University Life Video Recording Instructions

Columbia’s Keep Our Community Healthy Campaign: Tips For Recording Your Video

Thank you for your participation in the Keep our Community Healthy campaign! Before you begin to record your video, please read the entire document for guidance and tips that will ensure the success of your video.

The list of suggested questions to answer is at the end of this document. If you have any questions about these instructions or the campaign, please do not hesitate to contact us by email at

Want to create a blog, vlog or submit photos? Fill out this form to let us know.

General Instructions

  • After you hit “record,” please wait 10 seconds before you start speaking. Please also wait 10 seconds after you give your final answer before reaching out to stop the recording. 

  • Record yourself in landscape (horizontal) mode, not in portrait mode (vertical).

  • Find a quiet place to record yourself (more guidance on audio and lighting below).

  • Say and spell your name before you start giving your answers. 

  • Please be sure to begin your answer with a complete sentence. For example, in response to the question “Why do you think the enhanced health policy on campus this Fall is important?” please start by responding “I think the enhanced health policy is important because  …  ”

  • At the end of each video, please say “My name is [say your first and last name], I’m a student at [say your school], and I’m Keeping Our Community Healthy.”

  • In addition to the short list of questions that we have provided at the end of this document, we will also need you to fill out this release to indicate your consent to your full participation in this campaign. Once you send us your video, we’ll send you a release to complete and return to us. Note: If you do not sign the release and return it to us, we will not be able to use your video in the campaign. 

  • If you mess up when you’re giving your answer, no problem! Just begin your answer again. (Our team will edit out any false starts or mistakes.)

  • When sending your clip, please send only one clip that represents your best take. However, if you end up with multiple recordings and aren’t sure which one to submit, feel free to send us more than one. Please name your file with your first and last name and add the letters “CHM.” (Example: JoePublicCHM). Email the file to If the file size makes it difficult for you to email us directly, feel free to use WeTransfer, a free file transfer service ( should be the recipient email address).

  • Please be aware of your surroundings if you’re filming in public and make sure you are not intentionally filming people without their consent.

  • If you’re filming on the CUIMC campus, please make sure there are no people in the background of your videos and ensure that you are not violating any HIPAA rules. Please also try not to capture any others in the background of wherever you may be filming.

Guidance on Tone

Please try to make your delivery warm and personal. Speak naturally, conversationally and from the heart! Think of this as having a conversation with friends. We want to hear about your authentic experience and why you think it’s important for you and others in our community to follow public health guidelines.

Tips and Best Practices for …

Audio Recording

  • Headphones or Apple Airpods can be used as a microphone if your voice is not clear and loud enough when you replay your video.
  • Regardless of how you decide to record your audio, before you do the actual recording, consider doing a quick 10-second recording to check the sound. Play the recording back to make sure the sound quality is good. If you’ve used headphones or AirPods and the sound is poor, please just use your phone’s built-in microphone. 
  • If you are just using your device to record audio, do not sit further than three feet away from the phone.
  • Avoid sitting near large appliances, vents and air conditioners. They emit more noise than you realize, which will be noticeable in your recording.

Lighting and Exposure

  • Natural light from a window is best. If you are standing by a window, your face should be facing the window. Don’t stand or sit with the window behind you. If you wear glasses, sit or stand at an angle to the window and lower your head slightly in order to reduce glare on your lenses.
  • If you aren’t near a window, use room lamps or other external light sources. Avoid fluorescent lights if possible.
  • If you don’t have access to good natural light, you may use a desk lamp to evenly illuminate the face. If the light is too strong, point it at a white surface or wall so it bounces the light back onto your face.
  • To adjust the focus and exposure, tap and hold the screen on the main subject (you). The exposure and focus on the screen should look good to you. If it does not,  keep tapping on the main subject until the lighting looks right.

Framing and Backdrop

  • Be mindful of your backdrop and what is happening in the background.
  • Avoid a stark white background if you can. 
  • Make sure that the window is in front of you, not behind you.
  • Stay away from backdrops that are cluttered and make sure you have enough space between you and that backdrop so that you don’t cast a distracting shadow.  
  • Do not use the zoom-in function on your camera. Zooming in on your phone will make your video seem blurry or pixelated.
  • If you are using Zoom to record from your computer, do not use the virtual background unless you need to because you don’t want to identify where you are.
  • If you must use a virtual background, please use a branded Columbia background. You can find them in the Columbia Photo Library, which is available to anyone with a UNI. 
    • You’ll need to click the “view photos” tab, log in with your UNI, and then you’ll be on a page where you can type “zoom” in the search function.

List of Questions to Be Answered in the Recording

Dear Students,

These questions are intended to guide your answers. You may answer all or some of them, depending on your comfort level. If you have any questions at all about these questions or this production, please don’t hesitate to write to


The Office of University Life 

1. Why did you decide to become a Student Ambassador? What does it mean to you? [Note: Please answer this question only if you are a Keep Our Community Healthy Student Ambassador. If you are not a Student Ambassador, please skip ahead to the next question.]

2. Are you a part of a student club, team or organization at Columbia? If you are, how have COVID-19 precautions affected the way your organization fulfills its mission or how you interact with your fellow members? [Note: Please answer this question only if you are a member of a student club, organization or team, and please include the name of your organization in your answer. If the question does not apply to you, please skip ahead to the next question.] 

3. Why is it important to you that others wear a face covering, wash hands and respect social distancing? 

4. Have you or an acquaintance or loved one had a personal experience with COVID-19 that you’d like to share? If so, how has it influenced your thinking about the need to follow the Community Compact? 

5. Why do you think enhanced health policy on campus this Fall is important? 6. Do you think your personal behaviors about COVID-19-related public health requirements affect others? How? 

7. It is tempting to drop the face covering when spending time with friends. How do you remember to keep it on? 

8. How do you remember to take your face covering when you head out to campus or are in your neighborhood? 

9. If you could speak directly to other Columbia students about the need to work together to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, what would you say? 

10. Is there something else you’d like to say about this?