You are here

Filming Testimonies--some advice


Filming Testimonies – Some Advice

Meeting online, we need to reduce some of steps which use a lot of time, to help us keep YM session briefer, and reduce our fatigue. One way of doing this, is that fewer of the testimonies to the lives of deceased Friends are read in sessions. The text is put on this website for Friends to read.

Some Meetings are attracted to the idea of making a video of the testimony being read and putting the video online. a link to the video is listed with the link to the text on the testimonies page. If you are interested in making such a video, the following are some tips for doing it well.


Background - When filming, it is best to have a simple background behind you. You don’t want a lot of mess or clutter, and you don’t want it to be busy and distracting from the person being filmed. A bookshelf is fine, but piles of paperwork can be distracting. It’s also better to have a lighter background than a darker one (white wall over black curtains for example).


Type of shotIn this case, you want to use what is called a “mid-shot”. This means that the person in the frame is seen from about somewhere along their torso, to the top of their head – with a little ‘space’ above.


LightingLighting for a video can be complicated, but here are the key points to remember. You want most of the light (whether from a window or lamp) behind the camera. You also want some light coming from behind the person being filmed, but not shining directly into the camera. This could just be the downlights in the space you’re filming in, or you put a lamp behind.


What to film on: You can film on a camera with video capabilities, a smartphone, or a webcam on a computer.


Camera: Photography cameras can be a range of qualities. If you are using a camera, see your owner’s manual about the best setting to film a video with. It is best practice to attach a camera to a tripod when filming, so you can point accurately and steadily.


Webcam: Like photography cameras, webcams can have various qualities. It will likely be set up with the right type of framing/shot if you have used it for Zoom meetings. If your computer has a built-in webcam, you may be able to set that up suitably to use it.  There will probably be a ‘Camera’ program which will let you film. If not, you can download the Zoom app and make a free account. Though designed for educators, this video is a good guide on how to film yourself on Zoom:

Please note, we do not want to screenshare or have any other participants in the meeting when filming Testimonies. 


Phone: The camera on your smartphone will probably be of high quality. You will need to position it as vertical as possible. If you have a compatible stand or tripod you should use that. Otherwise, books stacked on a table can work. When recording, just use the ‘video’ function in the camera app.


QualityYou want the video file to be of a decent resolution. The video should be at least 480×272 pixels.


SoundThe closer you are to your microphone, the better the sound quality will be (but you don’t want to be so close you can eat the microphone!). If you do not have an external microphone, do not worry. The microphone built-in to your phone or computer–that you use for Zoom - should be fine. Make sure there is minimal background noise when you are filming.

TestingBefore you film, do a test run. This can just be a minute of you talking, or of reading through part of the Testimony. Ensure that you are speaking as loud and clearly as you plan to when filming properly. Once you’ve stopped the test, watch and listen back. If the volume is too soft, or the video is dark, make adjustments as necessary.


FilmingWhen filming, wait 2-3 seconds and then read the testimony as if you were reading it at a formal session. There is no need to add anything else to the video.


When you have completed the video, please contact Michael Searle ( to arrange for posting it to make it available to others.