Video resumes for college applications and beyond: Basic rules for making a good video resume

Post By: COYD Staff

1. The Camera Basics

-Look directly at the camera.
-Keep the camera steady by using a tripod.
-Use good lighting: Shoot in an area that is well-lit or use lights to make sure that your face is clearly lit.
-When talking, make sure the frames is tight on your face.
Rule of thirds: “Compositional rule of thumb in visual arts. It states that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or intersections. Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy, and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject would.” *(Wikipedia)

-Background should be stationary: If you are just talking to the camera, make sure you are not in front of an object that is moving or shaking. The focus should be on you when you are talking to the camera.

2. Don’t speak too fast.

3. Mention your full name.

4. Rehearse and have a well thought out outline before you start taping yourself.

5. Keep the content short and sweet.

6. Show knowledge of the college, job or scholarship organization.

7. Look professional.
This pertains not only to your outfit but your demeanor, speaking patterns and content. You can still be humorous and be professional.

8. Add royalty free music NOT copyrighted music.
– Be sure to find music where the artist grants you permission.
– Most pop songs are copyrighted so don’t use them. Many people do use other people’s music without permission, but I believe professionalism begins in the details of your application. Especially if you put it on YouTube, a video sharing site where thousands of people are a part of, you run the chance of actually getting caught for violation of copyright.
– There are plenty of websites out there that offer royalty free music.
– Google “royalty free music” and you will find several sites where you can purchase royalty free music or ones that gives it to you for free in exchange for credit on the video.

9. Wear solid colors
Less is more. Prints and patterns do not film nearly as well because they take away from the focal point which is your face. However, make sure whatever you wear doesn’t blend into the background. Wear a color that will compliment your skin tone. If you have blue eyes, wear something that will accentuate your blue eyes. You want to connect with your viewer. The best way to do this is for your eyes to connect with the viewer’s eyes. This is your chance to make a human connection with the admissions officer and make her feel guilty if she doesn’t accept you:).


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