How to Film Yourself at Home

How to Film Yourself at Home

With churches producing online services, filming pieces to camera from home is becoming a regular practice. Here are some tips to make your video more engaging to those watching.

We are needing to get more and more used to appearing on camera; for online sermons or on video calls.

Whether you’re using your smart phone or a camera set-up, these tips will help you produce a more visually engaging video from home for those watching.

1. Choose the Right Orientation

You have two options for which way up your camera should go:

  • Landscape: The traditional format. You’ll want to film with your phone this way to match most other video clips for videos that might be watched on a laptop or television screen.
  • Portrait: Mainly used for video calls on a mobile phone or social media clips (like Instagram Stories or TikTok). Not recommended for recording pieces that will be viewed on laptops or televisions.

2. Use Plenty of Light

Natural light is best, light from a window on your face is brilliant. Maybe even try outside!

If you don’t have natural light, put a table lamp in front of you rather than behind.

  • Lighting

    Bad lighting vs Good lighting

3. Position the Camera Level with Your Mouth

Film straight ahead, not from above or below.

Think about a good position to film and, if necessary, prop the camera up somewhere where you can look directly at it. Tripods are perfect for this.

If using a smart phone, you could use a car phone holder with suction attached to a window in your house for good positioning and natural light.

  • Angle

    Angle from below vs Angle level with mouth

4. Use the Rule of Thirds

Your eyes should be nearer the top of the screen not in the centre.

You may be able to switch on the ‘thirds grid’ on your camera’s view screen to help guide where your eyes should be.

  • Thirsds Grid1

    Eyes level with the top horizontal grid line

We are naturally drawn to anything on these grid lines, particularly at the points where they intersect.

Another option is to film with your subject on one of the vertical grid lines, but be aware of what’s visible on the other vertical grid line that may be a distraction.

  • Thirds Grid2

    Subject on the left verticle grid line. PC screen on the right line.

5. Look into the Camera Lens, Not Your Screen

This is particularly important when using the front-facing camera on a smart phone.

If you find the selfie view on your phone distracting, cover up your screen with a piece of paper and look directly into the lens. Or try turning your phone around and using the back-facing lens (this one will be higher quality too).

You’ll then be talking directly to those viewing and not looking to the side, like below.

  • Not Camera

    Looking into the screen, not the lens

6. Make Sure You Can be Seen and Heard

Being able to hear what you are saying is more important than seeing you.

If you are able, use an external microphone connected to your phone or camera.

The best way to be heard otherwise is to get close to the camera and speak-up. Your phone’s built-in microphone will then pick you up easier this way. The closer to the camera the better.

This applies to filming too. Let’s see you in the shot, not have you too distant and small. A head and shoulders shot is great.

7. Keep Filming

At the end of your filmed piece, continue shooting for a few seconds before you reach up to press the stop button on your camera, showing your hand in shot.

This will help with any editing to be done later on.

8. Save Your Video as a Large File

Generally, the larger the file size, the better quality the video.

When sending your video to be viewed or edited, upload your video file to a shared drive (such as Google Drive or Dropbox) or send as a WeTransfer to keep the quality.

Avoid sending via WhatsApp or Messenger as the video file will be compressed, reducing the quality.

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