MyLO - My Learning Online

Best Practice for Creating Videos for Assessments

Captain America leaning on a chair saying "so you need to record a video and you only have your phone"

There are a few basic things you can do to improve your video and give the assessors a better chance to mark your work accurately.

Hamburgers, not hot-dogs.

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Holding your phone in a horizontal way when shooting is more like how our eyes see and how TV screens and video windows usually are these days. Wide not high. It also means you are making the most out of the video; If you put a vertical video in a normal video player window it means HEAPS of wasted space on either side.

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Backlight is the enemy.

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You are trying to get light on the face of whoever is being filmed. So, try to make sure you choose where to shoot so that light is hitting the front of the person being filmed. If you have windows behind them, they will probably be turned into barely visible shadows. Look at the screen of your phone and move both them AND you around the room until it looks better.

Windows, curtains, and lights.

If you can, its best to either move away from the windows or close the curtains and turn on the lights, that way you have control of what the light is doing. Cameras can shoot in surprisingly low light these days, but they still cannot handle if it’s really bright in one part of the shot and really dark in the other. Try to make the light fairly even.

Inside OR outside. Not both.

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In the picture above, notice how the outside light from the window looks blue?  Your eyes cannot tell the difference, but Cameras can, outdoor daylight is a different colour (blue) to indoor artificial lights (orange).  So, if you are using daylight as your main light stick with that. If you are using indoor lights, stick with them. Do not do half and half. It looks weird on screen.

Stay close so I can hear you.

Phone cameras do not have great microphones. So, try to stay close to the phone where possible. If you are more than 3 meters away it will sound very quiet. Or if it is in an echoey room, it can sound worse than quiet. It can sound CONFUSING.  The closer you are to the camera, the better you sound. If you can use the plug-in headphones and mic for your camera, you’ll sound even better.

QUIET!

Choose a quiet room and ask people/family to be quiet while you do your filming. If you are in a large echoing space with hard floors and concrete walls, try to find somewhere smaller and quieter. Do a test. Film something and then listen back and see how it sounds. If you are not sure clap your hands loudly in the room and see if it echoes.
If the assessor cannot understand you because the sound is bad, they can’t mark you as well.

Freeze! Do not move a muscle. Now… Rest!

If you can, find a way to rest your phone on something so you are not holding it. Aim it at where you will be doing your recording and leave it there. If someone is holding it, they might get distracted and stop following you. Or they may have shaky hands. Resting your camera on something or on a tripod will make sure you get a nicer smoother shot.

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if you really do HAVE to move around hold the phone close to your chest and brace your arms next to your side so it is moving smoothly (t-rex). Holding it at arm’s length will amplify the shaking and wobbling of your arms.

DO NOT ZOOM.

If you want things to be bigger in the frame move closer to them. Do not just zoom in.

Most phone cameras have some shake remover or digital stabilization, which will make things look nice and smooth, but once you zoom in that does not work as well. Zooming-in makes every little shake or move you do with your hands even bigger. It is much better to be zoomed all the way out and to just move the camera closer.

Talk is cheap Storage is cheaper.

Digital storage is cheap, you are not using film or chewing through tapes. If you get it wrong, just do it again. This is for an assessment, and your marks are relying on you getting it right. If it is a demonstration of your skills, make sure you give yourself the best opportunity to look great.  As such give yourself enough time to do the assignment a few times.

Editing

Most phones allow you to edit your videos in the phone itself. You don’t need to be amazing at it but trimming off the messy bits at the start and end of the video should be pretty easy and it makes the whole thing feel much neater and more professional.

Getting the video off your phone

LEAVE ENOUGH TIME TO DO THE SUBMISSION.  Do not try to do your upload at the last minute. Videos are LARGE files and will take time to transfer, download, upload, convert etc. Make sure you know how to get the videos off your phone onto a computer BEFORE you start. (usb cable or airdrop, email whatever)

And when it comes to uploading them into Echo360… DO IT ON CAMPUS. The Uni has massive amounts of digital infrastructure, so our network will upload videos quickly. Doing it from home can take forever if you have slow internet.  Do not risk it.  Or if you have no choice but to do it at home, make sure you leave enough time to account for errors or slow network. Plan ahead and save yourself the stress of a last-minute upload going wrong because someone is watching Netflix in the next room.