11 Practical Filmmaking Pro Tips on How to Film Yourself
Hiking Selfie Cover.jpg

Affordable video equipment has made filming itself easier than ever. Let's check out 11 practical tips on how to film yourself like a pro.

With increasing access to production facilities, the number of people who regularly want to film themselves increases. What used to require a large team can now be done by one person on a standard smartphone. However, there is a real art in filming yourself successfully, which may take practice to master. I met two experienced experts on the subject. Let's see what they have to say.

Jonty Egginton runs his own production company called The Video Creators. He is a master at filming himself and has produced this type of content for his social media channels for years.

Egginton is a professional at the art of filming yourself. Image via the video artist.

Sarah Outen is a record-breaking adventurer and award-winning filmmaker. She recently completed her phenomenal film Home, which includes her four-year expedition around the world. She shot most of the film herself.

Sarah Outen

Outen documented her four-year expedition with the world, which was mostly filmed by herself. Image via Kickstarter.

Here are eleven tips from my interviews with these two professionals. Whether you're a vlogger, an adventurer, or just want to promote your business online, these tips can help you improve your footage capture of yourself. Let's start with the equipment.

Video equipment for filming

The first step to making high quality self videos is making sure you have the right equipment and know how to use it.

1. Use the correct camera

Egginton stressed that improper gait shouldn't keep you from getting started. Your phone's camera shouldn't be underestimated, although most people use the inferior "selfie" camera. You can instantly improve your game by using the front-facing game which is much higher quality.

When you're not using your phone, Outen recommends buying the best camera you can afford. Look for a camera with a flip screen so you can see what you look like when you speak. Alternatively, you can purchase an external monitor that can be easily connected via HDMI.

If you're going on an adventure, invest in a GoPro or two. They're waterproof and can be attached to almost anything. They may give you the action shots you've been looking for! They cost around $ 360 brand new, but you can buy some of the older versions on eBay for a fraction of that price. These days you want a camera that films at a resolution of at least 1080p, but 4K is definitely not essential.

2. Stabilize the camera

There's nothing worse than shaky footage. You don't look professional! At the very least, place your camera on a stable surface (like a table), but if you're on a budget, definitely invest in a good tripod. Manfrotto are the go-to place for many people. If you're going on an adventure, Outen suggests buying some GoPro mounts. These take up much less space than a tripod and offer more exciting angles.

3. Get audio quality

Egginton described how audio makes up fifty percent of the overall quality of a video. If your audio is junk, your video will most likely be junk. If you're filming on your phone, using an external lavalier microphone instead of your phone's built-in microphone is a game changer. It's also worth including the audio factor in your decision on where to film yourself. Excessive wind or background noise can ruin your footage! Find a time and place that is quiet.

4. Control your lighting

If you want your picture to look amazing on people's screens, you need to carefully consider the light you are filming in. Avoid strong sunlight! If you plan to take photos outdoors, cloudy conditions are often preferable. Cheaper cameras cannot handle sharp contrast images.

If you're filming inside, make sure you're not standing with a window behind you – you'll be shown in silhouette. If you want to control your lighting, it is better to film inside with lights specially designed for this purpose. Proper setup creates a softer light and prevents you from getting harsh shadows that can ruin your image.

Spend a few minutes watching this short tutorial on lighting while filming yourself.

Film techniques in filming

Once you are done with the gear, let's talk about how to film yourself.

5. Movie in 4K

Filming at 4K resolution is definitely not strictly necessary, but it can have some tremendous benefits. You can create two angles from one shot. Most likely, you will be exporting your final video at 1080p so that you can crop the original 4K video without sacrificing resolution. Using both the original and cropping will allow you to vary your angles and cut more seamlessly between settings if you're not a fan of jumpcuts.

6. Go with multiple cameras

If you want to take your video to the next level, try two angles by filming with two different cameras. (We'll talk about how to sync multiple angles later.)

Try to use one camera as the main angle that is facing forward while another camera can give you a close up that is slightly facing to the side. When using multiple cameras, it is important not to break the 180 degree rule by making sure all angles are on or on one side, but not on both sides, in the front. If you break this rule, it can be confusing to the viewer.

7. Be creative

This was one of my favorite discoveries during my discussions. It's too easy to use the same ideas and techniques over and over again. However, there are so many ways to be creative when filming yourself that your viewers won't get bored.

Why not try different angles? Try a super wide angle or super close up, or position your camera face up on the floor and look down. The possibilities are endless! You can mount a GoPro on your car / bike / kayak for a more exciting adventure shot.

This device allows you to have a moving camera angle even when standing still and not having any extra crew members. How about changing the way you step inside the frame? Walking and talking to the camera while filming yourself can help keep your videos energized. You can use a gimble to achieve stable moving shots. If you are filming on your phone, check out this stabilizer device.

8. Be natural

Everyone introduces themselves as a charismatic presenter when they set the camera on themselves, but many people freeze as soon as they record. Sarah mentioned how filming yourself relaxes over time.

It's worth practicing first and accepting that it may take some time before you appear confident on camera. Just because you're not immediately a natural doesn't mean you won't find your groove at some point. Sarah also mentioned the importance of being authentic on camera and finding a style that feels right to you rather than copying someone else's – the audience loves authenticity!

Post production tips

Post production – the stage after all of the shooting – is another important step. This is the time to review, edit, and distribute videos.

9. Watch your previous videos again

Like everything in life, if you want to perfect this craft, you have to have a humble attitude. Watch your previous videos again and take notes on how you can make your next videos even better. It might be worth asking others for input too. Receive all feedback on your filming constructively. Use any information about your video to learn and improve your filmmaking skills.

10. Edit your videos yourself

Personally, I would recommend using Final Cut Pro X to edit these types of videos together. This is because of how easily and efficiently different angles are synchronized. It's also the most accessible standard professional editing software on the market. To import your footage, simply create a new library and drag your footage from the Finder window directly into an event of your choice. For more information on setting up your library (like setting up a project file in Premiere), see:

The best way to do this is to set up a MultiCam if you want to synchronize numerous angles. Select your angles, including your audio (although this is often tied to one of your angles), right click and select Build MultiCam.

Build MultiCam

Set up a MultiCam to synchronize numerous angles.

Once you've named your new MultiCam clip, all of your angles will sync. Drag and drop This new clip in your timeline. After choosing, you can choose the one Audio track You want to use in the inspector. Cutting between angles couldn't be easier. Just click Show angles in viewer and you can see both angles while playing your clip. You can cut to a specific angle by clicking on it.

MultiCam in the timeline

MulitCam in the timeline

Press T. drag where the intersection is.

You can drag where the intersection point is by pressing T. and click on the cut. If you want to change one angle for another, you can do so by holding the button possibility Press the key while clicking the angle you want. This changes the angle the playhead is at to the angle you clicked.

11. Know how and where videos are distributed

There are so many different ways you can distribute your one-person videos. YouTube is a great place to start because once your video is there, you can embed it on various other platforms.

If your content is a means of promoting your business, try sharing it on LinkedIn. Sharing your videos on Twitter couldn't be easier. Just drag and drop your clip onto your Twitter post or use Twitter Media Studio to take things to a higher level.

While Instagram can be a fantastic visual platform to share, it can also be pretty fiddly. I recommend making sure your videos are longer than a minute so they can be uploaded to your Instagram TV account straight from your computer. Your video will still appear in someone else's feed without the need to involve your phone or external plugins. When sharing on social media, be sure to use the appropriate hashtags to make sure your videos get as many viewers as possible.

It's important not to be intimidated by the price tags that are on many of the devices I've talked about. You can take many of these techniques using just your phone and then add them to your kit one at a time if your budget allows. Play and see which of these points helps the most. You can only change the way you film yourself!

Cover picture via mavo.

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