Mclane Church

How to Shoot a Selfie Video

First off…remind yourself to have FUN with this! Even if you’ve never made one before, this can be an enjoyable experience. Remember…YOU are in control of the whole thing. If you shoot something you don’t like…you can delete it and do it again. NO PRESSURE! See…it’s sounding better already, isn’t it?


Okay…now that your anxiety has dialed down a notch or two, let's talk about some overall points that can help you do this well.

  • Relax. Remember what we said above….nothing goes out until you want it to. So look at this as a time to experiment with your phone and learn something new. If you don’t like, do it over and try something different to improve it. Bottom line…relax, you’re in control.
  • Smile. Now that you’re relaxed, you need to tell your face that message! A smile makes a big difference in the quality of your video. A smile at the beginning of your message and at the end is great.
  • Length. Generally, shorter is better. We would suggest from one-two minutes would be a good length.
  • What to say. Well…that’s up to you! Every group leader brings a vision and sense of calling their group. What is your hope for your group? What kind of experience do you want to create? What does your group enjoy doing together? What news do you want to share? You can tell us what your group has been doing. Or if you’re just starting a new group, tell us about yourself and what your new group will be using for curriculum.
    • Here’s a key: write out in advance what you want to say. Read it several times before recording your video. Then…don't read it from the paper when you shoot your video, but speak directly into the camera. You may not remember everything perfectly, but it will help you to have a continuous message without having to stop to try and remember what you wanted to say.
  • Lighting. If you are taking the video in the house, try to not sit with a window behind you if there is a bright light coming through it. The camera lens will adjust for that light and the subject (YOU) will appear to be underlit. Most camera phones these days do a pretty good job of adjusting to lighting situations, so you probably won’t need any special photography lights to get a good exposure, but if your video looks like it could use more light, consider moving a table or floor lamp in front of you to help out.
  • Sound. The quality of recorded sound from a camera phone is not fantastic…but it is probably good enough for what we want to use it for. In other words, don’t feel that you have to have an external microphone to create a selfie. We’re going for good-amateur, not professional level quality here. However, be aware of things that will negatively impact the quality of the sound that you do have some control over.
    • Extraneous sounds. Do you have barking dogs in the house? Maybe a TV set turned on somewhere? We often don’t even realize what sounds are around us that will become distracting when watching a video that was recorded in those surroundings. While soft background sounds (such as music) are not necessarily a bad thing, they may provide a distraction to hearing your message.
    • Wind. If you are recording outside…which is not discouraged by any means…be aware that a windy day can cause a lot of noise on a video, depending on how the microphone is oriented. You may consider recording a test video first to see how it sounds on playback.
  • Location. Generally speaking, shooting your video in an environment where you have control over the light and sound is easier than doing them where you do not. That’s why Alfred Hitchcock preferred shooting in the studio rather than on location. You never know when a loud motorcycle might ruin an otherwise great recording. That being said, sometimes shooting outside can add a good quality to the video. A natural setting can be interesting…although you don’t want to make it so interesting that it distracts from you and your message. Generally, a selfie is shot so close to your face that the surrounding setting is not going to be too distracting. You may want to ask yourself, what location makes sense for the message you’re recording? For instance, if you want to talk about your “quiet place” where you go to be with God, it makes sense to record at that location, right?
  • Portrait or Landscape. This is a discussion that has strong advocates on both sides. Which way do you hold your camera? From our perspective…it’s not an issue for these selfie videos. Which is more comfortable for you? Also, how much do you want to capture in the frame? If it just your face, portrait makes sense. If you are sharing the space with another person, it pretty much needs to be shot in landscape.
  • Hand held, or selfie stick. The main thing to consider here is what will be in the frame? Like my last point regarding the use of landscape orientation, a selfie-stick will enable you to more easily get a shot of your entire small group. Now if you are making a two-minute video, holding your camera on the end of a selfie-stick will probably be difficult. These sticks are great for still photography, but to hold your camera still for a long period of time with a selfie-stick can be awkward and challenging. If you would like to use a selfie stick but don’t own one of your own, we have one that we can lend to you.
  • Tripod. Another option that allows you to take a better video is the use of a tripod. When you do this, you don’t have to shoot with the selfie front-facing camera. The tripod will assure a rock-solid video, free of shaking that you may otherwise experience. You can buy mini-tripods for use with camera phones very inexpensively online. We have one that you are welcome to borrow if you would like to try it out. In a pinch, you can even try to just prop your phone up using something to hold it in place while you shoot the video.
  • Webcam. Most every computer has a webcam attached to the screen these days. This is another alternative to using a tripod, as the picture will be perfectly still. You will need to use some sort of video capturing software if you use a webcam. Most computers have this software already on board.
  • Video editing. If you have software on your computer and want to edit your video before sending it to us…wonderful! If you don’t, it’s not a problem. We can do the editing on our side before posting it online. The edits we will make will be pretty basic, such as trimming the start and finish of the video to make it clean, and adding a title to the video to identify you.
  • Where to look. Remember that even though you will want to be looking at your video screen, your camera lens is to the side (usually on top) of the screen. Look at the camera. Resist glancing at the screen when you are recording.

Hopefully, these tips are helpful to you when getting ready to make your recording. We are more than ready to help you out in person if you’d like some more assistance. Just give us a call or shoot an email to let us know what your question is.

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