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Creating Short Social Media Videos: Tips and Tricks for Recording Yourself

Social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube provide important avenues for reaching your community clientele. Social media messages compliment in-person trainings and events by sparking interest and splitting information into bite-sized pieces. In addition to sharing dates of an upcoming event, you can share interesting tips and tricks on any subject you’d like to promote. Examples we’ve recently shared include food safety, stress management, and water conservation in agriculture. One of the easiest ways to offer this information without having to do a lot of editing is to record yourself presenting one tip or trick under 1 minute per video. An added benefit of these videos will be the connection viewers make with you, your programs, and your county offices as they are receiving helpful information.

Here are some suggestions on how to capture quality video when recording yourself.

1. Pick a quiet location.

This tip is important, especially if you do not plan

on using an extra microphone. If you are outside, make sure you are out of the wind. Sometimes a small breeze can make a loud sound when it hits the mic on your camera. We offer a directional mic with our loaner iPad kit that has a fuzzy cover, called a wind jammer, designed to block the wind. We also offer a lavalier or lapel mic that will make your voice easier to hear over the background noise, because it’s closer to your mouth.

2. Stabilize your camera.

Even the slightest camera shake can be distracting for your audience. Your hands cannot hold your camera still enough to eliminate movement. Use a tripod whenever possible. It will give you the most flexibility with height and camera angle. If necessary, you can improvise by propping your camera in a safe and steady location.

3. Vertical or horizontal? It depends on the social media channel you are using and whether you plan to edit and crop the video after recording. Some video cameras aren’t designed to shoot vertically, but if you are shooting with a phone or tablet and sharing only to social media, the recommendation is to orient the phone or tablet vertically. If you are recording footage for use in longer videos that will be viewed on a computer/TV monitor, projection screen, or on YouTube, then turn the phone or tablet horizontally.

4. Light your face well. Make sure there isn’t anything behind you that’s brighter than your face. You can record yourself outside in open shade, or inside near a large window. You can add a small LED light or ring light (provided in our loaner iPad kit) to add more light to your face when recording indoors. Office overhead lights cast a shadow over the eyes, which lessens your connection with your audience. Conversely, the reflection of light in your eyes will help you connect with your audience.

5. Eliminate distractions. In addition to unwanted sounds, you will want to pay particular attention to your background and whether there are any unwanted items in the shot. For example, we don’t want to show logos other than those from NMSU. Remove clutter and trash.

6. Wear work-appropriate clothing. Clothing should be neutral or representative of your organization. Don’t wear clothes with logos, slogans, or imagery associated with an institution or company other than who you are representing in the video. Wear safety gear if needed, depending on your location and subject matter. For example, if you are in a commercial kitchen, you may wear a hairnet.

7. Do a test recording. If possible, do a test recording before the actual recording in the same location under the same lighting conditions. Play it back to make sure you like what you see and hear. You can choose to do a test recording on the same day or a few days prior to your actual recording time. Maybe you want to refine your message. Maybe you want to change the location or time of day for better sound and lighting.

8. Schedule more time than you think you’ll need. Plan on recording multiple takes, especially if you are new to recording yourself or don’t plan to do a lot of editing. Block one or two hours for your first recording session.

9. Prepare to share. After you’ve completed your recording, you may want to edit the videos on your device or transfer them to a computer for editing. You may also choose to upload the videos to your social media channel and do some basic editing there, such as trimming the beginning and ending and adding text. You can prepare a series of short videos well before you decide to release them. Preparing them early will give you time to make any changes you may want to make. But if you want to post immediately, that is okay too. That’s when all the planning you do before the recording will be an advantage.

Creating these videos is a process, and like any process, the more you do it, the easier it gets. As you work, you’ll refine the process to better fit your workflow and improve the quality over time with additional training and experience while increasing your online presence today.

For additional help on designing videos for social media, contact Jeffrey Buras To check out an iPad kit, contact Joe Valenzuela

Written by Tomilee Turner, Director of Video Unit, and Jeffrey Buras, Social Media Specialist


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