Video Tutorial

Video Components

• Interview

• Tour of workspace, still and video

• Still images and pictures of the person’s environment and life

• Action clips of person at work

Setting up the Camera(s)

Use an iPhone, iPad, or other smartphone or tablet that can record video.

Set it up facing the person slightly lower than their eye level.

If the person is seated at a table, place the device up on something like a small tripod or a stack of books so it is not right down on the table.

It should be about 2-3 feet away.

Be sure it is as level as possible, not tilted backward or forward.

Framing the Picture

Look carefully at what is in the picture.

The person’s head and shoulders should take up about 1/3 of the horizontal space in the frame.

Leave adequate space at the top of their head so that it is not cut off.

You may need to move the camera closer or further back to achieve this.

Pay attention to what is behind the person.

Do not set them right up against a wall. They should be at least 2-3 feet away from a wall or surface.

Try to avoid overly busy or or utterly blank backgrounds, or backgrounds that they will fade into.

Things like bookshelves, doorways, halls, paths etc. provide natural frames without being distracting.

Pay attention to objects behind them like beams or plants which may appear on camera to be growing out of their head.


Avoid overhead lighting if possible.

Soft lighting in front of, but not too near, the person’s face is best.

Avoid having lights behind them.

Don’t place them in front of a brightly lit window.

If they are wearing glasses, adjust the lighting sources to minimize reflection.


Try to avoid ambient sound in the background like people talking, music, traffic, wind, etc. if at all possible.

If interviewing someone outside, try to pick a quiet place on a calm, non-windy day.

Two Cameras

If you have two cameras available, such as two iPhones, or an iPhone and an iPad, please set them both up at the same time to record the interview if possible. Set one up as above, and the other as above, but about 6 feet away and somewhat to the side. Try to avoid having objects like furniture between the camera and the interviewee.

Watch this 3-minute video to see examples of good camera placement, lighting, framing, and background.

Ready to Record

Once you have the camera(s) set up for the interview, hit the record button and then don’t touch the camera again till the interview is done. No zooming, roving around, or stopping to do over. Just let it roll.

The Interview

The interviewer should ask questions, but try not to respond verbally. Rather, give non-verbal responses and encouragement, and ask the person to respond by repeating the question in their answer. Example: “What did you have for breakfast?” Answer: “For breakfast I had bacon and eggs.” That’s a much more helpful response when editing the video.

Don’t be afraid to let them pause and think. Sometimes the best footage comes out of the small silences.

Questions for Interview

How do you live the CSJ mission in your everyday life?

What does the CSJ community mean to you?

How does your work connect with your connection to the CSJ community?

What would you want other people to know about the CSJ Community?

Interviewing Yourself

If you’re interviewing yourself, resist the temptation to write something and then read it to the camera. That’s always apparent, and it dooms a video. A better plan might be to set up a zoom call or even just a regular phone call off-camera so you have a live person to interact with. The off-camera interviewer should observe the same guidelines as above.


The interview should be about 5 or 6 minutes.


B-roll is interesting video footage and still photographs of the person and their environment that adds to the context of the video. It might include their home or office, projects they’re working on, footage of them doing their work, their interactions with other people, shots of them in places they often visit, etc. The still photos could be supplied by them if they are willing to let you use them in the video. They need to be in jpg format.

The video B-roll can be shot with a smartphone or tablet.

Tips for Recording Good B-Roll

Set the recording device (smartphone or tablet) on a stable surface.

It’s best not to carry it around while recording if possible.

If you want to record something in a different place, turn the device off, move the camera around to face it, set it on a stable surface and turn it on. Don’t move or touch the camera while it is recording.

Be sure to look at what you’re getting. Is the frame half full of the surface of a table? That’s visually jarring. Might be best to put it up on a stack of books or something to make it more interesting. Are you mostly getting the backs of people’s heads? That’s really dull. Maybe go around to a different spot to get a more interesting view.

Are you aiming at people but cutting off their heads? Elevate the camera.

Try to record things in B-roll so that they are whole if possible. By that I mean, don’t cut off the tops or bottoms of trees, or houses. Get far enough back that you can get the whole object in the frame. If you are making a video of someone dancing, get their whole body in the frame, most of the time. This doesn’t always apply, of course. If you are with someone who is making pottery, you will also want to focus on their hands in one or two shots.

Try to get at least 1 whole minute of video each time you turn it on.

Resist the temptation to zoom in and out.

Don’t zoom.

If you want to zoom in on something, then zoom in and leave it zoomed there for the whole two minutes. Don’t zoom in and out.

Did I mention that you shouldn’t zoom in and out?

Try to get 8-10 clips of ordinary video or photos for your B-roll if you can.

Feel free to experiment as well with the slo-mo and time-lapse options on your device while getting B-roll, especially if you’re video-recording someone working or walking around, or you’re in a crowd. Be sure to let the video run for at least 1 minute each time. Don’t zoom in and out, though. 1 or 2 clips of slo-mo and time-lapse video per interview would be good if you want to include it.