Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Filming yourself on a smartphone - a handy guid

Nowadays, most phones can shoot high quality video with great sound. Here are a few tips on how to get the best footage. Most of these principles also apply to using a computer's webcam as well.

1. Video Quality
As a good rule of thumb always try and shoot the highest quality video possible. Most newer phones can film in 4K, but if yours doesn’t simply go for the best settings (usually HD). Be aware, however, that your phone storage may be affected so make sure you have enough disk space first. If you don’t think you have enough room, either delete other videos to free up some space (as long as you don’t want to keep them!) or opt for a slightly lower quality video recording.

2. Framing
Try to frame the shot landscape (not portrait) ‘chest to head’.

Centre Framing
Framing to the side
Here are two good examples of how to frame your shot. If you are talking directly to the camera, it is best to position yourself in the centre. If you are talking off camera (e.g. to someone who is asking you questions in an interview style), then it is best to position yourself either to the left of the right side of the frame. Make sure the direction you are looking is where there is most ‘empty space’ in the frame.

Placing yourself a bit further away is fine, but any closer might be too much. If you are too far away, it can be more difficult for the audience to ‘connect’ with you.

3. Positioning
Put some thought into where you position the camera. What is in the background? Is it relevant to what you are talking about? Is it distracting? Keep your phone level with your eyeline - you want to make sure that you are not looking up or looking down too much at the lens. Avoid having shaky video as it can put people off. Try not to hold the phone if possible but use a tripod or selfie stick instead. Alternatively, a shelf, pile of books etc. can be just as good.

4. Sound
Sound is just important, if not more so, than visuals. Most microphones on smartphones are pretty decent but check the quality before recording. If you have earpods, a handsfree kit or similar you might get better quality. Be aware of external sounds that could affect the recording. Don’t film next to noisy machinery, for example, or outside on a busy street. If there is noise, move away to a quieter, more secluded location – preferably inside where you can close windows, doors etc.

5. Lighting

A simple lighting set up using a desk lamp
Simple lighting can help avoid your video looking too dark or gloomy. You don’t necessarily need complicated lighting kits. The sun is a great source of light, which you can make use of either outside or inside. Just don’t shoot with the sun directly behind you. This will create a silhouette effect which will make your face difficult to see. Instead, always make sure the sun is in front of you when filming. This can be done outside easily enough by adjusting your position, and indoors by simply facing a window and using that as your source of light. Alternatively, use artificial lighting – as much as you can to illuminate your face. For example, you might want to position a table or desk lamp facing you. Don’t overdo it, though. Too much light and your face could look washed out. It could also be too bright for your eyes – you don’t want to be squinting either!

6. Don’t use digital zoom
Some cameras enable you to digitally zoom into the image (usually by spreading two fingers at once on the screen). This is best avoided as the picture quality decreases and can become much shakier.

7. Film with editing in mind
When filming, it’s important to think about the final product. Some form of editing is usually needed so it’s best to bear this in mind. Typically, this just means pausing for a couple of seconds before you start talking. What this does is allow the editor to briefly ‘fade in’ before you start. And when you’ve finished, pause for a couple of seconds maintaining eye contact with the camera. Similarly, this makes it possible to ‘fade out’ smoothly. It also avoids having to include the often-inevitable camera shake and noise when turning off the camera.

Finally, if you make a mistake, stumble on your words or are unhappy with your recording you can either:
- stop recording, take a deep breath and start again
- keep recording and go back to the start
- keep recording but go to an earlier part of your speech and carry on from there

Just make sure you take a deep breath and pause for a couple of seconds before talking again.

8. Additional tips for presenting to video

- Smile and be yourself. Overcoming the odd feeling of talking to a smartphone, computer screen or camera is probably one of the biggest challenges if you haven’t done it very often before. If it helps, try and treat it more as a conversation with a friend as opposed to a formal lecture. As with anything, practice helps – and remember to try and be yourself, relaxing into the talk. A dull and monotonous delivery will turn people off.

- Don’t self-deprecate or draw attention to nervousness etc. Even though you may feel very different internally, it’s important to convey confidence when delivering to camera, otherwise it can be very off-putting and distracting to viewers. The beauty of video is that it is not ‘live’ (unless you’re livestreaming of course!) so you can always re-do sections if you are not happy – also, you can deliver your talk one section at a time if doing the whole thing in one go feels overwhelming.

- Maintain eye contact. Try not look away from the lens too much. Having notes is fine, and if you have to look at them occasionally during your talk it is acceptable. Looking around in all sorts of other directions all the time, however, can be distracting to the audience.

If you require training or support in producing videos - feel free to get in touch with Farsight Films to see how we can help. We offer bespoke training both onsite or online tailored to your requirements. Find out more here: https://farsightfilms.com/consultancy-and-training/

Friday, 1 January 2021

A look back at 2020

For most of us, 2020 was a hugely disruptive time. With lockdown restrictions in place, working from home has become the 'new normal' for many.

Initially Farsight Films was impacted by the pandemic, with several events and conferences that were booked in for filming cancelled or postponed indefinitely. Thankfully, we were in the fortunate position to have a number of editing projects on the go, as well as being in receipt of government financial assistance. 

Towards the end of the year, it has been possible to do some filming on location. In light of the ongoing virus spread and lockdown remaining in place for most of the UK is has meant keeping to social distance and hygiene rules in order to keep everyone safe.  

2020 has certainly be an unusual time in recent memory, and we hope that 2021 will see things eventually return to normal.

If you require any filming, please be assured that we are able to continue our work under Covid-19 safety rules.

Get in touch

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Recent Film Projects

Farsight has been busy these last few months on a range of diverse video production projects. These have included:
  • a series of healthcare short videos provided in British Sign Language with English and Welsh subtitles
  • filming two healthcare events in Cardiff and Carmarthen
  • a music video for a local health campaign
  • promotional films for a wellbeing expert, an independent hotel in Cardiff, a beauty salon app and an international business training provider
  • a wedding in Cumbria (see video below)
Farsight Films offers a friendly and professional video production service to suit all kinds of budget. Call or text now for a free consultation and quote: 07968 033089.

Farsight Films (www.farsightfilms.com).

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Filming a promo video for local homeless charity

Last November, Farsight was asked to support homeless charity Llamau by filming their Sleep Out 'Diff event, held at the Leckwith Stadium in Cardiff.

At Sleep Out 'Diff people are challenged to build a shelter and sleep in it overnight – whilst at the same time raising funds to help end homelessness for young people and vulnerable women in Wales.

We were delighted to help and worked with AME Videography to capture the event from early evening right through to first thing the following morning.

If you need your event capture on video, find out how we can help by visiting www.farsightfilm.com or call / text 07968 033 089.

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Farsight in December

December has been busy for Farsight with several conferences needing filming as well as two music videos: one for a local health board and one for pop band Bars and Melody. There were three events overall, two being in Cardiff and the other in Birmingham which is the furthest we've had to travel since travelling to Majorca for a wedding shoot two years ago.

For one of the conferences we were asked to stream it live to Facebook, which was achieved using a desktop computer connected to our Panasonic AX-180 camcorder. The audio was fed through the sound desk via XLR cable into the camera. The event has since had over two thousand views online.

The Bars and Melody music video was filmed in a recording studio in Cardiff and was filmed using our trusty Canon 5D Mark IV DSLR camera. The video has racked up over two hundred thousand views online so far and will likely attain much more over the coming months.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Redacting CCTV Footage

Farsight Films can offer a range of redaction services to help those in the corporate, legal, security and local government sectors.

Redacting is the process of ‘blurring out’ or anonymising elements of video material to ensure confidentiality of individuals or other information. Footage typically comes from CCTV footage, but can also come from smart phones or other video sources. We can implement blurring, pixellating or black boxing of any part of the video frame to suit your needs.

Not only that, but we can also include graphical ‘tracking’ elements too, as you can see in the above video. Just ask.

Get in touch to see how we can help.
Call / Text: 07968 033 089