How to Record High Quality Video on a Phone

There may be times when a video message is the best way to reach your constituents. Follow these best practices for DIY video messaging. If you have any further questions, please reach out to University Communications and Marketing’s video producer by emailing

Light Yourself Properly

Try to place a light fixture in front of you so that you are looking at the light fixture, and so the camera is in the middle between you and your light. Do your best not to have bright light directly behind you. In general, you want your face to be the most brightly lit thing in the scene. If there are windows in the room where you are filming, do your best to place yourself so you are looking at the windows and they are not behind you.

Avoid Vertical Video

Vertical video is good for some social platforms that you might want to publish to, but horizontal video is more versatile and better suited to UMBC communications. Horizontal video allows for more things to be placed in the frame and better matches other video mediums such as television and movies.

Don’t Use “Digital Zoom”

Many phones have multiple cameras for zooming in or out, but zooming can greatly reduce the quality of your video. Please avoid zooming and instead bring the camera closer if needed.

Record Good Audio

An external microphone can help with audio quality, but you can also get solid audio quality by following these three tips:

  1. Speak with a loud voice.
  2. Speak toward the camera that you are using for filming. Try not to turn your head much.
  3. Make sure you are in a quiet environment.

Clean Your Lens

Use a soft cloth to clean the lens of your camera prior to filming. Our cameras get dirty very easily.

Use Both Hands

If you are filming without a tripod, try to use both hands to hold your phone. You may also use a table to ground your elbow while filming, or even balance your phone on anything from a stack of books to a bookshelf to a music stand. Shaky video is often not watchable and this will give you greater control.


Captioning is essential to ensure viewers who are hearing impaired, whose primary language is not the language of the video, or who are watching your video on mute or silent autoplay can access your video content. Videos shared on UMBC social media should be captioned, and we strongly recommend that videos posted elsewhere are captioned, as well.

You can easily caption videos through YouTube. This will allow you to share your videos on multiple platforms without individually captioning each one natively. You have the option to either upload a text file or transcribe your video. This will allow you to create an .srt file that you can use on additional social platforms if you choose to upload natively.

Additional Resources