Video tips for competing in Online Classroom and School Contests

Poetry In Voice is recommending all classroom and school contests be held online if sanitary measure encourage it. Talk with your teachers if that is how they will hold the contest, and then refer to our tips for recording and uploading your video. You can even use these videos for our Online Contest if you become school champion, or for a Team Regional, if your school is competing in one!

  1. Device: You can film with either a phone, tablet, or laptop computer. Use the best, newest device you have access to. If you don’t have a device ask a friend or family member to borrow theirs. Or ask your teacher for assistance.
  2. Location: Film in a quiet, bright indoor space.
    1. Sound: If you can hear any noise, try your best to silence it or wait for the noise to end. This could include your home’s forced-air heating, a humidifier or fan, people talking in the next room, noise outside your home, etc.  
    2. Light: Natural lighting is preferred. On a sunny day, film in a room without direct sunlight, close to a window (north-facing windows are best). Your lighting will then be bright but diffuse.
    3. Background: Film against a neutral background, like a white wall. Do NOT film with a window in the background and underexpose yourself (i.e., we can’t see your face).
  3. Filming: Consider framing your face in a close-up, like in the demo video below. If you feel your hand gestures are essential to your recitation, you can use a medium shot that includes them. In this case, consider using the “wide angle” or “landscape” setting on your device.
    1. Image: Stand while you recite. Prop your device on something solid and stable, like a ladder or bookshelf. If that’s not possible, a family member can steadily hold the device to film you. The camera lens should be at your eye level. You can stare right into the lens if you like.
    2. Sound: Your device, and therefore your microphone, should be as close to you as possible. This is extremely important. The distance, depending on your device’s camera, might be as close as 12 inches. Again, please refer to the demo video below.
    3. Content: Each video should start with the poem title and poet’s name, and end with the last line of your poem. Do not introduce yourself or add any editorial comments. Film one poem at a time.
  4. Review: Watch your videos using headphones to ensure the audio is very good. Watch your videos while reading the poem from our website. There should be no accuracy mistakes. Consider refilming if you find any fault with your videos. 
  5. Upload: Upload your videos to YouTube. Set the YouTube privacy setting to “Unlisted,” NOT to “Private.” Note you may also trim the length of your videos in YouTube to remove your entrance or exit from the beginning or end of your videos. When you name each video, use the title of your poem. 
  6. Email: Email the Youtube links to your 1 or 2 videos and links to the poems from our website to your teacher for review.
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