The Do’s and Don’ts of Filming Videos for your Online Courses

You likely have the technology you need to shoot great videos for your online course in your pocket right now.

We all know that video is key when it comes to engaging and sticky content for eLearning.

But, how do you actually capture the video using your phone so it looks professional?

I’ve seen some really bad and some really fantastic DIY attempts at this! Let’s look at several tips (along with a few gear recommendations) that will help you land on the side of fantastic.


If you’re speaking into the camera (lecture style), frame your shot appropriately.

  • In most circumstances, you’ll want to shoot the video in landscape (horizontal). Viewers associate this with a more “professional” and polished format.
  • Use the forward-facing camera lens (not the selfie one). This will shoot in better quality.
  • Leave headspace at the top of your frame. Ideally, your eyes should fall within the top third of the frame. It’s the most natural and pleasing place for your audience to view you.


To help frame the shot appropriately make sure your phone is stable and consistently positioned.

  • If you’re shooting multiple takes throughout your course, position the phone in the same place each time. This will keep the content consistent and seamless.
  • Invest in a tripod. There are all kinds of options.

Here’s a combo to consider that will hold your phone securely on top of a tripod that’s tall enough to capture the correct headspace.
AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod with an Ailun Tripod Phone Mount Holder 


When lighting your shot, you want a nice big light source filling your space. Make it easy for your audience to see you!

  • A cheap (free) hack to lighting is the “window sill” technique. Position your camera on or in front of a large window. This allows natural light into your shot.
  • Alternatively, lighting can be purchased fairly cheap if you’re frequently shooting videos or can’t get enough natural light to make your shot look pleasing.

Here’s a $70 lighting option that gives you a good idea of what to look for: HPUSN Softbox Lighting Kit


One of the quickest ways to lose your audience (and come off as unprofessional) is having poor audio in your videos!

  • Eliminate all background noise. No kids, no dogs, no garbage trucks. If you can hear it while recording, chances are your learners are going to be distracted by it in your course.
  • At the very least, use the earbud/mic combo that comes with your phone – while not the best option, this will still give you better sound quality than recording directly from your phone.
  • An inexpensive option is a simple Lavalier microphone that clips onto your shirt. They make several to choose from, just verify that the plug is compatible with whatever phone model you’re using.

Here’s a model for “newer” iPhones: Microphone kit for iPhone

Here’s a model for “older” phones with a standard audio jack and USB adaptor (if you want to use it with a laptop/desktop): Movo Universal Lavalier

That’s It!

Shooting quality video doesn’t have to be a big, expensive production. Some of the best content creators I know are capturing professional-looking video in a super low-tech fashion.

Give it a try with what you have, and if it’s not to your liking, begin upgrading with the gear I just suggested!

Here’s another excellent way to incorporate video into your online courses.

Use Vyond. It is my #1 go-to for animated videos. You can now get it at 10% OFF.

If you grab Vyond, I’m also offering my Instructional Design for eLearning program… FOR FREE!!! Use the code YOURELEARNINGWORLD10 when you checkout for Vyond, then shoot me an email ( and I’ll give you my program for FREE.

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