Show your selfie: Creating great selfie videos
Laura Estrella Bowyer
Senior Solutions Designer
We live in an era where we can tell our stories as never before. Apart from telling our story, we can now be part of it.
Episode 1: What a selfie video is and how we are using them out there
Nowadays, we’re very familiar with selfie videos. They have been the protagonists primarily in social media. People sharing their top tips and recommendations about a range of things such as travelling, where to eat, what to do, what not to do etc. They have been used for tutorials for so many years, particularly for software and technical skills, but there is a whole collection of subjects currently: cooking, languages, history, dancing, coding, designing, fixing things, etc. People also like telling you their story, their testimony about something and send their message out there. More recently, selfie videos have been used for challenges, such as fundraising campaigns, awareness campaigns, dancing competitions, singing competitions, etc. Challenges have contributed to massive organic distribution and to make a certain topics viral.
The magic of selfie videos is that anyone with a mobile phone can create one and anyone with an Internet connection can share it with the world. Something very contrasting between selfie videos and high-end production is that the viewer focuses more on the content and the message rather than in the resolution, filters or special effect. Nobody expects the highest visual resolution, in fact, one of the appealing characteristics of selfie videos recorded with a mobile is that it makes it very real, very human and very accessible. It shows the world as it is. The real world is already interesting and it’s not always necessary to recreate reality when reality is already there. The focus on selfie videos is on the message.
Selfie videos are a new format without a single owner. It’s a new format created for everyone and by everyone, all of us, together.
Episode 2: How can we use selfie videos in learning
The question now is: How can we use selfie videos in our learning solutions?
Real human stories resonate with people. Audiences are used to consuming content in many different ways during their free time and at work. Selfie videos are a contemporary form of human storytelling. Selfie videos engage audiences at a deeper level and when your audience identifies themselves with the stories, the stories become meaningful. If stories are meaningful, they become memorable, they leave their mark and that’s when learning happens.
We can use selfie videos to tell our stories, to share our top tips, to give our recommendations, to explain how to do something or to simply share our opinion with the world.
Whether you want to tell a real story or a dramatized story from a script, design is always key. You message need to tackle the points that you want to cover and if your video is for learning, it needs to tackle your LO.
Selfie videos are also a great tool for DIY. Why? Because after you tell them your story, you can invite your audience to create their own. Think about the success of challenges online. Let’s create a pool of meaningful, practical and real learning resources together.
Episode 3: The benefits of using selfie videos
There is nothing more valuable that creating a real connection through your story. The success of the selfie video trend is that it’s a very contemporary approach that we can all use. We just need a mobile and a message or a story to tell. It can be as simple or as complex as we want to. It adapts well to guerrilla filmmaking in which you can use anything that is available and don’t need to wait for massive budgets or expensive equipment to produce.
Another very interesting characteristic is that selfie videos image resolution varies widely. Audiences accept this variation as part of the format. Some of them can be low resolution for quick and easy transfer and other times the resolution can be high depending on the camera used and the purpose of it. There are no restrictions in this format. The important thing is to get your message across and to reach the people you want to reach and connect with them.
One of the greatest benefits we’ve seen is that filming can happen remotely and a full video production crew is not always needed. On the other hand, if your selfie video is for learning, designers become an essential part. We can help you design the structure of your story for learning purposes.
Episode 4: Top tips for designing selfie videos
First of all, think about the purpose of the selfie video that you want to create. Now think about the length. As a rule, for length, less is more. For quality of message, the higher the better. If the length is longer than 1 or 2 mins, think about breaking down your message into separate logical clear parts and create a miniseries of selfie videos, rather than a long stand-alone selfie video. The great thing about creating a series is that they can be published or shared separately and work as a campaign, something to consume little by little or in one go.
Think about the style and your contributors. Who is going to speak? Are they going to tell their own story or is someone else going to tell their story? In terms of location, think about where your contributors are based and what devices they are going to use. Brief them and make sure you support them all the way so that their selfie videos are on the spot.
Designing a selfie video for learning requires the same mechanisms required for high-end production as their purposes are the same. The biggest advantage is that selfie videos are more flexible and are a more democratised way of filming and open opportunities for more people to tell and share their stories, no matter where they are and what devices they have.
Episode 5: Top tips for recording selfie videos
This is the most fun part of it: Light, camera, action!
Relax and be yourself. Look at the camera but don’t try to stare at it. It’s the equivalent to stare at somebody’s eyes without blinking and we know that feeling. Audiences want to see you, hear a real story from a real person. There are no rights or wrongs, just explain with your own words the point that you want to share. Ensure you are speaking clearly. Don’t use unnecessary words. Go to the point. Feel relax, breath and speak as if you were talking to a friend.
In terms of filming, face the natural light, not the sun. This can be in front of a window so that your face get enough light, but not as strong as direct sunlight. Try to position your mobile at an arm distance so that it gives the impression of being a selfie video. You can hold it if you decide to walk as you speak, but you can also place your device on a surface so that the picture doesn’t move.
Try not to distract your audience with your background unless it supports your story. The focus of the selfie video is you. If you are planning to use actors to tell someone else’s story, prepare a brief and organise a catch up between them and the authors of the stories so that this comes across genuinely.
Remember, stories need to be human, real and told by everyone and for everyone.
Happy selfieing everyone!