, find your light, check your audio and cue your subject to record videos from home with just a mobile phone. And don’t forget you can always ask Marketing Mission any questions!

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