Self tape tip for actors
My TOP self-tape tip is to ditch the awful ring light. Ring lights are used in the medical profession to photo corpses not an actors casting self tape. The amount of actor I see boasting about this and that ring light! Did you ever hear the DOP (Director of Photography) on set yell out: “Hey shall we shoot the scene with a ring light??”
Flat and unnatural
Ring lights create a flat and unnatural look with, which might not be ideal for self-tape auditions. It may not provide the depth and dimension needed for a more professional and cinematic appearance. The awful ring catch lights in the eyes are a distraction. I know first hand that film and TV directors find it more than distracting. Consider using large soft, diffused lighting sources to achieve a more flattering and natural looking self-tape.
V loggers tend use a ring light for a quick take. Flat even lighting isn’t what actors are aiming for. Ring lights are not the best for an actors self-tape audition. AVOID if you are are wanting a pro lighting cinematic set up that the director will love.
Self-tape tip number 2
My next self tape tip would be on sound. Bad sound can kill any film. Your self-tape audition needs to have clear sound. The reader should be heard but the levels should be set at 60- 40 on you. Ideally have a separator recording device from the camera. Ideally use external recording equipment so you can adjust the levels accordingly. Nothing worse than bad sound!
Self-tape tip on readers
We all know that self tape readers come in all sorts of guises. we have The good the bad and the ugly. (a fab film reference). If you are stuck for a reader then get a friend to zoom in the lines of the other characters. Avoid recording all the characters dialogue on a recoding device and hope to get a natural reaction when filming. Casting directors hate this. There is a network of actors that on social media that would be more than happy you to read in person or read on a Zoom call.
Self-tape tip on backgrounds
Backgrounds should be just that! A simple clean background. Zero distractions. Avoid white as it’s harder to light and it looks pants! – it also creates awful shadows. Opt for a natural grey or blue. but I always opt for a sleek model grey backdrop on my self-tapes. I usually light my backdrop with 6/7 different lightning sources to give a clean cinematic lighting texture. It depends If i am shooting for a moody tv series or a light comedy scene. No two setups are the same.