Generally, there just isn’t a good time to be “that guy.” You know. The one that whips out the camera and does a selfie.
It just seems so egocentric and self-serving. But, in my opinion, that’s just because it’s a powerful tool used wrong. I want to share how we used it on a recent project and why it’s just become my new favourite angle.
Generally, with a vision piece, we find the key to connection is eye line. That means having the eyes of the subject as close to the line of sight of the lens as possible.
Sometimes it’s just a phone being held above or below the lens acting as a teleprompter… but we usually do this by using a teleprompter when it’s a piece to camera.
The same goes for interviews. The more connected we want the character to feel the closer we have them look to the line of sight of the lens.
We have the subject connecting straight eyeball to eyeball with the audience, but sometimes you have to ask, are they (your audience) really in the moment??
Introducing the Selfie
One of our most recent projects was a crowdfunding campaign for Earth Tech. Urgency was an important keyword as they needed support now. We also wanted the audience to feel the sense of urgency each of the subjects felt, none as important as Ruben who opens the film.
To develop that strong sense of human struggle we developed… the RED selfie stick.
Mimicking a phone selfie we switched to a 20mm lens, we used the Sigma Cine Prime because it’s wide enough to seem phone’ish, but not distractingly so. Then we had Ruben hold the tripod arm at arm’s length.
On top of this, we unbalanced the camera, which was pretty easy since the Red Gemini is heavy and we moved it all the way forward on the tripod head and changed the counterbalance. Lastly, we loosened off the pan and tilt so it moved quickly but not crazy quickly.
So we get a natural shake which follows his human movements.
The only thing is, depending on how ‘animated’ your subject gets, their actions may get quite aggressive, which was a little bit of an issue with Ruben and we had to dial up the tension on the pan and tilt.
So now we have a powerful human connection with our subject, so the audience can really live that urgency he speaks of.
Here’s the final piece and you can see that we’ve used movement through the whole thing.
A lot of handhelds with the Red and all the pieces to camera were with the camera balance really off so there was a lot of movement, (we could have done the same thing with the monopod, but I really wanted the tripod to take the weight so I could work with the subjects.)