Hints and tips for filming yourself for our services

First published on: 10th June 2020

Over the past few weeks so many of us have had to learn different ways of filming ourselves for our weekly recorded church services. For lots of people it's a completely new experience.

It's been really great to see how everyone has thrown themselves into it and the results have been really good. But we thought it would help if we shared a few hints and tips on how to get better pictures and sound without using lots of fancy expensive equipment.

James Webster has a few ideas on what you can do to make your recording better:

Here is a summary of his tips:

  • Choose your location carefully. Filming indoors is likely to be safer because you have more control over your space and less background noise. The other problem with outdoors is that the sun can cause really dark shadows which cameras don't like.
  • Always film yourself landscape. Always film your picture so it is wider than it is tall, that is landscape rather than portrait. It's TV shaped! Never film yourself with your camera upright or you'll just have a thin picture in the middle of the screen.
  • Think about lighting. Don't be tempted to film with a window in the background. You'll end up looking like a silhouette in front of the window. Turn around and use the window to illuminate your face instead.
  • Frame your picture. Aim to put yourself in the middle of the picture, with your head near the top of the picture but not sticking out of the top. Don't be too far away from the camera because it'll be harder for the camera to pick up your sound.
  • Position your camera at eye level. If you're using a laptop camera, put your laptop on a box so it's at eye level. If you leave your camera lower than your face we will end up seeing right up your nose with lots of ceiling above your head!
  • Check for background noise. Before you start recording, listen for any background noise and try to eliminate it. Are there noisy cars driving past? Are there loud birds tweeting nearby? Is there a TV or fridge or fan buzzing in the background?
  • Speak up. Don't be frightened to speak up. The louder you are, the clearer your voice will be and the more it will stand out from the background sound.
  • Look into the camera and smile. It can feel unnatural at first but look straight into your camera where possible and smile! It'll make it look like you are looking directly at the people who are watching.

Good luck with your filming!

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