Lecture Capture

Recording Better Videos

Whether you are making a recording in Panopto or using Zoom in your teaching, the following video provides a few simple steps you can take to improve the quality of your videos.

Technical Suggestions

The CTE recommends the use of Panopto for BC faculty making video recordings due to its integration with PowerPoint, quizzing function, basic editing, and straightforward integration with Canvas. Shorter videos tend to me more effective in maintaining student attention. Some instructors aim to keep total video time under 10 minutes, and may choose to break up longer presentations into segments of 4-5 minutes each.

If this is your first time recording a video, you might need a few attempts before you are satisfied, so plan ahead for a few trial runs. It can be helpful to start with a 2-3 minute test video, so you can review and make adjustments before recording the full video. Particular problems to look out for include: unnecessary items in the video frame; speaking too fast or too slow (aim for a conversational tone); and extraneous noise (like page turns from reading notes).

While Panopto can be used for simple face to camera recordings, it does have several nice features that enhance the use of PowerPoint in recordings. If using PowerPoint for your recording then it is important to use the default PowerPoint title text placeholders in your slides. If you do this Panopto will create titles from the default PowerPoint title text boxes. This enables students to click on the slide title and be taken immediately to that section of the recording. Deleting default title text boxes in PowerPoint produces unpredictable title results in the Panopto sidebar. Additionally, using default titles greatly aids the accessibility of your recording and encourages students to use your recordings as a learning resource.

How a PowerPoint with default titles looks in a Panopto recording. Note the PowerPoint slide titles in the sidebar (highlighted in red), which students can click on to navigate through the recording.

When using PowerPoint slides, wait to start speaking or introduce yourself until the PowerPoint is in full screen mode. Start recording, go to full-screen mode, then start speaking. You can use Panopto’s basic editing functions to trim the start and finish of a video so that it includes only the presentation and not you opening and closing windows on your computer! Please refer to more detailed CTE documentation for guidance on how to edit in Panopto.


Some instructors choose clothing and accessories intentionally to limit distractions for viewers. For example, jewelry or watches may make noise when you move your hands. Solid colors, preferably in more muted tones, are usually preferable to patterns, which can create distracting movements for the viewer. Even material that has a noticeable texture such as wide thread weave can be distracting. Additionally, if you are using a green screen background, avoid wearing bright green.


The shirt on the left may be distracting. Try a plain shirt that stands out from the background.

Camera Setup

Whether using an external camera or your computer’s inbuilt webcam, taking a few moments to set up your equipment properly can significantly enhance the quality of your recording.

First, you might want to to take a moment to clean off your camera lens to avoid any smudges causing distortions in the recording.

Next, the camera should be at eye level. This engages you directly with the viewer and typically provides more flattering lighting. To achieve this, simply use a raised desk, box, or a few books to raise your camera to head height.


Filming from a low angle can darken your face or make you look more aggressive.

If you are unsure of how best to ‘frame’ yourself in the picture, follow the rule of thirds. You should be centered in the frame with your eyes the dividing line between the top and middle third.

Imagine the screen is divided into thirds and align your eyes with the line dividing

the top third from the middle third.

Second, a simple and highly effective way to enhance the image quality of your recording is to place a lamp in front of you by your computer. Overhead fluorescent lights generally do not provide enough light to create a clear image. A basic desk lamp placed behind your laptop will help remove shadows and light your face.


Brighten your face by placing a lamp behind your laptop or camera.

Raising the camera to eye level or placing a light behind your computer does not require specialized equipment. Simple materials from your office can be used to produce a good quality recording suitable for most needs.

Your recording setup needn’t cost a lot to be effective.

Finally, ensure that unwanted or inappropriate objects are out of frame. When choosing where to record, the two best background options are a solid wall or open background. Avoid any background with lots of detail, patterns, or distractions, so the focus of the video can be on you and not on whatever is around you.

Try for a blank wall or open space where people won’t be.

A busy walkway or window can distract your viewers.


If this is your first time making a recording as part of your teaching practice then it is important to appreciate that producing a good quality recording might take several attempts. Some instructors find it difficult to become comfortable with presenting to a camera rather than to a classroom. Some tips on how to compose yourself before the camera include:

  • Do not hold paper or other items in your hands or on your lap. The sound of paper ruffling can be picked up by the microphone
  • Have water handy to prevent dry mouth (you will be talking a lot!)
  • If seated, sit upright and be mindful of slouching and moving in towards the camera

Finally, look into the camera and engage your audience. The CTE recording studio is equipped with a teleprompter to assist with this issue. Teleprompters allow you to read from a script while also looking directly into the camera, creating a more engaging recording. Speak with enthusiasm and excitement to encourage students to watch to the end.

Reading from the screen         Reading from a teleprompter