10 Tips On Filming At Home (DIY Filmmaking)
Do you want to take your DIY filmmaking skills to the next level? Are you sick of using a webcam and wish your filming at home setup was better? If the answer to either of those questions is yes, read on!
It’s easier than you may think to create a professional looking video and it all starts with what you have at your fingertips. By utilising what you have around the home you’ll be a pro in no time. Let’s take a look at these 10 steps to how you can level up your setup…
# 1. Lighting
Before you begin to film anything, you need to consider lighting. If there is one thing that will lift your DIY filmmaking from basic to beautiful it will be this!
There are many ways you can introduce light to your videos when filming indoors. The sun is the best source when it comes to filming at home and here are some tips on how to work with it:
- Your light should be in front of you. A window is the obvious choice, however, if it’s too bright you can close the blinds slightly or move further away.
- Make sure the light hits you from in front rather than behind.
- You can also tilt yourself slightly from the window, so the light hits you at an angle for the most flattering look.
If your environment is not naturally lit, you may want to consider using lights. An easy addition to your filming at home setup would be to purchase a ring light. These lights are perfect for illuminating your frame (and also make your eyes sparkle!).
Avoid using overhead lighting as it casts unnatural shadows. Instead, opt for smaller lights you can dot around the frame for a softer look. Take a look at the three point lighting chart below if you would like to purchase professional lights for your DIY filmmaking setup.
Also check out this video on generalised lighting below.
# 2. Audio
Audio is just as important as lighting in the world of DIY filmmaking! There’s nothing worse than hearing buzzing or faded audio. You don’t want to lose the viewership and interest of your audience, so here are some top tips for making your sound sing!
- Find a quiet place to record. Small rooms are better than large ones and soft furnishings such as cushions or rugs will absorb harsh sounds when filming at home.
- If you have any noisy appliances such as fridges or ticking clocks, make sure to turn them off temporarily if you can.
- Ask your partner, roommate or family to avoid doing the hoovering or musical instrument practice during your recording. It’s an out there chance, but better safe than sorry!
Because audio should be a priority in your filming at home setup, you will likely want to purchase a microphone.
A great place to start would be a LAV mic setup allowing a microphone to be pinned to you whilst you record. If you have a separate audio recording device you can plug these directly in but if you are recording on iPhone however, you might want to purchase an adapter. This way you can record directly into voice notes.
Check out this video on LAV microphone setup below.
External Recording Devices
With your DIY filmmaking setup, you can also use other microphones with a flat stand to position as close as possible when you are talking. To avoid any popping noises, you might also want to purchase a pop shield. As with any equipment the more you pay, the better the quality will be. Purchase what you can afford and work with that.
Remember when recording your audio and footage on two different devices, you will need to sync them up in the edit. A great way to do this is to clap into the camera so you can both see and hear when you are matching up clips.
Check this video below for more tips on filming interviews and dynamics.
# 3. Camera
If you are blessed to have a DSLR at your disposal, this should be an essential part of your filming at home setup, however, most of us will be filming on our iPhone/Android. Here are some top tips on how to utilise your mobile:
- Film using the back camera. It’s tempting to be able to see yourself when you record but this can also be problematic. The back camera provides higher quality footage for DIY filmmaking but also is easier to focus your attention to the lens. Often when we film ourselves using the front camera our eyes are focused on the screen rather than the lens itself.
- If your phone has an option for grid view then turn this on. This will help you to make sure the footage is level and balanced.
- Always film in landscape, if you need to crop for vertical it will be easier this way.
- If you have someone who can help your filming at home projects, this is always advisable. This allows you to sit in frame and be sure that you are ready to go when you hit record.
- Purchasing yourself a phone stand will make your work a whole lot easier. However if you don’t have one, no stress. You can use books or even a wine bottle to get you started on your DIY filmmaking journey!
# 4. Preparing Your Phone For Filming
It’s important to prepare your phone when filming at home, beyond the usual clearing of space. This will ensure your footage is of top quality!
- Turn notifications off on your phone or place on airplane mode. We don’t want any distracting noises coming through as you’re filming.
- Ensure to film at 24fps/25fps or 30fps. Avoid filming in 60fps (even though this is an option) as it will be awkward to edit.
- Make sure you have enough power for multiple takes when filming at home. You might like to take a few breathers in between filming and the last thing you want is the ‘low battery’ notification popping up!
- And finally… make sure you have enough space!
# 5. Background
When it comes to a good DIY filmmaking background, it’s all about simplicity and depth. You want your video to look smooth and not distracting.
- Avoid sitting right up against the camera or with your back against a wall.
- Add layers to your filming at home setup. Do you have a plant? Any soft furnishings or paintings on the wall? Think of your frame as a set and dress it appropriately.
- Keep things simple. The best backgrounds allow the subject to pop. A good place to start would be a white wall with some plants. The only exception to this would be if you’re wearing a white t-shirt. In which case, try to place yourself somewhere other than a white wall so you don’t blend!
- Check your filming at home background is clear of any branded or personal items you don’t want to be in frame (we won’t ask what you have, but make sure to hide anything you wouldn’t want people to see!)
- If you have a colorama or solid colour background to hand, this is a definite win in creating a professional looking video, check out this example below.
# 6. Presentation
The wonderful thing about filming at home is that you are indeed, at home. If you screw up a line then start again! Nobody is judging here so take it slow, pace yourself and breathe.
- If you’re filming talking heads to camera, give yourself a 3 second gap before and after talking. This means that when you come to edit you will always have space either side.
- Always do a couple of takes to get into the swing of talking on camera. Even if you are a seasoned pro, it’s a good habit to get into!
- Sit up straight and remember to project (not too much though as you don’t want to shout).
Check out this video below to get started on your camera presence.
# 7. The Finer Details Of Filming At Home
The devil really is in the detail when it comes to a slick and professional filming at home setup. There are some things you might not think to check but will really help you develop your DIY filmmaking craft
- Clothing – Are you filming on a coloured background? If so have a think about how you can create a colour scheme using what you have!
- Jewellery and moving objects – Be careful with these as they can interfere with microphones and prove a distraction. Especially if you tend to move your hands frequently when you talk.
- Avoid shooting where anything in frame has tight stripes or close dots. This can create a fuzzy effect as the camera picks it up (which is called Moire).
# 8. Framing
It’s important to think about the rule of thirds when you are shooting content. Especially in relation to framing of yourself. Take a look at the grid below and best practices of DIY filmmaking framing to see how you can improve your shots.
Here is a great video explaining this in detail.
# 9. Film It Twice
Have you thought about recording yourself twice and switching angles in the edit? No problem if not, as that thought often doesn’t cross people’s minds! If done correctly however, this DIY filmmaking tip could take your content up to the next level.
Something as simple as switching angles from a front on shot to a side shot keeps the viewer engaged and makes for a filming at home experience with added pace.
Remember to watch your lighting when you change angles (see above) and film at the same time to avoid any continuity problems.
Check out this clip below for a masterclass!
# 10. The Edit
The main features that you will need to look for in a programme are the following:
- Trimming/cropping your clips
- Colour correction
- Adding Transitions between clips
- Ability to overlay text/graphics or add in a title
- Access to a stock music library is also a plus
Keep your editing style simple and clean, it’s not 2005 anymore so we don’t want to see any titles flying in and out and crazy colour schemes. Think classy and you’re already on to a winner!
For more tips and tricks on how to achieve better editing skills then check out our Premiere Pro series for beginners.
Wrapping Up – Filming At Home
To sum up, we hope this article has inspired you to pick up your camera (or phone) and get shooting! It’s easier than you think to create a professional and polished look. Whether you are filming an interview for your company, creating your first YouTube video or even want your Zoom background setup to look crisper then all of the above is applicable.
It’s also important to add personality and flare to your filming at home setup. Have fun with your backgrounds and sets and put yourself out there in the content world!