Top 10 Self-Filming and Selfie-Taking Hacks for Pole and Aerials
Professional pole and aerial artists and athletes have taken to posting their performances, their training clips and even aspects of their personal lives on social media, like Facebook and Instagram, in a big way. [We share such posts from our instructors and students regularly: FB, Instagram]
It's not possible to set up a professional photography or videography shoot every week (or even multiple times a day), not all of us have a pro camera and set of lights and tripods...
...and there's not always a friend, student or by-stander around to hold the camera/phone/tablet. So, how do they get so many flattering, perfectly framed videos and stills, and then so quickly and regularly edit and upload them?
Here's what we've worked out:
1) They use their phones (with decent in-built cameras) and at least one app. When you get your next phone look for one with a high quality in-built front and rear facing camera with great specs. There are plenty of free apps around to edit photos, put together videos, add text or watermarks, create collages etc - investigate and try a few out to see which you like the best.
2) They do it over and over and over. For that one perfect clip or photo, your idol might have done their trick/combo many times on the day. They may stop and watch each take and use bio-feedback and visualization techniques (we'll be blogging about these later) to improve each successive attempt - this is a powerful learning tool and not just useful to get a great shot/vid. FILM EVERYTHING - your practice attempt might just be the perfect run, it mightn't feel perfect but could look amazing in playback, you might spot a new idea in your 'mistake', or that blooper might end up being hilarious comedy gold.
Natty video-bombing Amy (aka comedy gold)
Example of screenshots from a video
and use of an app to get a collage.
6) Get to know your space and get creative - any piece of furniture, wall, corner, yoga block, chair, bag, shoe, water bottle, pole, tissue box, magazine etc is a potential prop for your phone. Blu-tack is your best friend. Also take a look at the view you're filming - you might like to move debris (your extra layers of clothing, that protein bar wrapper, your tuckered-out mate) from the shot or pick a different angle so you don't get the toilet sign or the pile of yoga mats the previous class left unrolled in your background.
Poor lit vid of Amy training.
Good lighting and above-head angle.
8) Consider different heights. There's the floor-up angle as the most popular, easiest and fastest positioning - but it's not always the most flattering (depending on the move/sequence/combo, of course). Try out a mid-body height and also an over-head height. (There are also extremes like ant and birds-eye-view, but they're not usually needed for your every day filming needs). For mid-body, we like to use an adjustable tripod (we've got one just for this), but we've also used shelving and the reception desk. For over-the-head shots we've used a gorilla pod on other aerial apparatus or poles.
9) Be extra prepared. Bring your charger! Bring another phone/camera/tablet in case yours dies in the heat of your success! Hell, bring your laptop in case you need to free up some space on your device. This is serious business! Bring something other than your phone for your music needs - despite the glaring gap in the market there is not yet any app or function to allow us to play music and film on our phones at the same time! If you need/want to look a certain way - do all of that before you get to the studio.
Sometimes, though, the footage is just not important at all, the process is. Even if you get nothing on camera that you want to use from your training session: you moved, you felt, you breathed, you gave - it was a good day.
Note: There's etiquette around self-filming in studios/training spaces: try to make sure no-one else is in your shot and try not to walk in front of any-one else's camera if possible. Also be aware of where you're setting up your camera/phone - in the middle of a walk-way is probably not the done thing. Talk to each other. If someone does get in your shot and you really want to use it, ask them if it's okay first. If it's not, that's cool, you get to try again - practice makes perfect!