Video Recording Tips

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Just Do It!

The most important tip for recording video is pretty simple — JUST DO IT! Video is the very best way to communicate your message and search engines love video. So, if you aren’t yet comfortable with video, get comfortable.

Add video to your website, send video emails, collect video testimonials and customer stories, send video to your social media accounts, use video on your landing pages, use video recordings to screen job candidates — just do it.

Consider The Intended Use

As we discuss in this blog post, there are three types of content — showpiece, workhorse and PDQ (pretty darn quick). The amount of time and money you put into producing a video should be determined by the intended use. For example, the budget for a showpiece video (e.g., for website home page, tradeshow booth, national sales meeting) should be higher than a workhorse video (e.g., for use by sales team, important website pages), which should be higher than a PDQ video (e.g., for webinars, blog entries, social media, online store, emails).

Consider The Wide Range Video Types

When people think about video, they often think in terms of what’s called a “talking head” video. This type is great for many applications (video email, training, testimonials, customer stories, product promotions) but there are many other types as well. Depending on the budget, each type can be produced as a showpiece, workhorse or PDQ video.

Here are primary types of video content (and some of the tools you can use to produce PDQ or workhorse videos)

  • Talking head or on location (webcam, smartphone, camcorder)
  • Edited using video clips (iMovie, MovieMaker, VivaVideo)
  • Screen capture with voice over (Camtasia, ScreenFlow)
  • Slide deck screen capture with voice over (PowerPoint/Keynote with Camtasia/ScreenFlow)
  • Automated (Magisto, Animoto, Videolicious)
  • Animated (Powtoon, GoAnimate)
  • Whiteboard (Videoscribe)
  • Sketch (Doodlecast, Doceri)
  • Webinar (Google Hangout, Go To Webinar, Webinar Jam)

Again, the cost to produce these various types of video can range from free to tens of thousands of dollars. To learn more about the available DIY tools, click here.

No matter how the video is produced, you can use your Content XLerator account to host and transcode the video and distribute it to a wide range of destinations.

Camera Selection

Which camera you use is probably the least important consideration in making a good video. Almost any newer video camera (stand-alone, within a smartphone, webcam) will work just fine. For example, check out this Bentley advertisement that was shot entirely with an iPhone 5S and edited using iMovie. Here is one important tip if you’re considering buying a new stand-alone camera — be sure to get one with an audio input jack.

If you will be using your webcam for video recording, you might want to invest in an external webcam that plugs into the USB port on your computer. Two good choices are:

  • Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920, 1080p Widescreen Video Calling and Recording
  • Logitech HD Portable 1080p Webcam C615 with Autofocus

If you want the latest about camera selection, check out our blog.


Although the microphone on many cameras will be OK in a quiet area, using a separate microphone is almost always preferable. For recording from camera or smartphone, you should use a lapel microphone that plugs into the audio input jack. Here are some good choices:

  • Rode smartLav+ Lavalier Microphone for iPhone and Smartphones
  • Movo PM10 Deluxe Lavalier Lapel Clip-on Omnidirectional Condenser Microphone for Apple iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android & Windows Smartphones

Note, if you have an iPhone, the connector to the phone must be a 3.5mm four-conductor TRRS male connector, which is different than a standard 3.5 mm (1/8 inch) mini-plug. If the connector on your microphone is a mini-plug and you have an iPhone, you’ll need to purchase an adapter.

For recording from your computer, you should use an external microphone that plugs into the USB port on your computer. Here are some good choices:

  • Blue Microphones Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone, Cardioid
  • Blue Microphones NESSIE Adaptive USB Condenser Microphone, Cardioid
  • Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone

If you want even better sound quality, you could use a professional microphone and mixer — but that’s more than needed for most recordings.


Good lighting can make a big difference in the quality of your video but there is no need to go overboard. You can always shoot outdoors or near an open window during the day but, for indoor shoots, all you need is the following:

  • Basic clip-on desk lamp or an incandescent clamp light (like what you’d use if you were working under the hood of a car) — positioned on your face
  • Ceiling light — positioned above and just behind where you are sitting (“hair light”)
  • Light bulbs that produce full spectrum light (Philips’ Natural Light, GE Reveal)

If you want to invest in professional lighting, call B&H Photo ( and let them help you determine what you need.


Any contraption that keeps your camera steady will work fine. For something small and flexible, check out


For most applications, you should keep your videos short — 1 to 3 minutes.

Title and Description

Obviously the video itself is the most important element but don’t shortchange the Title — which will be the post title on your blog or the headline of the Content XLerator video-play page. Write the Title as you would any headline. The description of your video is also important. It will appear above the video on your blog and below the video on the CXL video-play page. In many cases, the description should include a URL link to a call to action page.

Video Production

Given the growing importance of online video to almost any business, you’ll want to produce a lot of it for all the various situations where video has a role. Therefore, for speed and budget reasons, most of your videos will be of the PDQ (pretty darn quick) variety, which you’ll produce yourself or with the help of an internal individual or team. However, for some videos (showpieces, workhorses), you may want to outsource the production. If you find yourself in this situation, we’d recommend our sister company— Business XLerator.