Tips for creating video from home

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many of us to take the plunge into filming and creating videos. It is easy to get started just using a smartphone and Facebook, for instance. Here are some tips from us and others for how to film videos at home, in terms of technology, presentation skills, and improving the quality of what we produce.

Get the basics right

Some general tips:

  • Orientation. Whether using a camera, smartphone, or tablet, make sure to always film video in a landscape format. For phones and tablets, this means turning them on their side.
  • Eye level. Have the camera at eye level. This might mean propping the phone on a window sill or placing a few books under the laptop (or having an adjustable tripod or music stand).
  • Lighting. Ideally, find somewhere with good natural light. Avoid the light being directly behind you (such as standing in front of a window) or directly above you (such as a ceiling light). Desk lamps can be great for extra light.
  • Stability. Keep the recording device as still as possible. Use a tripod, or if using a smartphone, it’s best to prop it rather than have a family member hold it.
  • Where to look. Make sure to look directly in the camera lens, rather than at the image on the screen. It’s ok to check notes or a script, but treat the camera like it’s a live audience.
  • Sound. Record in a quiet location and speak clearly. It’s usually best to avoid filming outdoors where there's lots of background noise. You might want to keep close to the recording device if using the build-in mic. However, investing in an external microphone will allow more flexibility and improve the audio quality.

Watch these five basic tips for creating a pre-recorded video from Stuart Forsyth
1. Prepare, 2. Camera, 3. Lighting, 4. Audio, 5. Edit

Here are some additional guides on creating video, from the Church of England digital blog:
How to set up to film a video on your phone
How to improve audio quality in video recordings
How to create subtitles for a video

Here's an infographic on filming sermons from home, by Matt Collins (as Communications Coordinator for Salford Methodist Circuit)

Presenting well

And here are some good tips on how to present to camera, from SpeakLife
1. Look at the camera, 2. Have the camera at eye level, 3. Occasionally look away from the camera, 4. Eliminate distractions, 5. Grab people's attention, 6. Speak to people on the other side of the camera, 7. Own the moment, 8. Be human, 9. Watch yourself back, 10. Learn from professional presenters


Improving pre-recorded video quality

A more detailed look through some good practice for filming online church, from Knutsford Methodist Church

Lighting: how not to give yourself three chins, and a host of other hints, from Revd Langley Mackrell-Hey

For more advanced tips, see this section of the Yorkshire North & East Methodist District digital resources page:

Getting Creative

Why not try something different?

The Isle of Man Methodist Church have services, mediations, worship songs and “kids stuff” over at their YouTube Channel

See the Jazz Community Church

Here's Austin New Church in the USA using Bob Dylan style words on sheets of paper -  


Further tips and resources


Some useful editing apps

The Inshot video editing app for smartphones:

Lumens 5 is a free video creation software that takes text and add images to make a video using AI. You can let it 'do it all' and then tweak anything you don't like, or you can do it all yourself. 


If you have any creative ideas or resources that you have found helpful please let us know:

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