Media Capture

Here are some basic guidelines to help you and your teams gather the BEST media assets for your projects!

We will cover:

Using zoom to record people speaking

This could be for interview footage, or to document a conversation about a topic that team members are having.

Setting up:

Here's a quick checklist to refer to:

Use headphones with a mic

Most headphones include a little mic on the cord. Airpods also include a mic, but the audio quality is better on the corded ones. If you have a really nice audio mic laying around from your side gig as a superstar musician or something, feel free to utilize it for your project. Basically, don't rely on the built in mic from your computer if you can avoid it-the audio quality in the recording will not sound great.

Shut down everything but zoom

Close out of internet tabs, other programs you may have open, etc. This will improve your recording quality because your computer won't have to work as hard and can put all its processing power to optimizing the zoom call!

Zoom Settings Preferences:


In the zoom audio settings, you should check the box to enable original sound.

enable original sound


In the recording settings, check off:


everyone record

If possible, have everyone record the zoom. If you are the host, you will need to allow this by clicking on 'manage participants'

everyone turn on Original Sound

By doing this, you will likely get good audio files without the interruption of internet connection glitches, etc.

Collecting files

After the zoom ends, ask everyone to send you the file of the recording and follow the Learning Lab's guide on organizing your media assets.

Using Phones to record selfie-reflections

Ok, so we can probably assume that everyone here has taken a selfie before, or at least has an idea of what that looks like. But when we are working together to collect several videos of folks doing a vlog style reflection, we want these videos to have some cohesive aesthetic. In order to achieve this, we need to follow a few basic guidelines for creating consistently good-looking selfie videos.


A gif of our LLUF Connor with lighting going around the clock

You can see in this gif how the angle of the lighting can drastically change how much you can see of the person's face, and how dramatic the effect is.

The biggest mistake we see folks make is putting a big light source directly behind them, which means you basically only see the silhouette of the person. Not ideal if you want to see facial expressions! This happens a lot in zoom as well, when someone is sitting with a window behind them.

But if you put the light directly in front of you, it can kind of flatten out the face, and make for a bit if a boring look.

In the film and photography industry, we usually see lighting that creates a little shadow around the contours of the face, while still lighting up that little sparkle in both eyes.

To achieve this awesome look, try to make sure that a large, soft light source is in front of you (rather than behind you) somewhere between “10 o’clock” and “2 o’clock” if “12:00” is where the camera is located. So, if your head is the center of a clock, and the phone camera is 12 o'clock, then stand about 2 ft away from a window or soft lamp that is either at your 10 o'clock, or your 2 o'clock


Frame yourself to allow for a little headroom

an image of subject with part of head cut off and x below, an image of subject with too much headroom and x below, and an image of subject with a little headroom and check below

Keep phone lens at eye level

an image of lens below eye level with x, an image of lens above eye level with x, and an image of lens at eye level with check


Hold the camera steady, or, better yet, try to stabilize it by leaning it against something or clamping it to something.

a gif of unsteady camera with x and steady camera with check

When you "look up at the camera" look into the lens, not at the screen. a gif of subject looking up at screen with x + subject looking into lens with check


Stay close to the phone so that you pick up good audio.

Using phones to gather b-roll

Think about the visuals/objects/environments that might help tell your story. For our prototype media project about songs of the summer, we chose to capture things that connote summer-water, blue skies, sunscreen, etc.

We also mainly took short, slow, and sweeping shots that were pretty darn close up! These type of abstract textural shots can really help give the viewer a sense of the emotion we want them to feel. It also really helps out in the editing stage in case we need some visuals to go along with audio (say, a soundbite?!) that may have been captured with less than ideal settings.