Standby Guide: Self-shooting - Standby Productions

Standby Guide: Self-shooting

As the UK is on lockdown during the Coronavirus pandemic, I thought I would put together 10x Top Tips so that you can self-shoot content from the comfort of your own home.
This guide is helpful for improving your setup for Video calls or for producing your own Pieces to Camera.

Good luck!


1. Mobile Works – Absolutely no problem shooting on a phone, in terms of using an iPhone (ideally iPhone 10 or higher grade). As long as you have ample light, it will be great quality.


2. Audio – Clear audio for a piece to camera is absolutely crucial. If you have background noise, echo or poor sound quality people will switch off immediately. Buy a microphone that is compatible with your phone, as this will make ALL the difference.
Just search ‘iPhone Mic’ on Amazon for loads of options.


3. Keep Steady – Get a phone tripod. Ensure the phone camera is positioned just above eye-level and looking down at you ever so slightly, as this is a far more flattering angle for anyone talking to camera.


4. Stay Lit – I don’t expect you to invest in lighting, so use what you have in your home; sit or stand in front of a window. Try to avoid a completely ‘flat on’ light on your face. Angle the light or your body to one side, ever-so-slightly, so it creates some depth to your face. Be careful of sunny/cloudy days where the light changes all the time. The North West is great for this, as we typically have solid grey cloud, which acts as a nice diffuser and avoids harsh lighting/shadows.


5. Background – Maybe obvious, but don’t film in a place where you have loads of clutter in the background. If you can make the background interesting, yet clean, thought-through and professional.


6. 4k OK – Chances are you won’t get through what you want to say in ‘one take’, so set your camera to 4K recording and then you can stop and start the recoding. Then in the editing you/we can crop into the image, which will give the impression of editing between 2x cameras – one close-up and one wide.


7. In The Frame – Make sure you are completely central in the frame of the image, if you are talking straight to camera, and looking directly into the lens. Ideally you want to aim to have about a hands-width of space above your head and frame it so that it’s from about the bottom of your rib cage to the top of your head. See the video of above as an example of nice framing. Move the camera a little higher for a more flattering perspective.


8. Eyeline – If you’re talking directly to camera, focus your eyes right on the lens of the camera – not on the image of yourself (if you’re shooting it in selfie mode). Your eyeline is really important, if you look away too much the audience feels like you’re being ‘shifty’, so try to focus on them all the time and just imagine ALL your clients and prospective clients are sitting inside the lens!


9. Practice – Practise what you’re going to say in front of a mirror 3-4 times to make sure you’re happy with how you look and sound. This will make you feel less awkward when the camera is rolling. Also, be sure to ‘over present’ – not so that it’s cheesy, but bring the energy to make sure it’s engaging throughout. Don’t let it slip if you’re doing multiple takes too. My main line as a Director is often “Ok, let’s do this again, but up the energy like it’s the first time we’re recording!”


10. Audio is Everything – just make sure the audio is good and we can work wonders with the rest if you send us the footage!


Hope this helps.


Stay Safe, Stay Home!



Simon Owen

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