In order to develop really great blended learning courses for the Catalyst Programme we will be relying heavily on a variety of multimedia content. Creation and use of relevant, good quality video resources is probably top of our list. However within our Learning Tech team we have varying levels of ability when it comes to video filming and editing skills so it makes sense to get some support from the experts.
Yesterday we had a visit from Cassius Rayner, award winning film maker and media training expert. Cassius spent the day showing us how to use our phones like pros (we are pretty much an all iphone house) and master the art of mobile film making and mojo.
It was a really fun day and we are far from experts but there were some very clear tips that we will be sharing with our wider academic community.
General phone filming tips
- Always film in landscape – 16×9 is the standard option here.
- Don’t zoom on a phone – zooming is a lie, you are just reducing the quality of your video. If you want to be nearer get up and walk, or if your phone has a second telephoto lens use it!
- Newer iphones have 2 lenses (tele and wide angle) – if you want to zoom this is one option but be careful about getting in too close and your picture distorting.
- Iphones need lots of light so if you can pick light locations. If not there are some features (the AE/AF lock) which can help.
- Using a hand held rig can be a huge help in stabalising your phone and connecting it to other kit (like a tripod).
- Add a grid to your camera (Settings > Camera > grid) so you can line things up. Use the rule of thirds for interviews (interviewee eyes should be at the intersection of the first square.
- When you film an interview always film a cut away shot (like footage of their hands), you never know when you might need it. Extra cutaway shots can also include recorded interviewer questions, nodding, someone thinking, walking etc.
- Get good at gliding along as you film people walking. Bend your knees and walk whilst keeping the upper part of your body stable.
- Buy some core kit. You can bring in extra light using a reflector. A gimbal is great for counteracting shaky hands. A back screen will allow you to film great interviews with no distracting background and a microphone is essential in noisy areas as a the smart phone mics are normally not great.
- Keep your phone charged up and ready to go. Filming will drain your battery. Take a portable charger.
Just before lunch we had a break from the hands-on work and were visited by Ben McCammick-Copley, media production manager from UCEM. Ben spent time talking to our academics about the video opportunities that are out there and will support their modules.
Filmic pro filming tips
In the afternoon we spent time using the Filmic pro app. which gives you lots more control over your phone camera than your standard set up.
- The usual number of frames is 24 frames per second for film and 25 frames per second for video.
- Set your white balance – you can use auto but also do manually. Click to lock.
- Set your presets in advance. We went for 16.9, HD 2K, filmic pro for standard filming, and also created a slo-mo setting.
- Don’t save your videos to the photo gallery as this will cause loss of quality – load them directly on to your computer for editing.
- If you want to learn about more ways to use FilmicPro, you will find detailed tutorials on the Filmic pro website.
We ended the day by creating our own little promo and editing it on iMovie.
I think we are feeling a lot more confident about our filming ability, now we just need something to film!