So you want to film a professional tutorial? Here’s how to do it with your webcam

Looking to share a best practice with your colleagues? You can film a professional tutorial easily and at no cost using your computer’s webcam!

Here are 6 tips to optimize the quality of your video:

1. Use a hands-free kit

Even though the latest webcams have good image quality, the same really can’t be said about the sound. Inbuilt mics capture background noise and recording quality is often below average.

But before investing in an external mic like the Boya BY-M1 (which I personally recommend), you can start by using a headset or a hands-free set that’s compatible with your computer.

2. Choose the background and the light

It’s easy to forget about what’s behind you when you’re focusing on your text or what you look like. But you should definitely choose your backdrop carefully so it doesn’t distract from what you’re saying. Try to choose a neutral backdrop (like a light-colored wall) that’s not too cluttered, and away from people and noise. To avoid harsh shadows, place yourself opposite a source of natural light.

3. Raise your laptop

On a computer, the most comfortable position is at eye-level. But if you’ve got a laptop, that’s probably not the position you’re normally in.

Filming with a webcam
Avoid looking down into the camera

To avoid looking down into the camera (and inviting your viewers to admire your ceiling!), remember to raise your laptop. The ideal height would be a package of printer paper. Ideally even a paperless office should have something at that level.

4. Center your shot correctly

The lines that cut a screen into thirds both horizontally and vertically are called gridlines. Ideally, you should position important parts of your shot on a gridline, and your eyes should be between the two upper tiers. If there’s a supporting document being scrolled through alongside your video, it’s best to position yourself in the middle of the screen.

Remember that you can use annotations to support your arguments with key words or images. If these take up a lot of space, move over to the side.

5. Secure the camera

We all tend to look at ourselves when we film. But don’t! Look at the webcam instead. Also, take a few seconds to check your camera at the beginning and end of your recording session, to avoid false starts or abrupt endings.

Remember that on a platform like Speachme (see boxed text), you can cut your videos – like the first couple of minutes when you’re checking your hair or practicing your smile, or the last couple of minutes when you’re reaching for the computer to hit “stop”.

6. Be alone

Did you close the door to your office and let your colleagues know you were “on air”?

Also remember to put your cellphone on flight mode and deactivate your email and chat notifications. It’d be too bad if an untimely beep ruined your best take!