How to Make Great Videos: Deciding What Format to Shoot In

Video production tips

Part of an on-going series about how to make great videos, without needing specialized tools. Read more here.
So you’ve planned out the content of your video. Now you need to decide what format to shoot your video in.
By this, we don’t mean to debate the merits of 35 mm film. What we mean is, which of the many common devices you may have lying around is most appropriate for the video you want to make? Are you going to use the camera in your phone? The webcam in your laptop? Maybe just stick to a recording of your screen?

Choosing Video Equipment and Formats

What equipment you already own and feel comfortable using is obviously the biggest factor. But these days, many of us have multiple ways of recording videos. In that case, you should pick your equipment based on the goal you chose for your video.
If you’re making a tutorial or a demo, you may want to just use a screen recording and audio. There are a lot of great screen capture tools available out there, some of them free and some of them not. For Kaltura users, we’re in the middle of rolling out CaptureSpace Lite, which is replacing the old Kaltura Screen recorder. This tool lets you capture screen, webcam, and/or audio only. The full version of CaptureSpace allows for even more functionality, including multiple cameras, synchronized PowerPoint presentations, and sophisticated metadata. Using any of the options, a screen recording works best when you want the viewer to be focused completely on what you have to show on the screen.
If you want to get a little more personal (and a little more fancy), it can be nice to record a little intro and summary on your webcam that can be added to the beginning and end of your screen capture. Besides making your video feel a little more polished, giving your viewer a chance to see you helps personalize the video and lets your viewers connect with you.
But if your video is going to be mostly you talking, or feature more than one person, a camera is the way to go. You don’t need to go get a dedicated camera to make great videos, though! Today’s phones generally have really impressive cameras. So go ahead and use your phone. Just make sure you use a tripod. They’re cheap and easy to find. Selfies are fun, but they get old fast in video, and they don’t look very professional.
Why is your phone a better option for good video than your webcam? For one thing, the video quality is usually Choosing between phone and webcambetter. It will look better to begin with, and if you want to do a little editing afterwards, you’ll have a better quality file to work with. Webcams do have the advantage that the file is already on your computer; however, transferring the file from your camera is only one easy additional step, and it’s definitely worth the effort.
More importantly, it’s a lot easier to get good composition with a phone and a little tripod. We’ll talk more about composition in later posts. But for now, let’s just leave it that webcams often aren’t very flattering. You’ll look better and be happier with the results if you can use your phone instead.
So you know what you want to film, and you know how you want to record it. Next up: what are you going to wear?

Looking for more information on CaptureSpace? Watch the video.

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