Videography Basics for Artists: Filming an “About Me” at Home with a Smart Phone
At Florida CraftArt, our mission is to grow the statewide creative economy by engaging the community and advancing Florida’s fine craft artists and their work. We have created this step-by-step guide to help you film yourself with equipment that you most likely have access to in your home or studio. Use this guide to create promotional videos that may be used to add a more personal message on your website, to present yourself as an artist, or to send a personal thank you to buyers of your work, along with countless other video ideas. (Please refer to the last page for links to recommended equipment mentioned.)
What you will need:
- Phone with a functional video camera
- Tripod and a smart phone attachment – highly recommended
- Lighting – a large window, clamp lights, a few lamps with the shades removed – this will be covered in more detail
- Microphone (optional) – a lavalier microphone or earbuds with a microphone included
- Get Camera Ready!
- Dress simply when filming yourself. Blank T-shirts without logos work well. Avoid pure white or black however, because extreme whites and blacks may affect the automatic exposure on the camera.
- If you have long hair, style in a manner that highlights your face and is out of the way.
- Setting the Scene: Backgrounds and Lighting
- The Set: This is your chance to set the tone of the video. As an artist, filming in your studio is an amazing way to let people get to know you and your work. Find a spot that works as a backdrop – if you have work on the wall, set yourself in front of it so that the piece is highlighted behind you. If you have small sculptural pieces, set them on a table nearby or in front of you so you can easily pick them up to show them off while staying in the frame. A clean, blank wall behind you will work fine as well if you are showing small detailed work.
- Lighting: The easiest, most foolproof solution to great lighting is to use natural light. If you have a large window in your studio or home, set up facing that light. This lighting is even and diffused, and colors will translate well to video. If your setup is not conducive to using natural lighting, there are other options:
- Clamp Lights: Clamp lights are great, inexpensive incandescent lights that have a spring clamp that can be attached to shelves, tables and other sturdy surfaces.
- Classic Lamps: You don’t need to buy a whole lighting studio to have great lighting! Standard household lamps can work well. To get even, bright lighting, remove the lamp shade so you are working with fewer shadows. Don’t look right at the light bulb.
- Always Remember: 45 Degree Angles! To eliminate tricky shadows, use two light sources set up at 45 degrees from each other. Refer to the diagram 2-point lighting:
- The (Phone) Camera: There are a few basics to remember while filming with a phone.
- Using a Tripod: It’s highly recommended that you use a tripod to film. Attachments made specifically for smart phones are inexpensive and will make your video professional. Refer to the diagram above for camera placement. You as the subject should be (depending on how close you would like to be to the camera) centered between your light sources but directly in front of the camera lens.
- If you do not have a tripod, you can still film with the phone. Set up the phone to lean against a sturdy surface, but make sure the phone is parallel to you and not leaning up to film the ceiling.
- Basics of Filming with a Phone:
- In “Settings” turn the phone on Airplane Mode. This will ensure that you will not receive phone calls or texts while filming.
- Most importantly, tip the phone to the side to shoot in Landscape Format. Video translates infinitely better when it is shot in this way. Video in portrait format (while the phone is vertical) is not recommended as the video will appear very small on devices and will have large black sides. (See illustration.)
- Sound: Whether you are using a microphone or not, it is important to film in a quiet space. Carpeted rooms are best because they absorb white noise and echo, so if you are shooting in your studio, temporarily bring in a small rug or a few bath mats to absorb extra sound. Be aware of extraneous sounds, including automatic AC kicking on, doors shutting, dogs barking, or sounds of others talking. Always be aware of sounds that are not so in your control, such as birds singing outside or planes flying overhead.Let people who share a space with you know that you are filming! Shout “QUIET ON THE SET!”
- Microphones (Optional): Depending on your space, it may be a good idea to use a microphone to film.
- Lavalier Microphones: A small, clip-on lavalier mic is great for shooting with a phone. The mic plugs directly into the headphone jack of the phone. If you have a newer phone, you most likely do not have a headphone jack, so you may need to also buy a headphone extension. These mics are great for this type of video and are not highly visible.
- Earbuds with an Included Microphone: Many earbuds today have a microphone attached so you can talk on the phone while using them. These work for recording video as well! The audio is crisp, but the downside is that they are very visible on the video while you wear them.
You’re ready to film!
When filming a quick “about me,” remember to keep your descriptions short and clear (adding a personal anecdote is always a great idea). The main thing to remember is, what do you want people to know about you and your work? Here are some questions that we ask our gallery artists at Florida CraftArt:
- Where are you from originally?
- Give us a short description of your work.
- Why did you choose the medium you work in?
- What inspires you? What influences your work?
- How has Florida CraftArt made a difference in your life?
The wonderful thing about filming with a phone is that you don’t have to do any editing if you already know what you’d like to say in the video.
- While in the video setting on your phone, you are able to be fully set up, press record, say what you have to say, and press stop. That’s it!
- Simple Edits: You may wish to trim off the very beginning and very end of your video. This creates a clean start and finish and it takes off any movements of you pressing the record/stop button.
- iPhone: iMovie is available as an app for iPhone users, and is incredibly easy to use to make simple trims and cuts to your video. Here is a link to a tutorial explaining how to use iMovie for mobile: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTUqG0naD3I
- Android: There are plenty of simple video editing apps for Android users, here is a link with some recommendations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7P6OcMQ65tA
- More Complicated Edits: If you are video-savvy, you may wish to add stills and cuts to your video. Adding studio shots, in progress pieces, and installation shots of your work creates a dynamic video and a wonderful presentation of your artistic abilities. Many of these edits can be made with the phone apps listed above, but if you wish to create more edits there are many resources and tutorials online that will walk you through. Here is some recommended video editing software:
- iMovie (the computer software) BASICS TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1Hd60lwOyA
- Premiere Pro (if you are an Adobe user) BASICS TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYTPXsMkYDE
- Blender (free, available for Mac, PC and Linux users) specializes in 3D rendering but has video editing capabilities. For a video editing tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgM7_RTXqn8
Exporting your video
If you are using editing software, you must export the video when it is finished. Depending on the program you are using, this process will differ. Please refer to the links associated with editing software to find specific exporting instructions.
- Phone applications: If you have edited your video in your phone, you can export it as a file to send to us at Florida CraftArt. If you are using iMovie for mobile, when you are finished editing, click the “share” button and select “save to files.” This will produce a video file that you may email or share through Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. All phone apps differ, so if you are using a mobile video app other than iMovie, you will easily be able to find a tutorial explaining the exporting process.
- iMovie (on computer): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuZiPmg-5Y0
- Premiere Pro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtboIkD6QWc
- Blender: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcLhegQx0H8
If you are a member of Florida CraftArt and would like us to promote your video on our website and social media pages, email [email protected] to receive instructions on how to proceed. For the future when you make videos for yourself, adding your video to a sharing platform makes it so easy to send to others via a hyperlink. Two highly recommended sites:
These two sources are very similar in setup – all you have to do is make a profile and you’re ready to upload your video and send a link! Uploading to a sharing platform enables you to post your videos to your social media, send via email and embed onto your website.
LINKS TO RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT
- Clamp Lights: https://www.amazon.com/Woods-0169-169-Clamp-Light/dp/B009ONXWC2/ref=sr_1_3_sspa?dchild=1&keywords=clamp+light&qid=1585592532&sr=8-3-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExREZGMkpORlVaNFRLJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwOTEzMDUwMlc3OEZXNkRXTEhTVyZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwODUxMjM5MkJDSlBDUjhJR1pPVSZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=
- Softbox Lighting Kit: A professional lighting kit comes far more in handy than you might expect. If you see yourself wanting to do more videos or highly professional work documentation, check out a lighting kit like this: https://www.amazon.com/HPUSN-Professional-Photography-Continuous-Reflectors/dp/B07NBP6D98/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?dchild=1&keywords=photography+lighting&qid=1585592581&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyN01KVFROS0NSWDhSJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMzE5ODczMTZVMExPVEM0QVdRMyZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwMjU2MzY4MzQ0TFIyUktBQU40SyZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=
Tripod and Cell Phone Mount:
- 1. This tripod comes with a cell phone mount included: https://www.amazon.com/Lightweight-Aluminum-Capacity-Mounting-Traveling/dp/B07TLWGXV7/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=tripod&qid=1585592709&sr=8-6
- 2. Here is the cell phone mount sold individually: https://www.amazon.com/AILUN-Rotatable-Adjustable-Compatible-Camcorder/dp/B072KNBV21/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=cell+phone+tripod+mount&qid=1585592793&sr=8-3
- Lavalier Microphone for Smart Phones: https://www.amazon.com/Movo-PM10-Professional-Omnidirectional-Microphone/dp/B00N0EPZU8/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?crid=1E9ZR9GVKNX19&dchild=1&keywords=lavalier+microphone&qid=1585592866&sprefix=lavalier+mic%2Caps%2C195&sr=8-2-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUFFTjFVQVdJUTNQWk0mZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTAzMTU1MDNIVzMwVVUyVEtFT0YmZW5jcnlwdGVkQWRJZD1BMDI5MTc2NU9JMVRUWjRWRk5ZQSZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=
- Headphone Jack Adapter (iPhone): This version includes a charger extension as well. https://www.amazon.com/Headphone-Adapter-Charger-Accessory-Compatible/dp/B084L8S5D8/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=headphone+jack+adapter+charger&qid=1585592951&s=electronics&sr=1-3
- Headphone Jack Adapter (many Androids, be sure to check that this works with your individual phone): https://www.amazon.com/Headphone-Adapter-Charging-Compatible-Essential/dp/B07H2DQ7XS/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=headphone+jack+adapter+charger+android&qid=1585593013&s=electronics&sr=1-5
Tyler Jones says
Great tutorial Chelsea!! Thank you and FCA for continuing to provide insight and valuable tools for our community. The resource section and step-by-step are so helpful.
Looking forward to creating my own ‘mud’ series…..