Self-Tape Tips Part 4: Frame
Finally, let’s talk about your self-tape frame and aspect ratio.
Here’s the good news: this is the EASIEST self-taping technical aspect to nail. Minor adjustments will get you exactly where you need.
COMMON SELF-TAPE FRAME ISSUES:
1. Your frame is too wide. We can hardly see your face and hence, miss all of your subtleties and nuances.
2. Your frame is too tight. We have full access to your facial features, but now you’re just a floating head. (Weird.)
3. You’ve filmed your scene with your camera or device held the wrong way. Aspect ratio: it’s a real thing.
SELF-TAPE FRAME SOLUTIONS:
1. You should frame yourself from around mid-bust to just above your head. Even if the scene calls for some “business” (typing on a computer, for example,) we don’t need to see what your hands are doing. Resist the urge to go wider. (Your eyes are the window; they hold OUR gaze and grab our attention… we need to be able to see your eyes/face clearly!)
Be careful not to frame yourself TOO tightly. Yes, we want to see your face, but it just feels odd and overly dramatic if that face is not attached to a neck and torso.
2. Your device or camera should ALWAYS be turned so that the image is HORIZONTAL or LANDSCAPE. It feels more natural to hold a device vertically, since that’s how we use them in our daily lives. However, it will throw off the aspect ratio and you’ll end up with giant black bars on the sides (see image above.) You will also have inadvertently shrunken the amount of space available for YOUR image.
3. Use a tripod. It will make your life so much easier. You’ll be able to set the device up, check the frame and then shoot your self-tape. If you’re propping your device up on something, it could slide. If your reader is holding it, your frame could drift or shake (doesn’t matter if they have surgeon-steady hands. Their breathing alone will cause the camera to move.)
There you have it! The self-tape basics are lighting, sound, backdrop and frame. Get a handle on those and everything else is fun.