Girl filming with iPhone

How do you record a video for an employee app? 8 easy steps


We live in a fast-paced world.

How do you squeeze urgent or important information into your employees’ busy, busy, busy?

Video is your answer.

Video has visuals, content, intonation and supporting gestures all in one format. That makes it engaging and informative.

Because they are so vivid and direct, videos are fantastic business communication tools. Someone explaining something to you on video is very different from having the same information set out in a document.

Briefings, toolbox talks, in-person meetings – video can handle it all, get the message across and bring it to life.

Person using iPhone to film.

How do you record a video? Isn’t it time-consuming? Actually, it’s a lot faster than writing a document. You don’t need sophisticated equipment. You can video yourself, or ask someone else to film you. Both work, neither gets complicated.

In most situations, recording on the go and pressing ‘send’ is all you need. But if you do have a little extra time and want to make an impression? Or have a series of official briefings that will be re-watched over time? Sometimes it pays to go the extra mile.

Here are our tips for making professional-quality videos to post on your employee app.

Step 1: Open your smartphone.

Very few people have a video camera. Don’t let that stop you. Video cameras on smartphones are pretty advanced these days –– even basic models have a stellar camera built in with recording quality much higher than the webcam on your laptop. 

Step 2: Get a tripod.

Wait, what? Isn’t that for professionals and film sets? Not the ones I’m talking about. You can get a tripod for your phone. It won’t cost a lot but it will provide you with a nifty mini-stabilizer that takes the wobble out of your video. 

iPhone on tripod.

No tripod? No drama. Ask a colleague or friend to hold the camera and keep the shot stable. 

Step 3. Go into 4K.

If you want to step things up a notch, go into actual cinema-definition. 4K is the ultimate in recording quality on consumer devices – and it’s available on every iPhone after the 6. Who knew? All you need to do is go to Settings > Camera > Record Video. Set ‘frames per second’ to 60, and ‘resolution’ to 3840 x 2160. 

Step 4. Pick the right spot.

Choose an area with a light, plain background – then stick with it. People will be more inclined to watch when they get used to the view. Don’t keep changing it. Keeping your background the same settles your viewers into engagement mode more quickly – the already-familiar context will help them focus and concentrate on new content. 

Man smiling at camera, plain background.

Step 5. Check your lighting.

Lighting has a big impact on the quality of a video. If you’re filming yourself, make sure there is more light in front of you then behind you. If you’re filming someone else, you want your main light source behind you. 

Step 6: Record in landscape.

One of the biggest mistakes amateur filmmakers make is holding their phone vertically when recording. It’s a natural thing to do. But it means that your lovely face (or that of the person you’re filming) will be surrounded by two black bars. Not the effect you’re aiming for. Keep your phone horizontal, and notice the difference.

Step 7: Don’t forget framing.

There’s something weird and a bit scary about a face that fills up most of a film frame. You don’t want your viewers to be distracted by this. Leave a few feet’s worth of distance between you (or the person you’re filming) and the camera, to create a bit of space. Keep some space between the top of your (or their) head and the top of the frame as well. 

Man far from camera vs closer to camera with grid lines over picture.

If you want to make your framing flawless, turn your grids on (go to Settings > Photos & Camera > Grid). Then arrange your shot so that the two center-most gridlines neatly frame the face of the person being filmed.

Step 8: Talk now, edit later.

If you’re filming updates for an employee app, then keep them short and punchy. Ideally, that means speaking succinctly; in practice, few of us manage this!  If you (or whoever is giving the update) tend to ramble, don’t worry.

Introductions and conclusions tend to be most awkward and ramble-prone, but you can easily trim those in your settings. If the rambling is more pervasive, you can download free editing software like iMovie to tighten things up in minutes. 

How do you record a video regularly? All you need is a few minutes to spare, and a bit of enthusiasm.

Lights… camera… action!