Filming Yourself with a Smart Phone

Best Practices for Filming Yourself with a Smart Phone

As we manage the current situation, we would like to provide guidelines and best practices for filming yourself with your smartphone from your home. Modern smartphones offer high-quality video options. 

Below are ways to film relying on natural light from a window or other light source:

Natural Light from a Window

  1. First, assess the room and where the natural light is coming from.
    • The main light that illuminates the subject (you) is called a Key Light
  2. Position your chair closer to the light source.

Key lighting diagram

The Background

Now you can assess your background:

  1. Try to avoid anything that is moving in the background or distracting to the eye. 
  2. Avoid windows in the background for risk of overexposure
  3. Keep in mind that visual depth is pleasing to the eye and do not position your subject close to the back wall or background to avoid wall shadows.

Camera Position

  1. Now with phone in hand, take a seat in the chair.
  2. Put your phone in widescreen or landscape mode, depending on social media platform.
  3. Prop your camera on a tripod or stable surface at arms-length. 
  4. Pivot yourself in the chair for the most flattering light.
    • Full frontal light from the window or from the side (see above diagram).

Framing

Headshot showing rule of thirds composition

  1. It is ideal to have yourself center framed. 
  2. Adjust the height of the camera for your eye level (see attached).
  3. Make sure that you don't have too much empty space above your head in the frame.

Prep

  1. Take a deep breath, hit record and deliver with confidence!

Example of Framing - Good Center Grid

What to Wear

  1. Avoid thin black and white stripes and micro-texture clothing. Stick to solid color clothing.
  2. Jewelry: Be aware of jewelry that is highly light reflective and/or makes noise.
  3. Eyeglasses: Be aware of possible lens glare and adjust accordingly.

Contact

Carter Johnson

Carter Johnson

University Videographer

206-296-4379

johnsoca@seattleu.edu