How Actors Can Easily do Self-Taping at Home

Image of film camera for Self Taping at Home blog post
🕒 3 minutes read

Self-Taping at Home – Quick and Easy to Setup

Self-taping at homeI was thinking about constructing an area for self-taping at home, over a year ago now, but I got so engrossed in my master’s degree and finding ways of not having to work for anyone else, that it got put on a shelf under piles of research notes and essays.

Since my course ended, I’ve had to spend my time searching for some work that, other than for monetary gain, I would not want to do. An amazing kick in the creative motivations. So, when I finally got a breather over the festive season, whilst all the normies were celebrating,  I finally had time to get on with it.

Marie Cooper Actor Self-Tape still
Just needs a little more light needed to get rid of the shadow, but otherwise sufficient for a quick self-tape

I was a little  annoyed with myself for not setting it all up much sooner as it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it might be. It turned out that I had everything I needed for a basic setup already to hand.

What I used for Self-Taping at Home

  • Smartphone to do the recording. The quality of phone cameras nowadays is more than sufficient.
  • Tripod to hold my phone. I picked it up secondhand and cheap many years ago whilst I was doing a City & Guilds in Photography. (With real, film cameras – it was that long ago). It’s heavy but strong and stable.
  • Tripod adaptor to hold the smart phone to the tripod.
  • Roller-blind or sheet to use as a backdrop to record against. I had an old, broken roller blind. It was too heavy to hang from the wall initially, but with the roller mechanism removed, it was fine.
  • Hooks. I found I had a couple of hooks that might hold the blind up in my tool box (but they would have been very easy and cheap to get hold of from any hardware store). I didn’t think they would be screw into the wall or be strong enough to hold or that the bottom pole would slot behind the hooks. It’s not perfect but it’s enough to hold it securely so that it doesn’t fall on my head.
  • Light source – I think that lighting in my room might be okay. I did a self-tape using just he overhead lighting and it came out okay. However, I do have a couple of small lamps around the house if there are unwanted shadows in the way.
  • The microphone stand is a bit of a red herring.  It wasn’t there to hold a microphone, it was there to hold my lines 😳
  • I have a Lavalier clip-on microphone, I bought a few years back for recording video audio, that I was intending to use. But the camera is so close to me, I think the sound was perfectly adequate without it.

Easy up, Easy down

I could have left everything set up in the corner of my room but 1) My cat is an ******** and he will probably try to climb up it, pull it down or scratch it the moment I walk out of the room. 2) I don’t want the corner of my bedroom looking as if it’s set up to record videos 24/7 and 3) Maybe I’ll get tempted to Vlog if I leave it up, and nobody wants that. The whole setup is pretty quick and easy to dismantle. I just have to lift the blind off the hooks, re-roll it and it rests nicely on the top of my curtain pole out of the way. All the other equipment folds away.

How to make the Self-tape

I watched the video on How to Self-Tape at Home on Spotlight’s website.  It contains pretty much all you need to know. But remember, you don’t need to spend a fortune on expensive high tech cameras. If you have a decent smart phone in your pocket, you already have the most important thing you need.

So, what’s stopping you? Go tape your face! I hope that you find it easy to do and that you can now get videos out to casting agents. Happy new year and I hope that you all find your dream acting roles in 2019.