Posted on Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 by

With over 60 Hours of video content uploaded every minute and 4 Billion videos viewed per day, it’s easy to see why video should be a prominent part of your marketing strategy. With an increase in ever-tightening budgets and the need for fast 521378-an-apple-iphoneturnaround video content, we understand that it makes sense to get full value from your staff and turn them into budding videographers.

Self shooting a video is easier said than done, although you wouldn’t think so when many of us shoot video on our phones, capturing details of our lives on a daily basis. Even though pointing and shooting often results in some hilariously funny videos for sharing on our personal Facebook page, there is more of an art to shooting video content for business.

Prepping your content for the edit

When producers from an agency like Outlook arrive on set, we’ve planned and prepared the shoot to know exactly what we need to capture to ensure we have everything we’ll need for the edit. If you’re not a seasoned videographer and your boss has asked you to provide some self-shot event content, here are a few tips to help you shoot and score for a winning edit.

Simple tips to self shooting on your phone

Setting Up

  • CHOOSING A LOCATION: Before you set up, make sure you choose a location with minimal background noise and no copyrighted material i.e. music playing/visible in the background. This means you will achieve clearer audio and not run the risk of any copyright infringement. If you’re shooting an interview, finding somewhere quiet at an event or exhibition could be challenging, but consider where will be most quiet; perhaps a quiet bar area, or a meeting room.
  • LIGHTING: When setting up for your filming it’s important to have lots of light. Try and pick a location that’s well lit and have your subject face a light source if possible. This will help to light their face and avoid ‘burning out’ some of your shot with bright lamps in the background. We appreciate that light can often be limited at events, and audiences can often be seated in very low light, so if you’re filming shots at an event, consider where the main plenary room has the best light so you can capture the shots you’d like.
  • POSITIONING: If you’re holding your phone whilst filming use both hands and tuck your elbows into your waist. This steadies the shot and it will help if you keep your feet shoulder width apart. Alternatively, you could try balancing your phone on a flat level surface.
  • FOCUSING: Once you’ve set your shot up, tap the area on the screen where you’ll need to focus on and your phone should focus for you (It brings up a small square area). On some phones, this will also alter the white balance and colour setting for you.
  • HEAD ROOM FOR INTERVIEW SHOTS: Make sure you leave some space in your shot above the subject’s head so that they have room to move around and gesture within frame without losing some of their features. Leave some room either side of their face as well (nose room) so that they can look around freely. If the footage you’re filming needs additional graphics or information make sure to leave space for this to appear in your shot.


  • DISTANCE: To achieve good audio, keep your phone close to the subject and ask them to speak quite loudly and clearly.
  • USE OF OTHER DEVICES: If a colleague/friend has another phone/iPod Touch etc, that you can borrow, you can set this device to record audio and either use as a handheld microphone if interviewing, or hide in their jacket pocket out of view. This will provide clearer audio for shots that are further away and enable audio and footage to be synced in edit.


  • LANDSCAPE: When holding the phone make sure you are filming so that the shot is landscape and not portrait!! (see image on right) We recommend the landscape layout for shooting activity on stage at an event.
  • ANGLES: Where possible, try a few different angles when filming to give your footage some variety. Avoid low angles when filming people because these can be particularly unflattering. Some common alternative shot angles are:

You can create the Dutch angle by simply tilting your camera

Over the shoulder (O/S). This camera angle focuses on the main subject filling most of the frame whilst the shoulder of the other subject is in vision, creating an OTS angle

POV shot

POV shot (point of view shot) is achieved by holding the camera in front of you and adding a part of your body in scene like your hands or legs. Useful when you’re asking the audience to see what’s on screen, literally  from your own eyes


  • TAKES: Try to repeat your shots more than once. This is particularly important for the edit because there will be a backup of your footage in case anything is wrong with the initial take i.e. unclear audio.
  • TIMING: Once you’ve hit record, wait for five seconds before speaking/acting within the shot. This is so the phone can set up the recording properly and will ensure that important information isn’t cut off at the beginning of your shot.
  • EYE-LINE FOR INTERVIEWS: When filming, make sure your subject, whether it’s yourself or a colleague, is looking directly at the camera on your phone (see image on right) and not at the phone itself. This will achieve a more direct eye-line. Or if you’d rather create a less intrusive shot, use a ‘3/4 profile’ and turn your subject lightly so that their gaze is looking slightly off camera, as if answering questions in an interview (see image on left).
  • GENERAL VIEW: Finally, if there is time, it’s always good to film ‘GVs’ so that whilst your subject is talking there are other shots you can cut away to in edit. This could be anything from atmospheric shots of your setting/event, people chatting, activities going on or close-ups of anything topically relevant or interesting.

So there you go – you don’t need to have employed Ridley Scott into your organisation to capture usable video content from your own staff – but just remember that if you want wonderful content – then maybe they need to stay in front of the camera, rather than behind it!