Be a star of the small screen

Be a star of the small screen

Smartphone filming techniques

Bit Famous works with businesses and organisations
to help them communicate with confidence.

By Penny Haslam

MD and Founder - Bit Famous

Penny Haslam

Setting up a great shot

The phone in your pocket can be a powerful tool to share your ideas and connect with clients, customers and stakeholders. Here's my tips and advice for getting a professional look.

Rule of thirds: Position yourself, or your interviewee, a third of the way across the screen and a third of the way down the screen.

Lighting: Try to avoid overhead lighting as it can cast an odd shadow down your face. Definitely avoid light behind you. Try to use daylight, so stand near a window. Think about how you can get light onto your face.

Background: Is it distracting? Is it relevant to what you’re saying? Movement in the background is fine, at an event for example.

Sound: Are you close enough to the phone (no further away that 1.5m)? Is it too noisy? Air-conditioning hum? Washing machine on?

Stability: If you have to hold your phone in your hand, try using something to steady it. If you don’t have a tripod with you, then find a windowsill, or shelf on which to put it.

Eye levels: We look weird when we’re looking up or down, place your phone’s camera directly at your eye level. Or at mid-point between your eye-level and that of your interviewee’s, if you’re with someone.

Lens: Avoid looking at yourself on the screen and talk to the black dot instead. Cover the screen with a post-it note to help.

Six styles of videos

vlogs (video blogs): A ‘piece-to-camera’. Just you talking, looking directly at the lens with comments and examples, thoughts and ideas.

Show and tell: Pointing at something, describing it. For products, locations, walkabouts. Say what you see.

How to: These videos can run as a series or steps to learning something/or explaining something.

Interview: Asking someone questions, either with you in the shot or behind the camera. If you are behind the camera, bear in mind your voice may be louder in the video (because you’re closer to the phone), and it will seem strange not seeing who’s asking the questions. Solution is to ask one question and just use the one answer.

At a live event: A great way to liven up video is to record at an event. Say why you’re there, what it’s all about and you’ve learned – give value to your viewer, not just an excited video postcard that says “I’m here at...” Who cares? Always think WIIFT? (What’s In It For Them?).

Social proof / Client testimonial: Spend a bit of time with a client and record them talking about their experience. Apply same rules as you would for a piece to camera. Ask open questions: ‘What was it about working with us that you enjoyed?’ – as opposed to, ‘Did you enjoy working with us?’

Your performance – tips

 Record your rehearsal: They can often be spot on, and if not, just go back and listen to what you said as they can give you some great nuggets or turns or phrase that you can incorporate again and again.

Pause & Smile: Doing this for a second or two at the beginning and the end.Start strong, finish strong: What will start with, what will you end up on?

Use connective words/phrases: “In addition”, “also”, “and because of that” help move your topic on.

Be yourself / move your arms / be expressive / be enthusiastic.

Speak in ‘pub talk’: Avoid jargon or acronyms. Don’t assume knowledge.

Keep it brief: Make your point once. Think about the length of time for which you watch videos.

Bit Famous runs the Smartphone Video for Business training course to help teams communicate on video. Get in touch for more details.

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