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It’s as simple as setting up some books in front of a window, ensuring that you’re in a quiet space, hitting record and making sure you are looking directly into the camera.
In an ideal world (we all know this doesn’t exist), we would be using some additional equipment, but not all of us have it, nor the need to invest in it right away. If you’re interested, some of the equipment we use ourselves and recommend is:
A good quality tripod such as this one enables you to go out and set up anywhere you wish and maintain a stable shot. It’s small, lightweight and can extend high enough so you can stand and deliver striaght to camera. It also has a fluid video head for smooth movement.
An additional light source such as this affordable LED from Neewer is very useful just to create a better quality image and you may be filming in a dimly lit area.
Now, last but not least is audio, which, is something to consider when you’re recording yourself on camera and we would recommend a lavalier microphone such as this one designed for smartphones.
Not everyone has this equipment and you do not need it… right away.
As you can see in the video, I am quite close to my smartphone, so it is picking up a decent amount of audio. I’m also in quite a space, which is something for you to seriously consider in any location.
I don’t have an additional light source, I was using the natural light source of our studio window behind the camera. This provides a nice soft light, mainly because we’re based in sunny (cloudy) Glasgow.
In addition to those elements you need to get a proper height and as you can see in the video I’m simply using a selection of books that we had here in the office and the windowsill as a way to get it to the (almost) perfect height for filming. Upon review, it could be a little higher. There is always room for improvement.
So we’re using the window and the books to get the right height, were using our distance from the smartphone and the quiet space to get some decent audio. And, we’re using the front-facing camera so that we can easily set the shot up ourselves. If you have a colleague or friend to help you along, using the rear-facing camera is a lot better, as you’re getting increase quality and a greater level of control.
If you do want to start dabbling in manual settings you can simply tap and hold on your face and it will lock the exposure, which is the light levels changing. And the focus, which are things going blurry or sharp in the image. You’ll see AE/AF Lock appear on the screen. This stands for Auto Exposure and Auto Focus Lock. it is very useful as once it’s locked, it will keep those settings and to get back to full auto, simply tap the screen.
There are a few more things that I’d like you to consider anytime you’re filming with your smartphone:
1. Your smartphone is probably a working phone, which means that the lens will get dust and fingerprints all over it, so a little lens cloth or a cotton shirt is enough to clean that lens. In the video, you’ll see the automatic settings working hard to regain that exposure when I clean the lens.
2. You’ll need enough storage space available on your phone to record. Try to clear as much space as you can, so that you can record without it stopping. Trust me, it’ll stop just when you get to the important part.
3. Place your phone on aeroplane mode. Otherwise, someone WILL phone through whilst you’re recording.
4. Look right into the camera lens. This will ensure it looks like you’re keeping eye contact with your audience, increasing engagement. If you watch the video you’ll see me look at myself on the smartphone screen and you’ll notice that I am less looking at the audience (you) and more looking beyond you. We lose some of that connection so do look at the lens, not at your beautiful face!
5. And last but not least, ensure that you have enough battery! Please remember to fully charge your phone before you begin.
So, In a nutshell, It’s as simple as setting up some books in front of a window, ensuring that you’re in a quiet space, hitting record and then making sure you are looking directly into the camera.
Don’t just think about the technical, also think about the content and value you’re delivering. I can’t wait to see the videos you produce and if we can help over at FoSho Video, please do give us a shout. We’d love to hear from you!
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