Guidelines for GA Live and On-Demand Presentations

Tech Specs & Best Practices for GA Webinars and On-Demand Programs

Video File Formats

If you are submitting video for an On-demand Program or to play during a Live Webinar, the videos files should be either .mp4, .mov, or .mkv

  • 720p at 30 fps (frames per second) - results in a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio with 1280x720 resolution (HD – high definition).
  • 1080p at 30 fps is also fine but creates a larger file.
  • We do not have the capacity to process 4k files. They are simply too large.

The lower 1/5 (fifth) of the screen is used for closed-captioning. If you are showing text, images, or other actions/details you don’t want blocked, they will be overwritten if on the lower fifth of the picture.


  • "soft" and more is better.
  • Light source should be in front of you. Avoid backlighting such as a window behind you. Avoid dark shadows caused by one bright overhead or side light source.
  • Use the natural light from a window if possible. Your face should be facing the window.
  • Avoid fluorescent lights if possible, they can cause a pattern to appear in your video at certain frame rates.
  • When using a desk lamp to evenly illuminate the face - if the light is too strong, point it at a white surface or wall to bounce the light back. Or tape a piece of printer paper over it to act as a diffuser.
  • If you wear glasses and notice a glare in your lenses, try changing the angle of the light sources or moving them farther away. You can also try changing the camera angle slightly.

Audio Quality

  • Avoid surrounding ambient noises (including heaters/fans)
  • Turn off devices and phones or put them in another room
  • Avoid spaces that echo
  • Choose a seat that is stationary and quiet (i.e. not a swivel chair)
  • Avoid accessories that makes noise when you move
  • Do a short test record and listen to the quality of the sound

Video Recording & Camera Presence

  • Framing - further back than a normal computer working position. Position the camera at eye level.
  • Keep in mind the lower 1/3 of the screen is used for closed-captioning. If you are including text, images, or anything else you don’t want blocked, it will be overwritten if it is on the lower 1/3 of the picture.
  • Consider your background. Is it too distracting? Will people walk by? Avoid using a virtual background.
  • Before you start, scan your body to see if you're holding tension anywhere. Relax your shoulders. Take a deep breath. You've got this!
  • Helpful tip: If you're nervous, a bite from an apple can help take care of a dry mouth!
  • Make eye contact with your audience (the camera). It can help to tape a picture of a person behind or next to the webcam to remind you.
  • Try not to rush. Speak a little more slowly than you would in person.
  • When you finish a section, it's okay to take a short pause to breathe.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Watch footage of yourself and identify the areas where you could improve. Then make a conscious effort to work on those things. But avoid the "perfection mistake" - too many takes and trying to be perfect will sap the life from your video.

Clothing & Accessories to Avoid

  • Clothing with colors that blend in with your background
  • Patterns (stripes, plaids, polka dots)
  • Shiny fabrics or jewelry
  • Visible labels, logos, text, images
  • All white or all black clothing
  • Noisy accessories that could interfere with your audio

If Using PowerPoint in Your Video

Slides should be in16:9 aspect ratio with 1280x720 resolution. Remember that the lower fifth of the screen is reserved for captioning. Therefore, in order for both your PowerPoint content and the captioning to be visible at the same time, be sure that you only use only the upper 4/5 of the slide.

  • Font style: Arial or any sans serif
  • Font size: at least 24 point - make sure folks can read your text! Imagine yourself reading slides on different sized screens such as a laptop.
  • Simplify and limit the number of words on each slide. Remember that your slides are the illustrations for your presentation, not the presentation itself. They reinforce what you’re saying as you give your presentation.
  • Avoid reading every word on your slide. Practice so you can speak from the bullet points as cues. It is often more effective to have points appear one at a time so the audience is more engaged in listening.
  • Use contrasting colors for text and background. Dark text on a light background may be easiest to read. Patterned backgrounds and cluttered slides reduce the readability of text.
  • Align text left or right. Centered text is harder to read.
  • Avoid the use of flashy transitions such as text fly-ins. These features may seem impressive at first, but are often too distracting.
  • On-screen reading is work for ours eyes and it helps to give text a little breathing room between the lines. Use a “Goldilocks” approach: single spaced lines are too tight, double spaced too loose. 1.15 or 1.5 spacing may look “just right”.
  • Reduce the “visual noise”. Visual noise is anything happening on the slide that is getting in the way of the audience connecting to you and to the information you’re presenting. It manifests in many ways, including too much information on one slide, bedazzled graphics, and poorly applied or overuse of special effects such as animations and sounds.
  • Avoid the use of flashy transitions such as text fly-ins. These features may seem impressive at first, but are often too distracting.
  • Consider design consistency across your presentation. Using consistent fonts, sizes, and colors for different types of information (such as headings, body text, quotes, etc.) helps guide and cue the audience as well as making your presentation more visually easeful overall. We often don’t notice good design, but we definitely notice when things seem “off”!


Before submitting your video, make sure it looks and flows the way you’d like it to (i.e. if you’re editing several segments together). You’ll need to get your video to a state of “doneness” that you feel satisfied with.

In the section above, we’ve been focused on ways to improve the quality of what you are recording, and we think that’s where you should put in the most effort. That said, if you’d like to do some post-production work on your recorded video here are some great free tools you can use to edit your recordings:

Additional Accessibility Guidelines

Additional Resources

  • Webinars and Events by Zoom - Join Zoom experts to learn about Zoom features and trends in virtual meetings. You can sign up for live webinars or view from their extensive on-demand library.
  • On Demand Webinars
    • GA 2020: Tips and Information for Workshop Presenters - Drew MacFadyen & Larry Stritof offered tips and information on recording and running your workshop in Zoom - recorded May 2020.