Teaching Tips

5 Easy Ways to Level Up Your Video Skills

"There's no reason a video shot on your smartphone can't be sophisticated," says Nel Shelby, dance videographer. Photo by Chris Duggan, courtesy of Shelby

There's no reason an audition video shot on your smartphone can't be sophisticated, says dance videographer Nel Shelby. Use her suggestions to give your video an air of professionalism.


Hold your phone horizontally.

"Holding it vertically will make the video look smaller," says Shelby. "Horizontally, it will fit the screen if you're watching it on Vimeo or YouTube."

Keep your phone steady.

"Either have a friend film it and brace themselves while they hold the phone, or get a really cheap clamp and tripod on Amazon," she says.

Be conscious of your backdrop.

"Try not to have a busy background, or a lamp in the background," she says. "A white wall is good, or a one-color wall."

Think about your lighting.

"These days, people know a little more about what backlighting is, where it looks like you're in the dark," says Shelby. "Make sure there's light coming toward you, so that you're lit from the front or side."

Don't forget about sound.

If you have music play in the video as you film it, make sure the music is close enough to your phone to give you good audio, so it doesn't sound "super room-y." If you're comfortable with iMovie or an editing app, it's easy to layer in your music after filming. "Just make sure the music is synched up," Shelby says, "or they'll think you don't have good musicality."

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