Filming at Home
Our Top Tips
More of you are now filming at home due to movement restrictions caused by the Coronavirus, and are producing your own video content for your businesses. Some of you are doing this for the first time and that can be a bit daunting, but there are loads of resources out there to help. If you tackle it as a fun task rather than worry about grappling with settings then hopefully you’ll be able to enjoy the experience.
This blog post isn’t designed to replace the more in depth ones out there on filming with a smartphone or home filming, instead we’re sharing some hopefully helpful titbits of knowledge from our team. While we’re used to setting up with expensive equipment that gives us full control, you can do a remarkable job with that phone thing in your pocket 🙂
Here are a few things to think about that could make a big difference.
- First and foremost, make a plan! Make sure you know exactly what you’re going to say and do as this will increase your confidence which not only helps you to get it right but it also shows on camera.
- If you have loads of information to record you can download free teleprompter apps which will help if there’s too much to otherwise remember! These have become more useful to us in professional applications too.
- Find a quiet, isolated room with plenty of daylight through windows. The brighter your space is, the better the quality of your video will be and if you’re separated from any distractions you’ll have a much easier time making your video. This might be easier said than done if you’re juggling 3 kids and a cat, however 🙂
- Get the settings right from the start. Each camera or cameraphone will have their own ideal settings, so while we can’t go through each model here, suffice to say that you should make sure that you’ve set yourself up for the highest quality before you start.
- If you are recording by phone, one thing that’s easy to forget is making sure that you have enough storage space left – as you don’t want to run out half way through! The higher the quality that you film in, the faster your space will get eaten up.
- Keep it steady. Find a stable place for your camera/phone to sit. Even though most cameras/phones have image stabilisation built-in, if you move too much you can produce unpleasant warping in your video and disorientate your audience. If you are moving the camera, keep motion slow and smooth and the tech inside your device will do the rest.
- Keep it straight! When you have set your camera down somewhere, ensure the orientation is landscape, not vertical (unless doing specific social media work) and try to get the horizon level as straight as possible.
- Anything distracting in the background? Keep backgrounds as simple as possible so that the focus is on you and not that picture behind your head!
- Clear sound is crucial. If using the built-in microphone in your camera or phone, make sure you are sitting/standing as close as you can and make sure there is very little external noise. Close your windows and doors to stop sounds both outside and inside from creeping in. If you’re demonstrating something from a distance, like a fitness routine, you may have to be louder than usual to make sure that your voice beats any background noise.
- Cameras need light to see. Make sure your light source, whether that’s a window or a lamp, is either directly in front of you or just off to the side if possible. This will create pleasant even lighting across your face/subject which works for pretty much every kind of video. Don’t stand in front of a window as you’ll come out looking dark and slightly silhouetted. As much as it is tempting to include the London skyline behind you, unless you have LOADS of extra light in your room, this is unlikely to work very well.
- Testing. Do a quick test line at the start of the session and play it back – check that you’re definitely in focus, the the image is bright enough, and that the audio is nice and clear. You can then relax in the knowledge that once you start it’ll all be great.
- ACTION! When you hit record on your camera, give it a couple of seconds before leaving it and starting your video. Never start a video without double-checking the camera is definitely recording! Nothing is worse than spending 30 minutes chatting about something difficult, only to find out you didn’t press the record button properly and you spoke into thin air.
- Don’t stare the camera down. Talk at a comfortable pace. Speak and look at the lens as you would a person, taking brief eye contact breaks and speaking as you would to a friend. Too slow makes people bored and if too fast your audience needs to make more of an effort to process what you’re saying. Remember that while you’re only looking at a pretty cold-looking camera, you’ll have lots of human faces on the other end who want to be spoken to like a person.
- Lastly, if you’re having trouble remembering your lines and it’s causing frustration, we find that bullet pointing is more effective – as it allows you to work out what you’re saying naturally rather than having to remember a script word by word.
- Go and enjoy yourself! Video production is great fun, it’s why we do it for a living.
If all else fails, just drop us a mail, we’re hardly going to be enjoying ourselves at the beach, in the park, or interacting face to face with other humans, so we’ll more than happy to help where we can.