Guide to self-filming: how to shoot a good vlog
James Cresswell gravatar avitar

Guide to self-filming: how to shoot a good vlog

Author: James Cresswell | Posted on: 12 February 2021


As we talked about in our last blog, one of the solutions we’ve found for creating video content with clients during the current restrictions has been to give them advice so that they can remotely film their own contributions and cutaways.

In this first part of our guide to remotely self-filming quality video content, we’re going to go into what you need to know about filming a vlog-style piece to camera.


Setting up your camera

If you can adjust settings on your camera, webcam, or smartphone; try to set your parameters to the following. If you don’t have all of these options however, don’t worry too much about the specifics.

  • Set your camera resolution to the highest possible setting. Ideally, this will be either be…
    4K, or Ultra High Definition (3840 x 2160 pixels), or
    1080p, or Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels)

  • Set your framerate to either 25 or 50fps (frames per second).

  • Then, the shutter speed will depend on what you selected for the framerate:
    1/50 if you chose 25fps, and
    1/100 if you chose 50fps.

Last, but certainly not least, it’s also worth having a last-minute check to ensure that the lens is clean and free of fingerprints.


Framing

If you’re filming with a smartphone, it’s best to film this kind of content vertically - in landscape mode - ensuring that your device is as steady as possible by placing it on a steady surface or, ideally, a tripod.

When setting the camera position, try to keep the lens at eye-level so that you can easily have that friendly, face-to-face interaction with your audience. Before starting to film, make sure that you’re in the frame from your hips or chest upward, when sitting upright or standing. We've included a couple of good framing examples below from some of the videos we've worked on recently:


self-filming vlog


Finally, try to avoid wearing striped or checkered clothing - as this can create distracting visual interference in the final video.


Lighting and background

Just as important as how you are framed is the background that you’re set against. It’s best to avoid filming with windows or bright lights behind you that would obscure your face, for example. Try instead to use these sources of light, by facing a window or a lamp that can effectively light your face.

It goes without saying that you should also make sure that the space behind you isn’t too distractingly cluttered. It can be a really good idea to set this space up in a way that reflects your personality or what you’re going to be talking about: if you’re a university lecturer, for example, setting up a few relevant books in the background can help to visually reinforce your area of expertise.


Sound

Sound is one of the easiest things to overlook, and yet audio issues can single handedly undo the hard work you’ve put into the visual side of your video. Firstly, try to eliminate as much background noise as possible - close your windows, switch off any air conditioning fans, ensure that your microphone isn’t obstructed by anything.

It’s always best to make a test recording before you start filming, so that you can be sure that everything sounds as good as possible. If you’re filming on a computer and the recording is perhaps too quiet or too loud, you can adjust the microphone settings on your computer’s Control Panel or System Preferences.


Delivery

The last thing to consider is how you deliver the content. Even though you’re going to be talking by yourself to a screen, try to imagine that you’re speaking in front of a group of people - so speak clearly, put energy into your delivery, and try to keep things concise.

Finally, don’t be afraid to try a few different takes. Do a couple of dry runs and see what’s working with your delivery, and what you might need to change.


vlog filming


Next week's blog will go explain a bit more about how you can shoot your own cutaway shots to embellish your piece to camera with some extra visually engaging detail. If you'd like to learn more about how the Ember team can help you – especially when it comes to developing ideas with you in pre-production, or editing the filmed footage together, then please don't hesitate to get in touch with us via our contact page.

 

Author: James Cresswell

James Cresswell gravatar avitar
James is our copywriter and social media manager here at Ember Television. He joined us after studying an MA programme in Film and Television: Research and Production at the University of Birmingham.
Guide to self-filming: how to shoot a good vlog

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