Filming Yourself: Not Just For Narcissists Anymore

It has come to this: Most of us no longer have film crews following us around, even when making videos is part of our job. But connecting face-to-face (albeit virtually) is still a necessity. The good people at Motion Array have put together some great tips for DIY paparazzi. The whole piece is worth reading. Here’s our highlight reel:

Location, Location, Location

Yes, for real estate, but also for video. An effective video relies on an appropriate location, whether you’re shooting a makeup tutorial (#magneticlashes4evah) or demonstrating your company’s latest product. Privacy is an important consideration … you don’t want to be distracted by external noise or self-conscious because your significant other is staring at you. (If they are, make them shoot the video!) And looks matter. Do a serious background declutter. If you have professional lights, excellent. If not, use natural light (bounce it off a white sheet or poster board if possible). Lighting change is your enemy, so keeping it consistent is key. Place your camera where it will be roughly at eye level, so you aren’t looking up (or down) at the camera.

Focus, People. Focus

Blurry won’t cut it, so you’ll need to ensure your camera remains focused right on your pretty face. The best way to do this is to position a stand-in (plant, lamp, Brad Pitt … whatever you have around) then focus your camera in the spot where your face will be. We won’t judge if you refer to the lamp (or Brad Pitt) as your “body double.” Mark your spot (on the floor, on the desk) with tape so that if you need to let the dog out, you can easily return to focus. And don’t forget to disable auto-focus on your camera, so that it doesn’t change things mid-shoot.

Shoot The Shotgun

Shotgun microphones are great … IF someone is monitoring your sound and IF you don’t drift in and out of clear audio. Even turning your head can cause problems. Get yourself a lavalier mic (this is what we use but there are cheaper options if you don’t need wireless) for clarity and consistency.

Ham It Up

Mmmm, ham…. In the world of one-person video, “understated” and “professional” can equal BORRRINNGGG. Take a tip from the theater and make your voice, gestures and facial expressions more expressive than you think they should be. Static video needs engagement and enthusiasm to avoid coming off as monotonous.

This Is A Test. This Is Only A Test

Before you begin, make sure your camera batteries are fully charged and your memory card has more space than the Starship Enterprise. Then do a short test run to check your focus, your lighting, and your performance. (See “ham,” above.) When everything’s in place, you have our permission to scream “ACTION!” at yourself. We’ll see you at Sundance!

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