Recording a Self Tape
November 24, 2020 | By Kimmi Neuschulz
Filming a Self Tape for an audition or LUX recital? Here are some basics to help you nail it!
Pick a quiet space to film. Make sure there’s no dog barking or someone vacuuming, and let others that you live with know you’re filming so they can try and be as quiet as possible.
Try your best to have a blank wall or backdrop to film in front of. You want the director/casting people/audience to be focused on you and your performance. A cluttered background could take the attention away from you!
In terms of a camera, your SMARTPHONE works just fine. Just make sure you film HORIZONTALLY, and (unless otherwise specified) frame yourself from the waist up with a couple inches of space above your head.
Where to put your phone to record? Having someone else hold the phone while filming you isn’t ideal. Try stacking up books or other flat, level objects to rest the phone on. The best option would be to invest in a tripod.
Lighting is super important! If you don’t have a ring light, use your NATURAL LIGHT. So don’t film standing in front of a window and make sure there’s no weird shadows on your face.
However, if using natural lighting, you have less control over what the final product is going to look like. You most likely can’t film after dark and clouds and other changes in weather could mess up your shots. Investing in a ring light is the best option.
Here's a cheap ring light/tripod combo that works great for me.
Before starting your song or scene, press record (or have someone else press it for you), WAIT 3 SECONDS while standing in character, and then start.
At the end of your song or scene WAIT 3 SECONDS after the last line of the scene/when the accompaniment ends standing in character.
These gaps in the beginning/end will allow for proper editing.
If your teacher hasn’t provided a track, you can probably find a karaoke or piano track on youtube!
If you’re singing with a track, make sure you play it on a separate device than what you’re filming with. (Check that the ringer is muted so nobody calls!)
If you can’t find the track in the correct key, or need something specific, you can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for help with recording your track!
Wear something that you love! If you’re uncomfortable or insecure in your clothes it can come across through your shots. Solid colors are best, but a small pattern or design won’t hurt. (Remember! The fewer distractions there are, the more attention goes to you.)
Wearing something that matches or could insinuate the personality of the character you are playing is super helpful. For example, if you’re auditioning for the part of a doctor maybe wearing jeans and a t-shirt isn’t the best option. Should you wear scrubs or a costume? No...please don’t. But a button down and glasses could work!
Reading with a partner
If you have a scene to film and there is dialogue between you and another character make sure you have someone to read with.
Ask your parents, siblings, or friends to help! And if you don’t have anyone that can help you in person, facetime or zoom with a friend and have them read with you virtually!
As a last resort if you really can’t find anyone to read with, record yourself saying the other persons lines via voice memo (leaving space for your lines in between) and read with yourself!