Tips and tricks for shooting, editing and producing videos from home

Some easy ways to ensure your home-produced videos are polished—from lighting and framing to preparation and length.

As if video producing wasn’t hard enough in a controlled studio setting, now we have to turn our unpredictable home environment into a film set.

The good news: We’re all in the same boat. Even journalists like Savannah Guthrie, Chris Cuomo, Gayle King and Anderson Cooper have turned their living rooms, basements and dining rooms into TV studios.

Here are four tips for producing great videos from the comforts of your abode:

  1. Lighting: Sit facing the window or a lamp that mimics natural light. This will provide the right amount of glow to your face. If the window is behind you, you’ll look dreadfully dark and it will create an ethereal effect that you really don’t want.
  2. Framing: The rule of thirds still applies. Don’t center yourself or your subject smack dab in the middle of the frame. Create interest by positioning the subject in the upper thirds of the frame. (And we know your gallery wall is a work of art, but it’s best admired in-person—not in the backdrop of a corporate video.)
  3. Preparation: Hold a pre-production meeting with your subject before the live recording. During the meeting, scout out the location where it will be filmed in their home, test their lighting and audio, practice the script so they get comfortable, and recite the standard audio reminders: Close all the programs down on your computer so there are no noise alerts. Silence your phone. Close the door (with the animals on the other side), and charge your headphones overnight.
  4. Length: Your viewers have serious screen fatigue. Two minutes or less is the rule of thumb. Exceptions apply, but very few. Very So, keep it short and sweet.

Watch my full interview with Marcus Steele, RCG’s senior video producer, for more advice.


Rebecca Shaffer is the managing partner of Ragan Consulting Group. She specializes in internal communications consulting.

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