Prepare for a Video Recording

Preparation is key to producing effective instructional videos. Get tips for preparing what you will present, as well as for being on camera. 


Videos can be used effectively to help students achieve learning outcomes. Instructors can elect to record the videos themselves or engage outside help such as our Academic Video Production team. Either way, preparation is key. After planning your video, or meeting with us to plan your video, the next step is to prepare for the recording. Below are some tips for preparing what you will present, as well as for being on camera. 


Prepare Your Presentation 

Key Message

Clearly define the key message for the video, then identify the specific points required to communicate the key message. Educational videos should be short--no more than three to ten minutes. For a short video, there can be no more than one or two key messages.


A script is your roadmap to creating a good quality video. It keeps you on message and on time. If you prefer not to read from a script, you should create an outline to make sure you keep on message.


Reading from a teleprompter allows you to maintain eye contact with your audience. If you look directly into the camera, your audience will feel that you are talking to them individually.

Visuals to Enhance the Video

If you wish to include images or supplemental video (aka “B-roll”), the video producer needs to know this BEFORE the video recording. This is another good reason to create a script. 

Prepare to Be on Camera

Your clothing should reflect your role as an instructor. In other words, choose clothing that is flattering, comfortable, and appropriate for the occasion. Some clothing can look fine in person, but on camera is distracting. 

Following are some rules for dressing for the camera:

  • Avoid the colors red, black and white. Red sometimes looks “smeary” on camera. Black and white offer too much contrast. The best colors for video are strong pastels: shades of rose, blue, aqua, and teal all work better than pale naturals for example. Choose color over beige any day, but make sure it is solid.
  • Patterned fabric such as herringbone or small vertical stripes distorts the picture.
  • Tight patterns can cause signal noise on-screen.
  • Clothing should be comfortable enough to allow easy movement of the arms and upper body.
  • Wear clothing with lapels or a front opening so that the microphone can be attached easily.
  • Avoid bulky, reflective, or noisy jewelry.
  • Avoid tinted lenses in glasses. Occasionally eyes are hidden by eyeglass reflections, but adjusting the camera lens or the room lighting should solve the problem.
  • Wear make-up appropriate for a conventional classroom. Avoid dark eyeliner colors, dark lipsticks, and dark blusher. Clear red and salmon lipsticks look good and a moderate amount of blusher works well.


  • Rehearse before recording! Read your script out loud and practice delivery.
  • Remove any noisy jewelry.
  • Sit up straight! You'll sound much better.
  • If you have a cell phone or a watch that beeps, remove them and put them away where they won't interrupt the taping.
  • If you are recording in your office, ask that calls not be put through. Also, have intercoms and background noise turned off.
  • Bring water to drink to avoid dry mouth.