How To Film
The likelihood is that nowadays you have everything you need to make an excellent online course right at home. There could be the odd bit of equipment that will help you to upgrade the quality of your content but nevertheless if you have a relatively modern phone then you have a camera you can use to build your own online dog training school.
Your tripod should be set at eye level for any talking to camera shots. This will get away from the double chins or the weird shots like you're talking to an ant. Close up so you can see your head and shoulders in the screen is nice but if you’re working with a dog you will either need to switch to the wide angle lens or move the camera far enough away so that you can both be seen. Set out markers that are just out of shot to stop you wondering too far.
When you place the camera in the phone you will probably have the choice of front camera, as if you were taking a photo of someone else or rear camera in selfie mode. Now the pro of using selfie mode is that you’ll be able to see yourself and make sure you stay in shot while working. The cons are that you will likely loose a little quality in comparison to the main camera and that writing like your logo will appear as if they’re looking at in a mirror but in my opinion its worth keeping it on selfie mode.
The audio will be the biggest let down for filming on your phone and for a quick boost in production quality invest in a mic that’s compatible with your phone. They come in two main types, Lavalier mics which are the ones that clip on to your shirt or shotgun mics that sit on your phone and point in your direction. Lavs will give you a little clearer audio if your moving around like we are in the lessons, we use a Rode Wireless Go Lavalier mic and it will cost about 200 dollars or euros, you can get cheaper versions but these leave you plugged in to the phone so if you can’t get a Wireless system then the Rode video Micro will cost about 60 dollars or euros and is a shotgun mic that will work better than using the phones internal microphone. Don’t want to get a mic? There are a couple of things you can do to help. Avoid filming in halls or barns as the echo will make it sound really tinny. If you do a piece to camera hang a duvet behind the camera to reduce the sound waves bouncing back.
If you’re filming indoors then buying a cheap ring light will make the difference between you looking like a pro or looking like you’re in the shed in the back garden. If you can film out side then do so because natural light is usually going to be the most flattering to make your shots prettier.
If you’ve got a tripod, light and a mic you’re already ahead of the majority of the competition but like anything we can get a little deeper….
It’s true that there have been some phenomenal upgrades to camera phones in recent years so the newer the phone the more likely you are going to get a quality image but no matter what camera you are using there are some fundamental settings and skills we can use to make sure that it’s as good as it can be.
So let’s start with the settings in the phone.
Frame rates - Video is actually just several photos taken every second and then stitched together.
Every photo is called a frame. So your frame rte is just how many photos your camera takes every second to make a video. The normal frame rate is 24 or 30 frames per second for a piece to camera where you’re just talking.
If you’re taking slow motion shots then they need to have a much higher frame rate this could be anywhere from 50- 240 frames per second but most phones will have this set for you so no need to worry. Often you will get the choice to change it and what you need to know is that the higher the frame rate number the slower the slow motion. 120 frames will be twice as slow as 60 frames per second if slowed down at the same rate.
If this scared the crap out of you, don’t panic just use the frame rate that has been pre set by the company that sold you the phone and you won’t go too far wrong.
Next is the resolution that you choose to film in. This is the 4K or 1080p stuff you may have seen when buying a TV in the shop. It means how many pixels are in the shot when it is recorded and a pixel is just a dot that makes up the picture. The more pixels the higher the quality but there are pros and cons to be considered here. 4K leaves you with massive files, clogs up your phone and usually platforms will only let you upload in 1080 so if you can switch it then drop to down to Full HD which is 1080. If not then don’t panic as the platform will downsize the clip you filmed to the right size.
There is the other way too the next step down from 1080 is called 720 and this is the lowest resolution you want to film in. Any lower and your footage will look dated very quickly.
Again if you’re a self proclaimed technophobe you’ll find this has probably been taken care of by the phone company.
You want to film in full auto. That means auto focus and auto exposure. That means your phone will work out what the best picture is and will keep the focus on you. The phone will be set to this so no panic.
Now you know how to film you’re going to need a location. Your filming rig is light enough to be taken anywhere and you’ll be surprised what you can make look good on camera. If you intend to add a load of courses to your platform then building a space for filming in can be really useful. I'm not talking about building an entire studio but rather a place you can transform quickly enough on filming days, you’d be surprised at the number of YouTubers who are millionaires that still make videos in their spare room.
Rule number one. For the love of dog please give the place a quick tidy. This isn’t sending a 10 second video to the family, this is going out to your clients so whether you’re in a field or a spare room make sure picked up the dog poo or the dirty laundry. Ideally we don’t want the back ground to be too busy, some simple decorations are fine so its not clinical, unless that’s the look you’re going for but if you have too much going on behind you then you won’t have anyone paying attention to you.
When you start filming, it’s never one take. Unless you're Jo but it will go wrong, so save your mistakes in bloopers folder and keep practising. I promise you it will get easier, the best tip I can give you is to talk to the camera as if it was your best friend.