Here is your all-in-one movie guide on how to film yourself without a crew, without any help, and just as a one-person band. Let's take a look.
In the current climate of collaboration, it becomes a challenging task to have a crew for your next project. Rather than being hampered by these limitations, I've developed a model that can be used to enhance any solo production from a simple vlog to a tutorial video to a stylish short film. This article is my cinematic guide to filming yourself with no crew, no help, just yourself.
For an example of what you can accomplish with these steps, see my short film, Storms. I shot this production all by myself and by myself.
If 2020 has taught filmmakers anything, you don't always have a crew ready for every shoot. In addition, not every shoot requires a full crew anyway. Whether you are a vlogger or an aspiring indie filmmaker, there will be times and situations when you will have to do it on your own.
These tips will help you fill in the gaps in your production where at least one other person would normally help you, regardless of their role.
Get a stand-in
One of the biggest problems with filming on your own is creating a take. If you don't have a monitor or extra hands, this can be almost impossible. So I use a substitute to pin my framing in place. A proxy could look like my mother, father or grandma is in front of the camera. It could even be a broomstick when there really aren't any people to call you. As long as your stand-in matches the distance and height you are portraying, anything in the house can be used!
For accurate white balance and skin-tone lighting, reach out your hand in front of the camera and enter your settings accordingly.
Increase your production quality by implementing tighter focal lengths for your setup. The obvious choice for proper selfie production is to slap a wide angle lens between 16mm and 24mm. It's quick, easy, and always gets the job done. However, if, with a little practice, you change your lens to a narrower focal length [e.g. 35 mm or 50 mm], you will get a cinematic “edge” that cannot be achieved with longer focal lengths.
Use a robot
In all fairness, one of the most important pieces of equipment you'll need to film is a tripod or GorillaPod. Either you save yourself a world of time-consuming new recordings or the correction of shaky footage in the mail. If for some reason you don't have one on hand, find something to use as a stabilizer.
However, one of my favorite tools when shooting is a motorized slider. It creates a breathing movement that my tripod simply cannot emulate. Its dynamic frames also vary my recordings. In my short film "Storms", this tool was crucial for the entire production, as it gave the impression that there was an operator behind the camera. For $ 300, this dream tool increases my production quality.
For more information on the slider I used, see the Neewer Motorized Camera Slider.
Put it in car
It's hard to tell which settings to use when you're in front of the camera rather than behind. So I always switch ISO, white balance, and focus to Auto for any higher quality shots that I take myself. Doing everything yourself saves time and headaches.
Filmmakers have a love-hate relationship with the automatic settings in their cameras. But when you film yourself, swallow that pride and save time.
The simple, obvious attitude is to capture yourself from the front – the cool kids call it a selfie. However, I would question that perspective and turn the camera to a different angle. Instead of filming a dead shot of your mug, the camera captures your profile. This creates what I like to call a side selfie.
Cover picture from DimaBerlin.
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