Video is the most engaging form of content you can produce. Whether it’s for your website or social media like LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram, video will be the best way to increase engagement, brand awareness and trust with your audience. This all leads to increased sales.
That being said before you jump into making your own videos, here are a few camera basics you should know about.
When filming a video, framing should be the first thing you look at. You need to make sure you are correctly framed on camera. Eye-level is where we start. You want to make sure your camera is filming you at your eye level. If you are filming too high and looking down, this makes the person speaking look and feel like they have less authority. Alternatively if the camera is too low:
- you can see up my nose
- it makes the viewer feel less comfortable and more intimidated as you are speaking over them.
I won’t go too in-depth with this as I think it’s pretty clear. Obviously what I’ve shown are the two extremes and were over the top but it just helps show you what influence it can have on the audience. The best place to position your camera is at eye-level. These aren’t hard a fast rules but they are a great guide when starting out as you are mirroring the audience in terms of perspective. If you know anything in sales and behaviour you’ll know mirroring is something you should be doing.
Rule of thirds
In your case, if you are filming yourself talking to the camera, you want to make sure you are centre frame like me (see video), with the top line crossing your eyes. And then allow your forehead to take up the top third of the frame.
To get the rule of thirds, if you’re using a camera like a DLSR, there will be a setting to change that. If you’re using a mobile phone they also have this feature if you look in your camera settings. It will usually say “Show grid lines” for example.
Okay great, we’ve now got the camera in the right position in relation to you, but there’s something else that’s arguably most important when filming… Depth.
So what is depth? Depth is all about separating the foreground from the background. You may have noticed a slight blur of the background behind me (see video) and that I’m not blurry. So that’s depth of field as I am ‘In focus’ and the background is not. You’ll see this in a lot of films as it is one of the most effective ways to direct the audience to look at a certain thing on screen.
So this depth of field helps separate me from the background so the video doesn’t feel flat. If we compare this framing now, to this… (see video) You can see it doesn’t look as nice, there’s no depth in the shot and it feels flat. It also just looks very amateur and not professional. This is a common mistake I see people making but something you won’t be doing moving forward! Your videos will have amazing depth. So to get this depth you just need to position yourself as far away from the wall as possible. The further you are, the better. If you have things going on in the background, like table and chairs or a light, that will also create depth in the shot. Just make sure to stay away from filming straight up against a wall.
Don’t worry if your phone doesn’t let you get the blurring background it will still look great. If you want to see a video on how to make your background blurring using your phone, let me know I’ll make a video on it.
Lighting is the last thing you should focus on. The reason being is you don’t want to setup the lighting first then do your framing, camera height and your position in a room, only to find out you need to adjust the lighting again, it doesn’t makes sense. So it’s the last thing to do.
You want to make sure that you are well lit when recording because bad lighting will make anyone look awful on camera. For example, if I turn off my key light here (see video) and turn on the lights in the cabin here’s how it looks.
Right so the simplest a best way for you to light yourself or subject is to have what is called a key light. This light needs to be bright enough but soft enough to light your face in a flattering way. Now this can be tricky to create so here are my tips for this.
- Have the light source coming in at a 45 degree angle and raised higher than you. That creates shadows on the face which adds to creating depth in the shot.
- You can use a key light if you have one, with diffusion to soften the light. This is called a soft-box. Here’s my light with and without any diffusion on it.
- To get a soft light without a proper lighting setup, you can position yourself near a window with light coming in. Make sure though that it’s not direct sunlight as again this will be too harsh on the skin and wont look nice. Maybe find a window that’s the opposite side to the sun or if it’s a cloudy day that will act as your diffusion.
Amazing so now you know the camera basics of how to make your own video, the next step is recording and editing!
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