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Guide to Success: Filming With Your Cell Phone

So, you’re quarantined at home, have to make your own video content, and now you’re looking for some guidance. We’ve got you covered! Put away the flashbacks to the time your kids mocked you on the family FaceTime because you had the camera pointed at the underside of your chin the whole time. Follow the simple steps below and you’ll go from mom with a phone, to Spielberg…with a phone, in no time.

Framing:

DO Position yourself in the center of the frame. Your viewer will feel like you are speaking directly to them, which will make your message more personal. It will also eliminate distractions in your surroundings, putting all the pressu–I mean…focus on you.

DO NOT position yourself off-center. “CENTER FRAME CENTER FRAME CENTER FRAME”. Write it on the chalkboard until you’re holding the chalk with the tips of your fingers.

DO Keep the camera level with your eyes. This will make your message feel more conversational and directed at the viewer.

DO NOT set up the camera too low. Not only is it, universally, the most unflattering camera angle, nobody wants to feel like they’re being talked down to. This makes your message feel disingenuous.

DO NOT set up the camera too high. Unless you work with NBA players, your coworkers are not accustomed to having a conversation with you looking up at them. 

DO Remember to follow the Rule of Thirds. Align your eyes on the top third. Make sure to leave space at the top of the screen for your head. If you only take one bit of advice from this post, make sure it’s the Rule of Thirds.

PRO TIP: Use the vertical orientation if you are sharing the video on social media stories.

Lighting:

DO Turn on the lights! It is paramount that you film in a well-lit room. One of the best ways to introduce professional lighting to your video is by setting yourself up next to a window.

DO NOT film in a dark room. This looks unprofessional, and, honestly, kinda bums me out.

DO NOT sit directly under a light source. Unless you like looking like a demon, avoid overhead lighting like ceiling fans, chandeliers, etc. It’s just not a good look.

DO NOT film with your back to a light. Make sure to position yourself in with the light hitting your front, not your back. 

Audio:

It is often said in the production industry that a good video can be ruined by bad audio. If you followed the framing guidelines above, you should be close enough to your camera microphone for it to pick up good, quality audio. However, using a headphone microphone will get you better and more crisp audio if you have a pair laying around. Make sure to film in a quiet room with no distractions. We’ve all had to sit through a phone call where the person on the other end has the tv on in the background. Don’t be like those people.

Background:

To keep your video looking professional, film with a clean background. Find a blank wall or take some time to tidy up your office or living room. You might be a slob, but your audience doesn’t need to know that. 

 

PRO TIP: Dark fabric (think bath towel, wool coat, microfiber blanket) absorbs light and hides details like texture or wrinkles; these can serve as a backdrop in a pinch.

DO NOT film in your bedroom. This looks very unprofessional, and is so easy to avoid. Nobody cares about what your room looks like. 

Now that you have all the tools at your disposal, go forth and make a kick ass video. Gone are the days of being made fun of by your children and colleagues. It’s time to show Brad from marketing he’s not the only one who looks good in videos.