Recording a meeting on Zoom? You've come to the right place!
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
The footage you can expect when recording in this way will have the following specs:
We contacted Zoom about the resolution issue. They reminded us to set the application to full-screen mode and to make sure that the sender has a webcam and internet connection that was capable of sending 720P footage.
We followed these steps, but the result was still only 640x360. That's a bummer, but if you have a short timeframe to film a meeting or interview at a distance, Zoom will nonetheless get the job done.
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.
As one of our readers (Mr. Dewey) mentioned in the comments below, a higher quality webcam can make all the difference in the world. Here are our top three choices:
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:
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.
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 that we use in house:
Here are a few filmmaking tricks you can use to get even better image and sound.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Unfortunately, there's no way to control important video parameters such as exposure or resolution when recording Zoom meetings using their app.
For that reason, we recommend looking for workarounds if you are trying to record high-quality footage for editing. For our own remote videography projects at Filmkraft, we've developed a simple camera kit that we send directly to interviewees.
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.