Self-shooting your way to great content

With over 60 hours of video content uploaded every minute and 4 billion videos viewed every day, it’s easy to see why video should be a prominent part of your marketing strategy.

With ever-tightening budgets and the need for fast-turnaround video content, we understand that it makes sense to get full value from your staff by turning them into budding videographers.

However, self-shooting is easier said than done. You wouldn’t think so when many of us capture details of our lives on a daily basis on our smartphones. Even though this often results in some hilarious videos for our personal Facebook page, there is more of an art to shooting high quality video content for business.

If you’re not a seasoned videographer, here are a few tips to help you shoot event content and score for a winning edit.

Prepping your content for edit

When Outlook producers arrive on set at an event or exhibition, we’ve already fully planned and prepared the shoot. We know exactly what we need to capture so that we have everything we’ll need for the edit.

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 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 can be challenging; consider choosing a bar area or a meeting room.
  • Lighting – When setting up for your filming, it’s important to have lots of light. 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’ 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. Consider which main room has the best light so you can capture the shots you’d like.
  • Positioning – If you’re holding your phone while filming, use both hands and tuck your elbows into your waist. This steadies the shot. It will also help to 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 the frame. 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, 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 device you can borrow, you can set it to record audio. This will provide clearer audio for shots that are further away. You can then sync audio and footage in edit.


  • Landscape – When holding the phone, make sure the shot is landscape and not portrait! 
  • 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 (OTS). This camera angle focuses on the main subject while the shoulder of the other subject is in vision.

Point of view shot (POV) is achieved by holding the camera in front of you and showing 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 ensures that there is a backup of your footage in case anything is wrong with the initial take, such as 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 important information isn’t cut off at the beginning.
  • Eyeline for interviews – When filming, make sure your subject, whether it’s yourself or a colleague, is looking directly at the camera on your phone and not at the phone itself. This will achieve a more direct eyeline. Or if you’d rather create a less intrusive shot, use a ‘3/4 profile’ and turn your subject slightly so that their gaze is looking slightly off camera, as if answering questions to an interviewer.
  • General view – Finally, if there is time, it’s always good to film general views (GVs) to cut away to while your subject is talking. 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 Ridley Scott in your organisation to capture usable video content from your own staff.