Testimony, Testimonial, Byte, Sound Byte, Sound Bite, Interview, Question Answer shoot are different names as we call them is an important type of corporate video that is often used by organizations where the speaker or the video spokesperson testifies the subject on which speaks. It is an important tool to prove that the speaker vouches or endorses the subject.
In a corporate scenario, testimony shoot is common and executives and senior management keep doing them all the time for the press, media, PR, or to address the employees and other stakeholders. To keep up the brand image, often professional video agencies are hired, with expensive professional cameras, lighting, and audio setup. Sometimes even multiple angles are shot along with hiring a makeup artist. Very often we also use a teleprompter, that assists the speaker speak flawlessly without forgetting any point.
However, there are scenarios, when hiring a professional video agency is not possible. For instance, during these COVID times or when the speaker is in a remote location with no access to a pro team. Fortunately, there are ways in which we can get decent results from your existing smartphone camera. While the professional camera is the best, the make-shift smartphone camera can be quite useful. The results are often not bad so long as they are shot with some directives in mind.
Often we blame the camera for its picture quality, while most of today's smartphones, even the inexpensive ones have a great capability to shoot very high-quality videos. Some even shoot 4K. Go to the camera settings on your smartphone and ensure that the video resolution is at least full HD quality 1920 x 1080. If you have a 4K, do that. Higher the better. If you
don't have those settings, just choose the best quality or superfine quality, or whatever your phone describes it. You may also install a camera app that can help you do that for you.
If you have a setting for anti-shake, turn that on. You make tweak the EXPOSURE setting if the lighting in the shoot location is poor. You may have other fancy settings that enhance the video. They normally do a good job of enhancing the video. Use your visual judgment to decide. However, ensure that they don't bring down the quality of video resolution below the HD quality of 1920 x 1080
Use the back 9rear) camera since many smartphones have higher resolution for the rear camera. Also using the rear camera helps the videographer see the frame on the screen. However, if you are doing all this alone, ensure that the front camera has at least full HD 1920 x 1080 pixels and is set to that resolution. No Frills - Don’t zoom the frame digitally.
Setting your smartphone camera resolution to 1920 x 1080
A testimony is all about sound. You need a reasonably silent location such as a conference room, meeting room, because you may not have a wireless mic. However, if you don't find a silent location and the visibility of the mic is not important,
you may use a Bluetooth headset mic. If you have wired earphones with a built-in mic, you may use that provided the wire is long enough to go from near your mouth into the mic port of the smartphone. You don't have to plug the earphones into your
ears. Just tuck the earphones inside your collar so that the microphone is close to your mouth. However you have to hide all those wires coming from your body into the phone. That could get messy.
Use a Bluetooth Headset if possible to avoid external noise, as you will stand far from the smartphone
If you find a silent room, ensure that it does not echo. If you are not using a built-in mic of the smartphone, ensure that you speak louder than the ambient room sound. Don't speak from further than 4 feet from the smartphone. Switch off fans, air conditioners and close all doors and windows for extra silence. Request people around to maintain silence for some time. People do cooperate in such times.
Meeting rooms are the best silent rooms
More than a camera, good lighting is the key to good videography. Find a location with a good source of bright light such as an open window. Open up all the window blinds in the room fully. Switch on all lights. The light should not fall on the camera.
For instance, if there is a window or a light behind the speaker, turn, 180 degrees. The talent or the speaker should face the light source so that ample light falls on his face and not on the camera. If light falls on the camera, shut that light source.
Ensure ample light on the subject.
Light should fall on face not on the camera.
This is very important! Keep the smartphone horizontal (landscape) and NOT vertical (portrait). That's the way professionals use it in films. If you shoot vertical or portrait the editing production house will have a tough time fitting
the content in a horizontal production flow and the quality may be ruined.
Shoot Landscape, Not Portrait.
During the recording, the videographer should try not to shake much. This can be practiced for a minute or so. You may even turn on the ANTI SHAKE feature on the mobile’s camera app. However it would be best to use a stand, chair, desk, pedestal,
or ideally a tripod to smartphone mount to secure the smartphone to get a steady shot. You may set the angle by trapping the phone between books or any other stationery.
DIY ways to keep your smartphone steady
Frame the picture such that the talent is fully visible above the belt. Don't chop off the head! Keep some headroom above. Try to keep the subject in the center of the frame. Use simple backgrounds. You may use standees, branding at a distance behind the talent. NO direct light should fall on the camera to avoid glares. Shoot no more than 3 to 4 feet from the talent, since the smartphone microphone should pick up voice signal loud enough. Request everybody around to be silent. At the same time ensure that the framing is proper as discussed before.
Request the talent to wash his or her face using a face wash) and subsequently, wipe to avoid any oiliness and to look fresh. Formal dresses never go wrong. It makes the shot look professional. Remove any things inside the pockets. Puffed up or sagging pockets are visible to the camera and look awful!
Rehearse a few shots till the videographer and the talent become thorough.
Never mind if the talent makes mistakes. You can record as many shots as possible. Record small sentences. We will fix and join all the shots during the edit. Smaller files also help to manage or delete unwanted takes and send the right files.
The talent should not look into a book or paper to read. Rehearse small sentences Frame them in the mind and then speak. Ask the videographer to start recording, frame the sentence in mind, and then speak. The delay is OK. Dont try to fake accents or a style. Be yourself. That works the best.
If taking cues from a sheet of paper, don’t speak while looking into the paper. While speaking, look only into the camera. Turn your head towards the paper only before and after the speaking. Not even for a while during speaking. The camera sees everything; Even a cock-eyed look into the paper is visible.
Press the record button, ensure that the smartphone is steady, and only then request the talent to speak. After the speaking is over, wait for a second and then press the stop button.
Always save the videos in the best (superfine) quality.
Ensure that all words are clearly spoken. If not, delete the file and do a retake.
If recording all by yourself you may use the above principles for a selfie video. You may need to rest the mobile against some books etc.
Don’t send the videos by WhatsApp. WhatsApp compresses and distorts the video quality. Copy them onto Google Drive or Dropbox or whatever is available on the phone and email the link. If at all you have to send by WhatsApp, send as a WhatsApp document.
Even if a few of the above tips are adhered to, you can creating stunning videos from your smartphone.
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