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Resources for Video Creation

Introduction to basic video concepts and helpful resources available at the University of Michigan Library.

Shooting Interviews

Tips for Shooting Better Interviews

Person is seen from behind running a video camera and filming two people in the distance.



1. Charge your batteries and test your equipment with plenty of time ahead. 

2. Pack all your gear. Prepare a checklist: camera, microphone, headphones, tripod, batteries, pre-striped tapes, power supply, lights, etc.

3. Use the checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything.



1.     The picture will not look better than real life.

2.     Don't record sound without listening to it. After all, you wouldn't take a picture without looking, would you?

      •   Wear headphones.
      •   If you can, make a test recording and play it back.
      •   Check for good sound and lighting.

3.     Use an external microphone if possible

      •   If no external mic, zoom out and stick camera in the subject’s face (2’-3')
      •   If no external mic, remember, you are closer to the mic than the subject. Be quiet – breathing, moving, coughing, etc.
      •   In all cases, videographers and subjects should minimize noise – no moving, rustling clothes, coughing, etc.
      •   In all cases, do NOT say anything over your subject talking. No “uh-huh..yes….” etc.!  Be quiet and don’t talk over their voice.

4.     Use a tripod!

5.     Set up camera to have lens at nose height of subject.

6.     Fill the frame with the subject; maybe just their head, or head & shoulders. Employ Rule of Thirds.

7.     Interviewer should be just to the side of the camera. Subject should talk to interviewer.

8.     Subject should sit in a comfortable chair and not against a wall or other background object.
       • NO rolling or spinning chairs!

9.     Use a soft light and avoid hard shadows.

10.   Avoid mixing indoor and outdoor light.


Production Steps to Interviewing

1.   Make sure you bring all the equipment.

2.   Choose a quiet, well lit location, or use continuous lighting if you have it.

3.   Set up your equipment and test your setup before the subject arrives.

4.   Make the subject comfortable.
      Tell them what they can expect.
      Review the questions you will ask them.

5.   Have the subject sign a release.

6.   Test record with the subject and listen to the sound.

7.    Start off by asking some general, get to know you questions until the subject is comfortable.

8.    Shoot the interview.

9.    Tell the subject that they did a great job.
       Ask them if there is anything they wanted to say that wasn’t talked about.
       Thank them for participating.

10.  Transfer your files to your drive and name with subjects and approximate times for each.

11.  Pack all your gear. Use the checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything.

12.  Secure your video files or all is lost; make backup copies as soon as possible.


(Remember: You can break the rules that are meant to be broken - just be sure to learn them first!)


Creating Screen-recordings

Prepping your screencast

  1. Develop a script or storyboard to follow. Do a quick practice run before recording.
  2. Clean up your computer’s desktop, your browser, or work area that is being recorded. Be sure that no private or sensitive content is visible in your recording area.
  3. Test your mic and audio. Consider using a headset or mic for better quality.
  4. Ensure you are in a quiet space with a low chance of being interrupted. Turn off any fans or objects in the space that hum or make noise. 


Recording your screencast

  1. Record in the way that is best for you. In many cases, audio and video can be recorded at the same time or can be recorded before or after the video and added to the video project. So, if you can’t talk and do the actions at the same time, then do them separately.
  2. Record at the correct resolution and aspect ratio. Understand that your computer screen resolution affects the size and resolution of your screencast. For instance, the size of your video will be the same as the resolution of your computer monitor. This website further explains the importance of aspect ratio and screen resolution for screencasting.
  3. When recording, limit mouse movements as much as possible. This will allow for smoother editing and for more clean looking video. Note that you can later add callouts using a screencasting application, such as Camtasia, to point out any important information.
  4. Don’t be afraid to pause when screencasting or recording audio. It’s easier to edit out breaks and pauses in your video or audio than to start over! 
  5. Try to add inflection to your voice when recording audio. Relaxing and smiling while recording will make your narrative sound more warm and natural as well as more engaging.


Editing your screencast

  1. Edit out any unnecessary information. Just try and be sure not to create continuity breaks, such as your cursor teleporting across the screen.
  2. Use callouts, text boxes, cursor actions, other elements in the screencasting software to highlight important points. Also know that other media like images and video clips can also be added to screencasts.
  3. Try and keep any important information or callouts away from the bottom of the screen so that it dos not conflict with closed captions. 
  4. Keep the screencast short if you can. If it exceeds more than 3 or 5 minutes, then consider doing a series of short videos rather than one long video.  Are there multiple topics in your screencast that can be broken down?
  5. Adding captions. If you use a script, then you already have a template for your captions. Ensure your captions are accurate, readable, and complete. YouTube has a great caption editor built into its ecosystem. Other apps, like SubtitleHorse, can also be used to easily create captions to display during your video. 


Recording with Mobile Device