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5 Steps for DIY At-Home Video Recording

Updated: May 4, 2021

This year has been the year of DIYAH (Do it yourself at home). DIYAH cooking, cleaning, organizing, child-care, playtime, relaxation, and work.

For a lot of us, work is not a normal 9 to 5 job where we clock in and out-- “leave your work at the desk” type work. No, we are entrepreneurs, business owners, CEOs, and Leaders. We’ve had to figure out not only how to keep our businesses alive amidst a global pandemic, but also to thrive and connect with our communities/audiences/clientele now more than ever.

We are She TV Media, a full-service video and virtual event production company. Yes, we want you to hire us-- that’s the bottom line. But we also understand that right now, it’s hard to spend a lot of money. We’re all cancelling old subscriptions, and cutting down on unimportant spending. Plus, we want to help you out. Think of it as an early holiday gift (no matter what time of the year you’re reading this).

That’s why we’ve compiled this 5-Step Checklist for doing video at-home-- DIYAH. So let’s dive in!


Finding your perfect video set up doesn’t have to be hard-- but it can be. And once you got it right, it’ll make it way easier for you to create faster and more high quality, effective videos.


Make sure your camera is eye level. Having the camera eye level allows you to connect with your audience eye-to-eye, face-to-face. It keeps them in the conversation instead of subconsciously wondering why your face looks distorted or warped.

If you have the camera too low, you risk showcasing your double chin. (We all have them).

If you have the camera too high, (what we like to call the “Myspace Angle”) you accent your forehead and also subconsciously seem weak and timid.

Eye level is the way to go.

A laptop is sitting on stacked up books so that the camera of the laptop is eye level with Natalie, sitting at the desk.
Step #1: Set Up - Eye Level


This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people record video with clothes laying on the ground in the background, or people walking by, or clutter. When you are speaking to the camera, you want to make sure that you are the center of attention.

So do some chores and clean up your background: tidy the room or get yourself a nice backdrop.


80% of videos watched online are still recorded and screened horizontally. We made up that statistic, but it’s most likely true. Unless you’re recording a video for TikTok or IG Reels, keep it horizontal.


Get ready to shine that spotlight on yourself because we want you center stage! That’s right, center of the frame or slightly off to one side if you are showcasing something else in your frame. (Follow the rule of thirds).

Pro tip: Also be sure to check your headroom-- that’s the amount of space from the top of your head (on the screen) to the top of the screen. You don’t want too much headroom, and you don’t want to be chopping off the top of your head.



Natural light is the best light because its **FREE**. Natural light shining in through an open window or in a shady area, like a porch or covered patio, is perfect. The goal is to illuminate your face without having direct sunlight shining in your face-- which naturally causes you to squint and strain your facial muscles.

Face a window or get out onto a covered patio or porch and record away.

Two photos. One is of Natalie facing an open window, holding her phone in front of her. The second is the selfie image of Natalie's illuminated face.
Step #2: Lighting - Natural Light


Can’t get good natural light? It’s okay! Just use what you have around your house: lamps, desk lamps, atmosphere lights, really anything.

Set up the light behind the camera source so it’s not in the frame, and still illuminating your face.

Pro tip: always try to get Eye Light in your shot. Eye light is the little reflection of light in your eye that you should be able to see in the camera.

(This is going to blow your mind: so, in every movie and tv show we watch, every character will have eye light. This little sparkle in the character’s eye allows the audience to connect with them emotionally. Eyes are truly the windows to the soul. The only characters without eye light are usually the “bad guy” or “villain” of the show. This is a subconscious sign that the audience cannot connect emotionally with that character, and therefore does not particularly like or root for them.)

Before and after shot of Natalie's recorded image without a lamp and with a lamp.
Step #2: Lighting - Use What You Got


Beware of bright lights (like an open window) behind you. They can distract the viewer from seeing your image clearly. Additionally, if you are recording on a device that has automatic settings (like a computer or smartphone), it will confuse the camera and may expose for the background, leaving you in the dark.

The camera monitor showing a frame with Meredith on the left-third, and a plan on the right. Clean background.
Step #2: Lighting - Look At What's Behind You



It’s safe to say that we easily become immune to all the noises around us: dogs barking, planes passing overhead, loud cars/motorcycles, and so on. It’s really important to be attentive when recording sound. Many times (especially if you are letting your device record automatic sound-- meaning, you do not have controls over what/at what volume the device is recording) the audio will pick up small noises that you overlook. Here are a few common examples we hear:

  • Refrigerator turning on/off

  • Refrigerator running

  • Ceiling fan ticking

  • Air/Heater turning on/off

  • Airplanes

  • Whispering from other people in the room


This one speaks for itself. Annunciate and talk slower than you think you should.


Practice makes perfect. It’s annoying, but it’s true.

We always recommend practice recording yourself to test out the lighting, framing, and sound. This will also help to calm any nerves you may have!



Unless you’re going for a faux documentary style look, keep your eye line directly into the camera lens. If you’re recording on a laptop, for example, look into the camera lens at the top of your device-- not at your reflection. This makes a difference.


At least pretend! If you can’t have someone you know and like actually stand behind your camera, pretend the camera is a good friend. Talk as if you’re talking to someone you know. No robot voices!


Try recording multiple takes of the same dialogue. Use different inflections (normal, super excited, serious, etc). This will give you options to choose from and see which is better for the tone of the video.


Don’t forget to smile (if it makes sense to your video). When nervous, we tend to forget to smile, so here’s your reminder. :)

A still of Meredith sitting in a chair, smiling.
Step #4: Action - Smile



Can you see yourself clearly? Are you blurry or out of focus? Is the lighting good? Is your background clean?

If not, try again!


Can you hear yourself clearly? Are there any loud, unnecessary sounds in your video?

If so, try again!


Is your tone appropriate for the desired goal of the video? For example, if you want a pleasant video, do you look and sound happy?

If not, try again!

A photo of a camera taking a picture of a woman on a chair. She is sitting and smiling.
Step #5 - Before You Post - Attitude


We are SO proud anytime someone is courageous enough to make a video on their own! We want to celebrate you!! If our DIYAH Video Trips helped you, share your success with us!

A photo of Natalie and Meredith smiling near two cameras and a light set up.
Step #5 - Before You Post - Share with us!

We are always available to review any videos, or give one-on-one advice for your video needs.

Contact us at We can’t wait to connect with you!


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