1. Record in a well-lit room.

Film in a well-lit area or room. Make sure you look at the setting through your camera lens and then test shoot a few times. Always play it back so you can see how the lighting looks. The sun is one of the best light sources for video. If you’re filming in natural light, do your best to get your footage in the morning or evening, when the light is softer.

Midday light coming from straight overhead can cast harsh shadows on your subjects, while morning and evening light is more flattering. If you do have to film in the middle of the day, try to do so on a cloudy day, or find a shady area for softer light.

If you’re filming indoors, you will need to be more intentional about the types of lights you use and where you place them. One thing to avoid is overhead lighting – it can cast unflattering shadows on your subjects’ faces. Windows are a good natural light source. You can also use a large lamp or two to cast the type of light you want.

2. Film for sound.

Many rooms or spaces make the audio sound loud or echoey. Test your sound. Also, remember the microphone picks up much of the noise around you. Do everything in your power to eliminate potential interruptions: phones, grandfather clocks, lawnmowers, doorbells, pets, kids, etc.

3. Keep your background simple.

Find a space that is clean and simple and does not have distraction in the background. Be careful not to film with a window or another reflective surface in the background of your shot. You could inadvertently catch the camera in the reflection. Besides that, having a light source like a window behind your subject can make the subject look dark and shadowy.

4. Clean up the clutter.

Look around the space you are filming and make sure it is clean and neat. Remove extra papers, tissues, clutter and other items that may look unprofessional.

5. Keep it steady.

Don’t rely on your hands to shoot a steady video. By human nature, the final product will be shaky.

Use a tripod or prop your camera/phone on a steady surface.

6. Use Your Phone the Right Way

You can use your phone to capture professional video footage – the quality is just fine for most purposes. But there are a few things in mind if you’re going to use your phone for video creation.

    • Use the camera on the back of your phone. The front camera’s quality is not as good on most phones.
    • Record in landscape mode (that is, horizontally instead of vertically). This will give you footage that looks good on larger devices, not just phone screens.
    • If your phone has a feature that allows you to overlay a grid on your screen, use it. This will help you keep your phone level and avoid tilted footage.

7. Understand the Rule of Thirds.

The rule of thirds is one of the most basic principles of film composition. Imagine that there’s a 3-by-3 grid laid over the field you’re filming. Instead of placing your subject right in the middle of the shot, you should place your subject along one of the lines of the grid. The points where the lines intersect are particularly strong areas of focus, so situate important elements of the video there, if you can.

There are many videos on YouTube about how to employ the Rule of Thirds. Here’s one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMjvvltQpmw 

8. Don’t be afraid to re-shoot.

Practice makes perfect. Shooting great, professional-looking videos is a process of trial and error. Sometimes, the more relaxed a person is in front of the camera, the better the video.