Thursday 23 November 2017

Facebook Live: More tips and tricks for shooting live video and vlogs

Earlier this week I gave you guys some basic tips and tricks for shooting better live videos (see it here). In this post, I'm going to give you some new tips and tricks, as well as go into more detail on some of the ideas I talked about in the first post. 

1) Camera level

Last time I talked about making sure your shot framing is good. This is just as important:

Position the camera at the same level as your eyes. You don't want to be looking up or down at the camera - doing so can actually create interesting psychological effects on the audience that film makers often take advantage of in their movies (ever wonder how they made Tom Cruise look tall in Reacher?)

For example: if the camera is low and is looking up at you, it can make you seem "bigger", and more "powerful". If the camera is looking down at you, it can have the opposite effect.

You want to keep your viewers comfortable. A general rule of thumb is to have the camera at the same level as your eyes. 

2) Camera position

Getting your camera to eye level might be difficult if you don't have a good way to reposition it. If you're shooting with a point-and-shoot camera, a DSLR or even a proper video camera, they should all have a standard tripod mount on the bottom.

You can pick up a cheap tripod on Trademe for as little as $25. You can even get tripods for smartphones (see here).

Having your camera on a tripod gives you the versatility to easily adjust the angle and height of your camera, which makes it really simple to get the camera to eye level.

2) Better lighting

Lighting. Trying to explain how to achieve good lighting in a blog post would be like trying to get a PHD in 5 minutes. And let's face it, we're not trying to shoot Hollywood level productions here. So how good does our lighting really need to be for vlogs and Facebook live video?

Well, there are a few ways you can improve your lighting easily without going over the top:

1) Find a light.
You can pick up a nice bright LED panel and light stand for around $100-150. These are great as they allow you to adjust the intensity of the light, and often the colour of the light too. But for those that don't want to spend too much, you have options:
- Use a household lamp 
- Use natural light from a window

Both of these options are better than nothing. Keep in mind that when using natural light on a cloudy day, the light may change as you are filming your video - so it can be difficult to control.

2) Bounce light off a wall.
Generally you don't want to point a bright light source directly on your face - it creates harsh shadows and often gives skin a shiny look. Direct your light source towards a white wall and then utilise the reflected light instead. 

There is a lot more to talk about, including white balance and the colour of light, and how to properly expose your camera. But we'll leave that for the next one! 

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