Need to self-tape an audition on your own, iPhone is the best possible phone that could give you the best results.
But just hitting the record button on your iPhone won’t give you the best results. You need to do something more to go with it.
You need to set the proper settings on your phone, proper lighting, background, sound recording, and a few editing skills to record a self-tape on iPhone.
Step By Step Process To Record Self Tape On iPhone
Even if you are using iPhone, you will have to have some knowledge about shooting a video. You will have to were the hat of a cinematographer.
As a cinematographer, you need to know the camera setting, lighting, sound, background, etc.
To help you with these I will go through each step so that you can set each and everything before you hit that record button.
There are many things to take care of when you are setting up the iPhone camera for shooting the self-tape.
Choose The camera
The first and foremost thing you need to do is set up the iPhone camera. I suggest using the back camera for taping instead of the front camera.
The reason is back cameras have better resolution compared to the front cameras. Also using the back camera you can have much better control over the settings.
Choose A Stand
Also, use a tripod or gimbal to shoot stable videos.
If you plan to move around while recording, you must use a gimbal. Gimbal is a great device to shoot moving objects.
And if you plan to remain on one spot as you do during acting auditions, a tripod to fix the camera is more than enough. You can use a gimbal as a stand too if you own one.
If you don’t have one suggest getting DJI OM5 (get it on Amazon). It will really help you in self-taping our auditions.
Also when you fix the camera on the stand or gimbal keep it horizontally and not vertically.
You are making auditions for the screen, not for the apps like Tik Tok or Instagram.
Set video quality
Once the hardware is done, it’s time to set the software. When you open the camera app on your iPhone, there are some settings that you need to set.
Set video quality of 1080p or 720p at 30 fps. The reason being you will be either sharing the tape or sending the casting agent online. You don’t want to send 4k videos that take ages to upload and download.
You can leave the rest of the settings as it is because for a self-taping audition it is more than enough. Also, iPhone’s powerful camera software will take care of the color and clarity.
When shooting videos lighting is an important aspect. The object of interest should be well lit.
I advise you buy some lights like a ring light. They are great for taping auditions. Setting them up is easy and doesn’t cost much.
However, if you are shooting a video where you will be moving from one spot to other, you will have to install lights for the entire floor. This will ensure the scene is well lit.
There are generally three types of lighting setups that you can use for the scene.
One light: This setup is good if you are fixed to one spot and the shot is mid-close or close. For this kind of setup, you can buy a simple ring light.
Two lights: when you use two lights, it makes the scene brighter. The scene will look more natural. Especially, the scene is taking palace during the day, this setup is good.
Three light and backlit background: If you want to make the scene look dynamic, this is the best setup. However, you will be using three lights from different angles to light up the scene and one small light that will be used to light the background.
This setup gives more dynamic and natural-looking scenes.
However, I would suggest this if you are planning to record a simple audition on your iPhone. For professional films and series, this is fine.
You can use lights with a softbox so that you can control the light. A complete kit is available if you want to buy it. Having a kit is good because it always you to shoot auditions whenever you want and you don’t have to look for a friend or studio to lend you alight.
When you are shooting an audition you want to make sure their clear background behind you so that the focus is on you.
Generally, a clear wall or having a background does help.
Whatever background you use, I suggest going for the background with solid colors like white, green, or grey. Also, these colors should be in a lighter shade.
You have avoided taping your auditions in front of the pattern wall or having some kind of furniture in the background.
If unfortunately, you do not have such a solid color wall, you can buy a backdrop. They are cheap and easily available online. Here are some of the backdrops that you can buy online.
- Westcott X-Drop 3-Pack Backdrop Kit – It is a great kit to have if you want to a different shade of backdrop. It comes with a solid black, solid grey, and solid high key white. These are perfect for taping auditions, headshots, and photography.
- Phsureo Seamless Photo Photography Backdrop – This again is a great backdrop to have. I suggest getting the biggest size 81″ x32′ for shooting a self-tape. It has solid sky blue color which is great for auditions and photoshoots.
If you plan to use the phone on a stand or gimble, you might face issues with sound. For recording sound, you rely on the inbuilt mic. It might be hard to pick up the sound if you are away from the phone.
To solve this issue, it is better to get an external microphone for iPhone that you can put it on you or keep close to you.
There are generally two types of microphone wireless and wired. I suggest using a wireless microphone as it allows you to move around while taping yourself. You can buy one of these two microphones for self-taping using iPhone:
LARKBIRD Wireless Dual Lavalier Microphones – It is a great option specifically designed for Apple products. Also, it comes with a charging pod which not many microphones come with. It has stereo reception and omnidirectional voice pick-up like any other microphone.
Movo Edge-DI-Duo Wireless Lavalier – This is one of the best options available in the form of a wireless microphone for the iPhone. It works perfectly with all the iPhone variants. And the sound quality is great for self-tapes. And if you are buying a DJI OM5 gimbal, it is compatible with that as well.
Both microphones are easy to use. Just plugin into the phone and attach the lapel mic to yourself and you are good to go.
Shooting The Video
Once you have set up the equipment it’s time to tape your audition or performance. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when you record self-tape on iPhone and it depends on what you are taping:
When you are taping monologues for an audition, it is always a fixed frame. This means you have to keep the shot mid-close and keep the camera fixed.
You can make use of a timer when you are shooting on your own. This will allow you to hot play and din to your spot.
Taping A Scene
If you are shooting a scene that involves another actor, the camera needs to be moving and following you.
You will have to get someone to handle the camera for you. Maybe a cinematographer friend can help you. Plan out the movement in and scene and as the cinematographer to follow your action.
Do the rehearsal with the camera so that everything is in sync when shooting the scene.
If you plan on using a reader practice with him or her.
In case you do not have a reader, I suggest reading our post on three ways to self tape audition without a reader.
Sending Self-tapes to Casting Directors
Once you have recorded a self tape on iPhone you can now send it to the casting agent. There are several ways to send the tape to the casting agents:
If you have the contact number of the agent or casting director you can directly send the video as an attachment. But don’t just randomly send the video. Write the reference for what audition you are sending this video.
However, there is an issue with WhatsApp, the casting agent will have to download the complete video before they can watch the video. For this reason, I like the next method.
Send the Link
I suggest you upload your video on Youtube and make it private. Now, if you want to share the video with anyone just send the link.
They will be able to directly open your video on Youtube using the link and watch it immediately without having to download it. Also, use the same link as your online acting portfolio.
If you don’t have an acting portfolio I suggest checking our posting on making an acting portfolio.
Drop a Pendrive
If you are not a fan of WhatsApp and email you can use the traditional method of dropping your videos in a Pendrive at the acting agent’s office.
If you want to learn more about sending tapes to casting directors, please read our post on how to send audition tapes to directors.
In addition to these steps on how to record a self-tape on iPhone, I suggest getting some filmmaking knowledge, this helps your video-making skills. You will be able to do good lighting, as well as make quality videos for your auditions.