This page gives some advice for making good video recordings of lectures. Remember that our goal is to convert these videos to digital format and broadcast them on the web, so we must adequately capture the lecturer’s expressions and gestures, and use techniques that are conducive to file compression.


AVOID THE SCREEN. Most of the lecturers we videotape use slides, projected onto a large screen usually directly behind the lecturer. One very common problem with these videotapes is the presence of the screen in the picture. The screen is bright white, which causes the camera to automatically adjust its brightness and makes everything else dim, most notably the lecturer’s face. Try to get just the lecturer in the picture, and not the screen! (In any case, our web lecture will include big images of the slides, so there is no need to see the screen in the video). This makes it a little trickier to position the camera correctly, but the solution is to have the camera up close and off to the side, so that the screen is not visible. Try also to avoid windows.


ZOOM IN. Often the inexperienced camera (wo)man will include in the picture the podium, desk, or entire front of the room. It may look fine in the original large-sized raw video, when you can see all the little details of the lecturer’s face clearly, but the final product on the web will likely be a small video with a lot of detail lost to low bandwidth. The lecturer’s facial expressions will become indistinguishable. Therefore, you should zoom in as close as possible. If the lecturer is not using their hands or arms, zoom in so that their face fills the picture. If the lecturer is gesturing a lot with their hands, zoom out a little to get their hands in the picture.


SLOW AND SMOOTH. Try not to jiggle the camera. When zooming or panning, do it slowly and smoothly. This will cause less skips in the web-broadcasted video.

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