Wednesday, May 1, 2013

SELF-TAPING YOUR AUDITION USING YOUR iPHONE


Having just worked on a feature film where we were asking for actors to send in their self-taped auditions from around the world, I realized that actors are becoming more empowered and self-sufficient by learning how to tape their auditions. But do yourself a favor and make sure you do it well - taping your audition on your laptop should be a last resort. Make sure to show yourself at your best. Lighting, sound, good quality video and a talented reader will help make your audition as great as it should be.


Some are still stymied by the process and our guest bloggers Tara Tomicevic and Leslie-Ann Huff are here to explain an easy and very inexpensive "work around" using your iPhone. Yes, your iPhone!

When we started noticing how often self-taped auditions are requested (a friend booked a pilot through a self-tape this year!), we figured there had to be a way to get it done that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. We discovered that there is!

Taking matters into our own hands, we started meeting twice a week, practicing and playing around with equipment. Since we weren’t working on an actual audition (yet), this gave us some room to try things, both technically and with our acting. Then, when it came time to send one in, we knew what we were doing.
The following tips are meant to add to Marci’s blog entry How To Self-Tape Your Audition Like A Rockstar, which already covers all the important basics. Hopefully these tips will help to make it even easier.


JUST USE YOUR PHONE

The camera on the iPhone 4 or iPhone 5 records considerably high-quality video. No fancy, expensive cameras necessary.


YOUR TRIPOD CAN WORK:

Just as Marci pointed out, the tripod is very important to a professional audition tape. To hold up your iPhone on a tripod, you can purchase an inexpensive iPhone mount, like the one we used: Studio Neat Glif Tripod Mount. If you don’t have one, these little guys are a great option to explore.


SOUND IS CRUCIAL

A directional mic can be hooked into the iPhone via the headphones hole. The one we purchased was about $40. This kind of mic cut out the white noise and clearly picked up the actors voice. The difference was very clear: good sound helps pick up all the nuances of an actors performance and gives the tape a more professional feel. A side note on sound: the reader’s voice should not be louder than the actor’s. This tends to happen as the reader stands next to the camera. A directional mic and a mindful reader can help with that. If you still experience some background noise, it can be eliminated in five seconds on iMovie or similar basic programs (YouTube tutorials rock!)
UPDATE: A few of my readers commented that the mic that was suggested (above) is no longer available. I reached out to Tara and asked for any new recommendations. Here's her response:

The Belkin one we originally suggested is only one we have used repeatedly. I just found some through non-Amazon retailers and eBay (which of course I have no personal experience with and cannot officially recommend):




A friend of mine has a great one called the Tascam iM2 mic for iPhone (http://tascam.com/product/im2/). It is about $80 but if you look around online you can often find them reduced to $30-$40. 

Leslie-Anne also added that she recently bought an iPhone 5 and the quality of the sound is comparable to using the directional mic for the iPhone 4 (what we were doing before). Hope this helps!

LIGHTING:

We are lucky that one of our apartments has a spot lit by two windows, which provides great natural light. Find the spots in your home that face windows. Use blinds and curtains to increase or decrease the amount of direct light. Try using the different lamps in your home. Experiment. Much to our surprise, we noticed that a fluorescent kitchen light actually enhanced the look of the natural light. Be resourceful and use your judgement. If you have a dark place or have to shoot at night, Marci’s lighting suggestions in her original post are spot on.


TRANSFERRING FOOTAGE

To get your video (regardless of its length) from your phone to your computer, connect the two via a USB cable. If you’re on a Mac, open the app Preview. Then click File, Import from iPhone, and all your iPhone files will be listed. Select your video and click Import.


IF YOU NEED TO EDIT

We recommend stopping after each take so that you can select the take you want and send that one only without having to edit at all. But if you need to edit we learned iMovie quickly and on our own (again, YouTube tutorials!)


COST COMPARISON

We paid about $60 (in addition to the price of our phones) to get this system working. We’ve seen companies around town charge $25-$100+ per self-tape. So invest in yourself and a couple self-tapes in you’ll be happy you did (and feel extra savvy too)!

Here's a video sample:



If anyone has any questions, feel free to reach out. We are both on Twitter: @TaraTomicevic and @Leslie_AnneHuff.


Tara Tomicevic is an actress, writer, and producer. She is Croatian born, Italian raised, and Berkeley branded. 

Leslie-Anne Huff is an actress, Los Angeles native, and lover of pugs. Credits and more info can be found on her website: http://leslie-annehuff.com

I'd love to hear about any hot tips you've discovered while self-taping your auditions. It's always good to share with the community.

Glad you're here!

Marci






26 comments:

  1. Readers on Facebook have shared these:
    A mount for a smartphone:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0056C4VRK/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i01?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    They say compatible with: iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and iPod Touch - but I'd check out the specific dimensions as the smart phones are always changing size/shape.

    Another tripod:

    http://www.amazon.com/Octopus-Portable-adjustable-Tripod-Cellphone/dp/B007NFM88C/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1367510932&sr=1-1&keywords=octopus+tripod

    ReplyDelete
  2. i was curious if anyone had a solid microphone recommendation for the iphone5?
    thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Try the iMicrophone by Edutige; you can find it on their website; there are a number of models and you can also buy it on Amazon.com.

      Excellent sound quality!

      Delete
  3. Tara is one of the smartest (and most talented) actors I know. People, this is great advice for auditioning in the digital age.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Anonymous. You just made my day!

      Delete
  4. If you aren't lucky enough to have windows that provide adequate lighting, this kit from B&H Photo is a great value for the price - two lights, two tripods for the lights, and softboxes that go over the 4 bulbs on each light that really makes for a nice spread. I self-taped with this setup, got a callback and booked a top-of-show guest on a Disney sitcom.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/747038-REG/Interfit_INT151_EZ_flo_Fluorescent_2_Light.html

    I actually bought two of the kits, then permanently mounted them in the ceiling - one key, two fill, and one hairlight. Total cost about $400 - but my first booking paid for it.

    And yes, I use the Glif on my iPhone to do it. You can also import directly into iMovie from your iPhone if you want to skip the Preview step.

    David

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  5. Bret - if you use the Apple Camera Connection kit, you can use any USB mic, but the mic on the iPhone is pretty good all by itself. OTOH, I use the Audio-Technica ATR6550 ($55 and sounds like a $300 mic):

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=664440&Q=&is=REG&A=details

    ...with the KV Connection adapter ($25):

    http://www.kvconnection.com/product-p/km-iphone-mic.htm

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  6. Maybe a stupid question but what happens if your phone rings? Obviously you'll have it on vibrate, but if it vibrates you'll ruin your take, right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can always set it on airplane mode. Or on silent, for those oh so important casting calls. ;)

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  7. Have done this with my iPhone and "landed" roles in feature film.

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  8. Great tips in the article and in the comments! I use my iPad mini and love the results. I have a tripod but still need to find an attachment so I just prop it up on my kitchen counter because it is very high. The last project I submitted for was a tv series and I was shortlisted just from my self-tape!

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  9. thanks for share..

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  10. Iphone is really great. With the all good features of taping tape . Have o say, "i-phone is Iphone"

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  11. Nice post. I am so enjoying using it and its features. en ucuz iphone

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  12. Thank you. Great advise. But if you don't have a smart phone? I do, however, I purchased a Samsung HMX-W300 which is amazing. The features are extraordinary all for around $100. I may look into getting a mike for it but seems to work great without an external mike.

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  13. your Blog is awesome
    we are also iphone 5 development usa and i would like to do link to your website if you feel good so?

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  14. The mic you recommend is no longer available. Any other recs in the same price range?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Since this blog was written by guest bloggers, you should probably follow up with them as to their recommendations. I'll be they have a few!

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    2. I just reached out to my guest blogger and updated the SOUND portion of the blog. Thanks for letting us know that the mic isn't available. More info in the UPDATE.

      Delete
  15. Amazing idea. I will have no more need of digital camera for photo shooting. Thanks for sharing. telekupon

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  16. Great Idea, Wea can make video on high resolution and also very easily sharable from iPhone. Now by using Smartphones, we have no need of cameras, infact we forget cameras

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  17. Can you do the same with a Samsung Galaxy phone? I cant afford to hire anyone to tape me right now amd have missed out on several projects because I couldnt self tape! I have a Galaxy 3 and a lighting kit that I use for photography. ??

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  18. want to tape urself , visit to our site for renting best studios with high techniques and facilities , for more information visit to our site clock on

    selftape

    ReplyDelete
  19. Great website. Lots of useful information here. I am sending it to a few friends ans also sharing in delicious. And certainly, thank you for your effort!
    With thanks,
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    ReplyDelete
  20. I enjoyed your article and advice, I will use it thank you. I did my first open audition casting call for a major motion picture. It was a good experience and the casting folks were awesome I can't believe people complain about them. I wish I had only started earlier in life. I think auditioning was a wonderful interaction regardless if I get a part casting agencies are cool people I had a blast!
    Actors Taping

    ReplyDelete