When shooting video to send to us, we recommend Flip HD video cameras for their quality and affordability, but any good high-definition video camera will work. Check out Flip video cameras on Amazon.com.

A few rules that will improve the quality of the video you shoot

  • Choose a place that is quiet and preferably carpeted. This will keep echos, dog barking, etc. from disrupting your audio.
  • Make sure your background isn’t moving. Sitting in front of something like a bookshelf puts the focus on you, and not on whatever’s going on behind you.
  • Avoid windows whenever possible. Draw shades and use artificial lighting instead. Make sure to have more than one artificial lighting source so the light looks evenly balanced.
  • When lighting your face, try to make the light as even as possible without overdoing it. Here is an example of a well lit interview subject:
  • Always use a tripod or other object to keep the camera stable. Don’t rely on a friend’s shaky hands.
  • Don’t use digital zoom! If you think you should look bigger, physically move the camera closer to you.
  • If your microphone is on the camera itself, then the closer the camera is to you, the better you’ll sound.
  • Position yourself in the center of the video and look directly into the camera when speaking.
  • Be natural! Don’t sound like you’re reading off a script. Just speak normally and pretend the camera is a good friend who you’ve known for years. Remember, you’re in control so there’s absolutely nothing to be nervous about.

Example

Here’s a great example of how our friends at PartyBluPrints.com used proper lighting, composition, and sound to make a great video to send to us. You’ll notice they’re bright enough to be seen and close enough to the camera to be heard. They’re standing in a place where there shouldn’t be anything moving in the background, and they’ve included interesting items in the foreground relevant to their subject matter.

Finding a good camera

Believe it or not, good quality, high-definition cameras have gotten much less expensive, but choosing the right one is more important than ever. For a little help deciding between them, CNET recently reviewed a few of the latest pocket-sized HD camcorders. Any video shot for us to use on television must be in high definition (so look for a camera that says it can do 720P or 1080P).

Flip video spotlight shooting tips

Flip created this video to help you get the most from your Flip video camera, but the lessons can be applied to any similar small HD camcorder.