Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms lets you share your performance with the world.
You might be highlighting your talents to step up your musical career or just filming for fun. Instagram makes it really simple to share your performance with a wider audience or the world to be precise.
As you all know, the Coronavirus caused all of us to go into lockdown with many of us having to self-isolate. This sparked a surge in people gaining interest in new hobbies which majorly included videography, be it filming themselves playing guitar for the first time or learning how to create a more professional and sophisticated video. Myself, and team at Fovitec have put together this guide for getting the most from your video performance using our lights, Shotgun microphones, and the tools of the trade.
The golden rules
Set the scene. You can film anywhere you like! This could be in your living room, bedroom, kitchen, garden or you could even venture to a location.
Make sure there are no distracting noises such as a washing machine running, roadworks outside the window, or your housemate recording their own Instagram video on the drum kit next-door! A little background noise is okay but not something that couple potential disrupt your viewer’s attention.
If you are inside, take the time to clean the area in your shot – you want your audience focusing on you playing a guitar not on the pile of old laundry on your floor. Choose an area in your filming space with either a plain wall behind you, or you can showcase your hobbies and interests. You could film yourself in front of a book case or displaying your favourite collectable action figures. You could even drop in a background to set the scene, be it virtually with a green screen or a textured one.
Light is your friend don’t be shy with it. Anyone with experience shooting video or taking photographs professionally will tell you that light is key to a good shot and that you always need more of it than you expect!
To compensate for different lighting conditions, most cameras (including smartphones) will auto adjust the sensitivity of their image sensor – referred to as ISO. The issue is that this adds noise (this is when your image or video looks grainy) to the footage. Flooding your subject with as much light as you can allows the smartphone’s camera to lower its ISO and reduce noise, this is where a ringlight or softbox can come in handy, especially in dark situations.
The same applies to cameras with manual ISO adjustment – if you want to avoid noise increase the light and lower the ISO.
The position of the light is as important as how bright it is. A general rule is to point the most light at the front of the subject (In this case the subject is yourself)– keeping the source of light behind the camera and pointing at yourself will usually get the best results, but if you do want to create a mood then from the left or right can give you a great effect.
Avoid having an intense light behind yourself or the subject and pointing into the camera. This will do 1 of 2 things, either cast the subject in shadow if the camera’s exposure is set low or overwhelm the background in glare if the exposure is set high making is washed out.
Let's talk about Equipment.
If you’re filming in the day, shoot close to a window – soft natural sunlight can look great but be careful with direct sun as it can cast strong shadows. If necessary, you can pull a thin curtain or blind down to soften the light.
Grab as many household lights as you can and experiment with lampshades and placement.
What is your angle?
Whether you are filming with five cameras or one you should think carefully about every angle. Each angle should show something which the others do not. For example, three cameras could be set up to show close ups of the fretting hand, the picking hand, plus a shot of yourself and the whole guitar.
If you just have the one camera, make it count. If your video is about playing your instrument, then make sure that your hands are in shot and you are close enough that the audience can see what you are playing.
A tripod per camera is the best choice but not everyone will have multiple tripod – or even one. A stack of books will even do the job depending on how you are starting out. But just a good FYI the Fovitec Ringlights come with Smartphone mounts.
Good audio can make or break a video.
You might have the best lighting going but if your audience cannot hear you then you may as well just be standing in silence. Superior quality audio is important, why? It's the best way of letting your voice be heard clearly and not distorted, muffled, or even having an echo. This will make your audio unpleasant to listen to and will not leave a good impression on new people who join your videos or view your content.
The room can also make a difference, make sure you are happy with the sound in the room and always do a little test before, even if it is the same room you always record in. If the room has too much reverb (this is sound bouncing around) then try putting some soft furnishings in it to dampen the echoes or padding the walls with foam. If there is still too much reverb, then you may need to consider another location.
A great option if you are planning on directly uploading or going live is to use a shotgun microphone, these can plug directly into your smartphone or camera. This allows you to play around with sounds in edit or if live ensures a clean recording.
If you have an external mic, hook it up and place it in front of your sound source. Recording instruments for example is new world from voice only, so I am not going to go into too much detail. but I will say that it is always worth experimenting with microphone placement as you can alter bad sound by moving the mic just a small amount.
Using the cameras mic?
You should experiment with moving yourself around to achieve the best sound possible
Move your amplifier to a spot where it sounds best in relation to the camera. Moving it far away will result in more room reverb, so keep that in mind, but at the same time moving too close could cause the microphone to clip and distort.
Good results can be obtained without an external microphone, but if you are just starting out then you want to start using a shotgun microphone, The Fovitec Shotgun mic is a great starting point for anyone.
Test the waters.
Even if you’re being super-spontaneous, it’s always a particularly good idea to record a quick clip before you film the main event to check for video and audio quality, the last thing you want is having technical issues. Be loud and check that the audio isn’t distorting. If you're recording yourself playing guitar as we use in this example, check the sound and move your amp around and find the best position.
What format are you going to use?
Before you even begin to start filming you should decide on what orientation you want your final video to be.
Videos have traditionally been shot in landscape; however, Instagram changed all that and videos are gearing towards being shot in portrait, and when using the Instagram platform are best viewed in portrait as they fill up the entire phone screen. With IG Stories shown exclusively in portrait and most people watching content on their phone vertically, portrait is the best choice for connecting with your audience.
Aspect ratios differ by whether the video is uploaded to a feed, story or IGTV. Here is a list of the current aspect ratios for Instagram and how long your videos can be.
You can upload a video with an aspect ratio anywhere between 1.91:1 and 4:5. Videos have a maximum length of 60 seconds.
Stories, Live, IGTV & REELS
The ideal dimensions for Instagram Stories, Live and IGTV are 1080px wide by 1920px tall, with an aspect ratio of 9:16. (pro tip, if you are using reels keep your videos under 15 seconds as Instagram's algorithm boosts your post on percentage of viewing time, shorter the video, the higher the percentage which means you will then be featured on the Explore page.)
Stories are up to 15 seconds per story. Live videos are a maximum of 60 minutes long and IGTV is between 15 seconds and 10 minutes long.
Instant results from your smartphone
With the giant leaps in smartphone technology everyone is using smartphones for recording their content, and why not? It is simple to make an engaging video which both looks and sounds great all within the palm of your hand. Smart phone features more have become less restrictive now and uploading is super-fast, however editing can be a bit more awkward.
Shooting and editing within your phone is all about keeping the video feeling fresh and spontaneous so don’t go chasing looking for cinematic quality shots and audio that could have come from a film studio. However, you should follow the tips above to help your video look and sound the best it can.
The camera on the rear of your smartphone will provide you with the best quality image but you won’t be able to monitor how the picture is framed. Framing the shot first with a chair and a placeholder such as a pillow or a friend will let you adjust positioning before you start shooting. Alternatively, set up a mirror to reflect the phone screen back at you.
Apps for editing on your phone
There are a multitude of mobile video editing apps available to download. They vary on price and features so you should shop around for what works best for you. Our top choices are:
- Adobe Premiere Rush (IOS and Android)
- InShot Video Editor (IOS and Android)
- LumaFusion (On IOS)
- iMovie (Free on IOS)
Taking smartphone video further
Once you’ve got to grips with filming and editing on your smartphone you might want to step things up without going the full Monty and buying a camera and studio microphone.
External microphones such as the Fovitec Shotgun Mic and Lavalier Mic are designed to connect directly to your smartphone allowing you to capture superior audio while enjoying the simplicity of filming on a phone.
I hope that this guide has given you something to think about and how to take your Instagram videos to the next level, if you have any questions get in touch with us and we will do our upmost to help you.