Recording yourself with a laptop

Record button iconYour WFU issued laptop has the tools to let you make a basic, talking-head style video.

  • On a Windows PC, you can open the Camera app and record from the built-in webcam and microphone. It will save the video as a .mp4 video file in the Camera Roll folder in Pictures.
  • The MacBook can use Photo Booth to record from the built-in webcam and microphone. It will save the video in the app and you can export it as a .mov video file

Once you have those videos made, you can distribute them via the cloud or maybe email (think Google Drive or MS OneDrive for sharing in the cloud). You can also add them to a bigger project using video editing tools such as Camtasia, Adobe Rush, or Adobe Premiere (all of which WFU faculty and staff have access to via software.wfu.edu).

Below are two demo videos I made. The first is on a Windows 10 laptop using the Camera app. The second one is on my MacBook, using the PhotoBooth app.

Youtube link (new tab)

Windows

  1. Open Camera app (search the Start menu
  2. Select the video button on the right side if necessary
  3. Click the video button to start recording
  4. When the video thumbnail shows up, click it to open it.
  5. Under the 3 dots More menu, choose open folder to locate the .mp4 video file on your hard drive.
  6. Upload that file to your Google Drive.
  7. Share the file with the appropriate settings

Here is the mac version using PhotoBooth

Youtube link (new tab)

MacBook

  1. Open PhotoBooth app
  2. Select the video button on the lower left
  3. Press the big red button to start recording
  4. When the video thumbnail appears, you can export it as a .mov file
  5. Upload that file into your Google drive
  6. Share the file with the appropriate settings.

Note that I used a headset with a mic. Generally you get better audio results with a dedicated microphone. I find the laptop’s built-in microphones frequently pick up too much ambient noise.

General Recording Tips

  1. Find a quiet spot to record and try to use a dedicated microphone to capture the best audio that you can.
  2. Try to have good natural light. If that isn’t available, make sure the scene is lit the best you can. Take a few test videos to see how lighting from different angles impacts the product.
  3. Try to have a minimal background behind you, if possible.
  4. Going back to point one. Use a dedicated mic if you have one. In most circumstances, bad audio is actually worse than bad lighting. If your audience can’t clearly hear you, you’re probably killing your video.

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