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How to film a self-tape?

Self-tape definition –

A video recording taken by the parent of the child at their own home or location of choice. You will get given instructions of what needs to be filmed or can simply be asked to film the child introducing themselves and talking about a hobby.

Why is a self-tape useful –

Self-tapes have now become such a more convenient way of casting directors and clients being able to see the children’s personalities and even better, getting them to film what is needed for the casting rather than having to meet in person.

Although most clients and casting directors would love to meet the kids in person, sometimes this just isn’t logistically possible. If a last-minute shoot comes through and they don’t have time to arrange a casting this is the perfect way to be able to ask the children to do what is needed.

A self-tape is also used by casting directors to shortlist the best kids that fit the brief before they get called into a casting. Saves them just calling in lots of children and then only a few being able to do what is needed of them.

Tips for filming a self-tape and things to look out for –

First and foremost, you don’t want the client to get distracted by anything other than the child.

You can use your phone to film a self-tape. Ideally the best quality possible so would need to be a more current phone model.

Use a neutral back drop. So, a plain wall or uncluttered background would be ideal. Of course, you could be asked to film outside or to act out a certain scene which would be required to film elsewhere such as a kitchen.

Find a quiet room and try to eliminate any background noise. Make sure tv’s and radios are turned off. If you are for example filming in the front room and there are loads of cars going past outside hold off until it quietens down. If your filming outside and plane flies over you will need to wait until it has passed as these sounds all get picked up from the recording and can be very distracting to the client.

Try to pay attention when filming to shadows. As you could end up covering your child’s face with your shadow.

Ideal lighting would be natural day light but we know self-tapes can often be very last minute and end up having to be filmed that evening. Just ensure the room is well lit at all times.

Unless stated otherwise always film the self-tape in one video as clients really don’t want to be receiving multiple videos of the same child…and to be honest they might not look at them all.

The best way to send over a self-tape is via wetransfer. This doesn’t compromise the quality of the video.

Hope this helps a little next time it comes to filming a self tape!

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