How to Record a Zoom Meeting at Top Quality for Video Editing

Recording a meeting on Zoom? You've come to the right place!

Icon of a computer screen with a small video camera

In this post, we offer a step by step guide to setting up your next Zoom recording and achieving the best results possible. It's an easy process, but there are limitations to recording resolution that you should keep in mind.

Next, we'll give you some easy tips to improve the look and sound of your next video call.

After that, we review our favorite gear for your teleconferencing setup.

Let's dive right in:


Setting up and Recording Your Next Zoom Call

Step 1: Dial in the Recording Settings

Once you've downloaded the latest version of Zoom, select Preferences in the Zoom.us menu. Next, navigate to the Recording tab.

Use the Store my recordings at dropdown menu to select a destination for your finished files. We've chosen one of our external Filmkraft drives:

Zoom recording settings for editing by Filmkraft

Next, make sure to check Record a separate audio file for each participant. This might be one of the best features that Zoom offers for video editing because it will allow you to work with separate audio tracks in post.  

Lastly, click Optimize for 3rd party video editor.


Step 2: Check out the Video Settings

There are two settings in the Video Tab that might be of interest to anybody who will be filmed in the recording.  

First, there's the Touch up my appearance option. This will put a slight blur on the image to smooth out skin tones. If you have time to do this in post, we recommend leaving this off.    

Second, be sure to enable HD. In theory, checking this option would allow you to broadcast a 720p video. However, when we tried recording the video stream with this option both activated and deactivated, we saw very little difference. We still think it's a good idea to enable HD, but the video recording quality might not improve much because of it.  

Let us know in the comments below if enable HD helped you achieve better recording quality.    

Step 3: Audio

As of September 2020, Zoom has introduced a new High Fidelity Professional Audio option. Selecting this setting disables several features such as echo-cancellation and post processing, and raises the codec specs to 48Khz, 96Kbps mono/192kbps stereo!

One drawback is that this feature requires a very fast internet connection, so Zoom recommends a hard ethernet connection rather than wifi.

To select this mode, head to the Audio Tab and navigate all the way down to click on Advanced.

Once you're there, check Show in-meeting option to "Enable Original Sound" from microphone and then High fidelity music mode.  

If you are recording music performances or interviews and have the bandwidth, we recommend that you check out this impressive feature.

Zoom's high fidelity music mode

Step 4: Recording Basics

Starting a recording on Zoom is very easy. To begin, just click on the Record button in the menu bar.    

IMPORTANT: If you are conducting an interview with somebody and would like to only record their video stream you must pin their video. Otherwise the video will cut back to you every time you speak or make a noise.

Remember, the finished package of audio and video files will only be generated after you leave the Zoom meeting.  

Zoom Meeting Recording Quality

The footage you can expect when recording in this way will have the following specs:

Again, to get the best resolution you will need to follow the chart: use an HD camera, turn on Full HD, limit the amount of participants, and make sure to set the application to full-screen mode.

The Best Equipment for Zoom Meetings

Now that you know how to record using Zoom, it's important to have good equipment.

This includes webcams that shoot HD, mics that multiply audio quality, and lights that will give you perfect exposure.

Here are our suggestions, including many products that we use in-house at Filmkraft. Note: As an Amazon Associate, Filmkraft earns from qualifying purchases. If you click on the links and make a purchase, we may earn a small commission at no added cost to you.

Webcams

A higher quality webcam can make all the difference in the world. Here are our top three choices:

  1. Logitech C920x Pro- A highly rated and economically priced 1080p webcam.
  2. Logitech StreamCam - This is the next level up. It offers 1080p at 60fps and superior autofocus and image.
  3. Anker PowerConf C200 - A 2K camera with impressive color accuracy and a 5MP sensor.
  4. The Razer Kiyo - This webcam has a unique feature: a built-in adjustable ring light! If you don't plan on buying a separate light, we would highly recommend checking this out.
  5. Advanced: Use your DSLR as a webcam. Setup might be difficult and you may experience lag, but this is definitely something worth considering to get a truly cinematic image. Here's a great video on using your camera as a webcam.

Microphones

You won't know just how much better sound quality will improve your video recordings until you ditch your laptop audio for an external mic. Here are some options:

  1. UHURU USB Condenser Microphone Kit - This is an excellent podcast microphone that comes with a pop filter and stand. The only downside is that you need to be close to the cardioid mic to get the best sound, and that might not work for all video uses. To get around this problem, check out lav mics that connect to your computer.
  2. Blue Yeti - A high-quality, versatile condenser mic.  
  3. Shure MV88 - This is an awesome option if you or your interviewee are planning on using an iPhone for your Zoom recordings. This is actually the microphone that we use for our professional remote videography TV commercials.  

Lights  

Lighting a face for a video call is important for many reasons. The light will separate the subject from the background, improve the look of skin, and allow the camera to perform at its best. In other words, lighting will make you or your interviewee look much better.

As we mentioned above, a great way to do this is to sit by a big light source, like a window. However, getting an electric light will give you control regardless of time of day or weather.

  1. Aputure Amaron MC - We use this powerful little light for our remote videography projects. It's really a great value. It has adjustable color temperature, great battery life, and an amazing color accuracy (CRI) of 96+.
  2. Kaiess 10.2" Selfie Ring Light - If you're going for the soft ring light look, this is a good value.
  3. Lume Cube - This little light was specifically designed to stick to the back of your laptop.  We're reading reports that the light falls off of the back of some computers, so buyer beware.  Still, a promising little light at a good price.

Tripods

If you or somebody you are recording are Zooming from a mobile device, you may need a tripod to rig your phone, light, or microphone. Here are two affordable options:

  1. Manfrotto Pixi - We love this little thing! It's sturdy and extremely compact, which is why we send it out in our remote videography kits. The only drawback is that it does not have adjustable height so getting a smartphone camera to eye level can be tricky.
  2. Aureday Phone Tripod - This is an economical tripod that has adjustable height and is designed specifically for phones.

Easy Tips to Improve the Quality of Your Zoom Meeting

Here are a few filmmaking tricks you can use to get even better image and sound.  

Get Enough Light

Make sure you are lit well. Exposing the image correctly will enhance the image quality tremendously. For example, you could sit by a window during the day or make sure that all of the lights are on at night. We also review several video lighting options.

Put the Camera at Eye Level (or Slightly Higher)

Take a moment to consider the position of your webcam. A good rule of thumb is to keep the camera at eye-level. Filming yourself from too far below may look unflattering.

Get Good Sound

If you aren't getting decent sound with the interviewee, ask them to put on some headphones or earbuds. Proximity to the microphone is very important for sound quality, so this can really help.

Also, make sure that you are sitting in a quiet place. Close any windows or doors if necessary.

If you want to take it to the next level, invest in a microphone.  

Boost your Internet Speed

Having a fast internet connection is critically important to getting a good video signal. We learned this from experience. Filmkraft moved into a new office last month, and we opted to go with 600 Mbps instead of the 200 Mbps that we had before. We thought this wouldn't make a big difference on our video calls since 200 Mbps seemed like more than enough for that purpose. To our surprise, our calls at 600 Mbps were of significantly better quality.

If you plan to record important interviews or conferences via Zoom, call your internet service provider and get the fastest speed possible. If you can hook up the interviewee with a faster connection as well that's even better!

Conclusion

Unfortunately, there's no way to control important video parameters such as exposure when recording Zoom meetings using their app. Getting the right resolution can also be tricky, and we recommend you follow this chart and make tests before recording an important project.

Still, Zoom has an easy record function and various useful features, so it should be sufficient for simple recordings.


Filmkraft is a video production company in NYC.