Person Filming

filming a piece to camera – mobile device

resolution

To maintain quality and consistency, please ensure you are recording your video using the 1080p setting on your device. This is Full HD and not the same as HD (720p). Explore the video settings of your device before recording to check this as you can not change it afterwards.

device orientation

If you are filming on a mobile device, remember to film it in landscape and not portrait. It’s important to turn your phone to landscape (on its side) and let the image fill the screen before you press record. It will then be in the correct orientation for most video sharing sites and is easier to cut with other footage.

stability

One thing that can lower your production value is a wobbly handheld shot. Where possible stabilise your device by using a tripod or stand. If you don’t have one available, maybe you can secure your phone to a jam jar, food tin or other object with an elastic band. This can then be placed on a surface in front of you. If this isn’t possible can someone hold the phone stable for you?

framing

Framing refers to the composition of your shot in “the frame” (the visible screen area of your recording or playback device).

If a subject is doing a piece to camera, it’s probably not necessary that viewers see their whole body. In this instance the most interesting features will be the subjects face and maybe some hand gestures. We suggest you shoot from the waist or from the chest up.

If you’re filming yourself talking directly to the camera, possibly scripted, it’s best to be in the middle of the frame with your eyes along the line that separates the top third of the screen, leaving a fraction of space above your head. Remember to look directly at the lens.

If you are filming a talking head shot where the subject is addressing an interviewer off-screen, then position your subject along the vertical line that separates one third of the screen. This can be left or right and the subject should then turn a little to address the interviewer, but should turn so that they are facing the emptier two thirds of the frame.

Position your camera or device so that it’s at eye level. Many people often hold their devices in a low position, looking down to address the camera. This is not the best way to compose a shot for a traditional talking head and it is best that the device is out of your hand and at eye level.

sound

Obtaining great quality sound can be tricky if you are are using a mobile device. We often advise that you use an external microphone but if you don’t have one there are some things to remember:

  • Control your environment. Find somewhere quiet and turn off anything that might me making noise in the background.
  • If something makes a noise while you are recording, stop what you’re doing and begin again when the noise has finished or move somewhere quieter.
  • Be close to your microphone. Your Microphone works best when it is close to the sound source so ensure subjects are close to the device when you are recording. If you are doing a talking head shot, this shouldn’t be a problem.
lighting

To stop video being grainy and poor quality your camera sensor needs plenty of light. Daylight is best so if you can, shoot your video in a naturally well lit space, in the day time. If you need to add additional room light then do so. It’s important that the majority of light is behind the camera illuminating the subject from the front and not from behind. Your subject needs to be lit, not the lens. If can imagine that you were to film yourself in front of a window, you would end up with a very high contrast silhouetted shot.

zooming

If you are using a mobile device or tablet to film then it is almost certain that there is no optical zoom. This means that if you use your device to zoom in, you are doing it digitally which looses resolution and affects quality. If you need a tighter shot, move your device closer or move closer to your device. Leave it zoomed out. If you are closer his will also help with Audio.

ask a friend

If you are filming by yourself, it can be tricky to compose a shot, check your framing and lighting if you can’t see the screen. Ask as friend of family member to assist you if you can. They will be able to stand in for you so you can check the shot or if they have read the advice, they can set up and record the shot of you. There is a lot to think about and we find a film is always better when someone is there to help you.

We hope this guide has been useful. Please visit our members pages for more information, instruction and tutorial videos.