Tips, Tricks, and Training: Videos


Man taking pictures

Training Videos

Videography Basics

If you have questions about video basics or copyright issues, take a look at the four videos created by the Church's Public Affairs Department on lighting, photography, videography, and copyright and trademark issues.

Tips, Tricks, and Training from Members



Do you have a great tip to share? Feel free to create it and submit the video for consideration. If it fits, we will post the video links here to show examples for others to see.


Tips from the Pros

Shooting Video for Church Use


When submitting “B-roll,” submit at least 20 seconds of footage. Zooms or pans are more acceptable when shooting B-roll, but make sure that the zooms and pans are slow.

Practice the movements several times when shooting so that you have several shots to pick from. Try putting segments together. Submit objects or people in sequence (a jogger going down a road) with different angles in the sequence.


Compose your shots so that each one has a purpose and meaning.

  • Rule of thirds: Divide the screen into thirds. Points of interest should appear on one of the intersections or lines of thirds.
  • Headroom: Leave room above your subject so that the top of the head is not cut off.
  • Leading room: Leave room in front of your subject when he or she is talking or if your subject is moving and you are following the movement with the camera.
  • Pan: A horizontal movement effect that adds to or changes the focus of the subject (no vertical movement).
  • Tilt: A vertical movement effect that adds to or changes the focus of the subject (no horizontal movement).
  • Zoom: Moving the focus closer to your subject or farther from your subject.

Any movement shots should be smooth. Quick camera movements can be distracting and can cause the focus to be lost.

Keep the camera as steady as possible. Also, when setting up your interview or shots, make sure that lamps or trees are not “growing” out of your subject.

Note: If you don’t want the face of the subject to be shown, you can put the light behind him or her to create a silhouette interview.


Preferred video formats are:

  • HD quality in 1080p
  • .mov (photo jpeg or motion jpeg settings are preferable) 
  • .mp4 in h.264

Submit the video in the highest resolution your camera is capable of taking.

Preferred audio quality:

  • Stereo audio must be fully mono compatible.
  • Sampling rates should be 48kHz (16bit).
  • Audio must be in sync with the video.


Set up the interview so that your subject has proper headroom and leading room.

Stand to one side of the camera and have the person talk straight to you. After you ask the questions, have the person pause before answering the question. This will allow time for editing later if you need to.

Another way to set up an interview is to frame the shot over the shoulder or to the side of the interviewer with both the interviewer and the subject in the shot. This will allow you to use the video and audio of the questions being asked in the interview. If you are not going to use the questions in the video, have only your subject framed in the shot.


When taking photos or filming, lighting can make a good shot or a bad shot.

Don’t place the subject between the camera and a window, because it makes the subject dark. This also eliminates the reflections of the camera in the windows. Only use natural light if your subject is properly positioned for it.

If you have shadows, you can bring a light close to your subject to help eliminate the shadows or use a large white sheet or reflector to reflect light onto your subject.

Logos and Copyrights

Avoid commercial signs, logos, and most pictures on the walls (even temples and pictures of the Savior).

Some family photos on the wall are okay, but make sure they do not have any kind of logos, trademarks, or brands (including cars, smart phones, computers, clothes, and so forth).


Because of the many copyright laws that protect musicians, composers, and publishers, use music owned by the Church or that is in the public domain.

We are working on a contract to allow composers and musicians to submit their own music with the videos. Until then, use the music from the list of approved music for the video contest.


  • Find people who are comfortable in front of the camera.

    People who are nervous or clenching their fists will not appear relaxed in videos. Take a moment to make the models feel comfortable and relaxed before starting to take pictures.
  • Look for anything distracting, and eliminate it.

    If the intended subject of your video becomes a minor element because of distractions, move, and shoot the video from a different angle. Watch for problematic backgrounds. If the background of your video is distracting, change angles.
  • Make sure subjects are dressed modestly. Use pins if needed to help clothes remain modest during the video shoot.

    Sometimes there is nothing you can do other than pin up clothes to make them modest before you start shooting.
  • Don’t assume that you can make fixes in post production. Fixing your shot while filming is often easier than making changes later in post production.

Releases and Permissions

Releases are required for all parts of your submission. There is a release for people in the videos (even people in photos on walls), parents, pictures, graphics, music, and prominent locations. Submit all releases for each piece that is in your video.

Sound and Ambient Noise

Use an external microphone whenever possible. If you are relying on the microphone from the camera, you should be within 10 feet of the subject so that the microphone can pick up the sound properly.

Turn off any ambient noise, computers, or fans. Shut doors to help stop ambient noise from outside. Place a blanket around the room to help eliminate echo. If you are recording voice-overs, take two pillows, stand them up in a “V,” and place the microphone in the middle of the “V” to capture better sound.

Church Standards

Some stories or scripts may call for beards, excessive jewelry, short sleeves, or something to portray a certain image or feeling, however Church standards should be followed whenever possible.

Every video that comes from Church headquarters, whether created by the Church or submitted by members, will be viewed as an expression of Church standards. Look from that perspective before you submit any video to make sure there isn’t anything against Church standards.


Today’s technology is important to capture, but it may also limit the length of time a video is usable.

Remember old portable telephones the size of bricks? Need we say more?

It is important to remember that while we need these videos and B-roll, we also need them updated frequently. Cell phones and other technology go out of date quickly, within six months or so, which means we can only use these videos and B-roll for a limited time. We need a constant stream of technology video and B-roll.


Walk around first and try to find the best angle.

Spend time looking from many different angles before you shoot. Look for the one angle that will make for a great shot.


Text is difficult to remove when it is over video. Please do not put any text over your video. If you have text for overlays, slates, or subtitles, please send the files in a separate Word document.


Having a stable shot can make the difference between a good video and a great video. Whenever possible, use a tripod. If you don’t have a tripod, brace yourself on or against a table or fence to help stabilize the video.

Types of Shots

When filming, remember to include many types of shots in the video that you are submitting. Providing a wide variety of shots will allow multiple uses as well as better video to tell the story.

  • EWS (Extreme wide shot)
    The view is so far from the subject that it isn't even visible. Often used as an establishing shot.
  • WS (Wide shot)
    The subject takes up the full frame, or at least as much as comfortably possible.
  • MS (Mid shot)
    Shows some part of the subject in more detail while still giving an impression of the whole subject.
  • MCU (Medium close-up)
    Halfway between an MS and a CU.
  • CU (Close-up)
    A certain feature or part of the subject takes up the whole frame.
  • Two shot
    A shot of two people, framed similarly to a mid shot.
  • OSS (Over the shoulder shot)
    Looking from behind or over the shoulder of a person at the subject of interest.

White Balance

Lights have different temperatures, and you need to white balance the camera. Every time you change camera locations, make sure that you set the white balance. Check the settings for your camera on how to set the white balance.

Share Your Tips

If you have a tip that has improved the quality of your video shoots, we would love to share it!

Submit your video tip and then send us an e-mail with a short description of your video.