Six Tips for Filming Your Video Audition

6 tips filming video audition

1. Space matters.

Filming on your school’s stage always looks great, but you can also film at home in a quiet and clutter-free space with a plain background. Make sure to turn off the air-conditioner, close the windows, and choose a quiet time of day for recording. We cannot tell you how many times the perfect audition video has been ruined by loud students out in the hallway or a lawnmower getting revved up outside a window. Don’t stand right up against the wall; even two feet of distance can make a big difference in how the video looks.

2. Lighting matters.

Lighting is extremely important in a video audition. If the casting director can’t see your facial expressions, there’s no way that she’s going to choose you. Natural light (like from a window) tends to look best, but if you can’t get natural light, try to get some work lights (like clamp lamps). Make sure to light your face from both the front and the sides to avoid shadows. You might want to recruit one of your lighting technician friends to help out!

Check out the college audition video below for solid examples of space and lighting. (We recommend searching for “musical theatre video auditions” on YouTube to see more examples!)

3. Sound matters.

Audio is the most important part of your video audition. We’ve seen video auditions where the lines have been inaudible because they’re too soft; too loud (causing all kinds of static); covered up by background noise; fading in and out at random intervals; and not even there because the microphone wasn’t turned on and no one noticed (yes, really). You can definitely use the built-in microphone on your device (like your iPhone), but even a small portable clip-on mic can have a big impact on sound quality. You can buy one like the Boya BY-M1 Microphone from Amazon for $19.95. Having an external mic will create clearer sound and eliminate background noise. Make sure to play around with mic placement beforehand. If the volume’s too loud, move the mic further down on your neckline (and vice versa if the volume’s too soft). Check your sound levels before all of your takes, and make sure that you’re louder than your accompaniment track if you’re doing a musical theatre audition.

4. The line of tape on the floor matters. (No, really.)

Stick a line of tape on the floor as your mark before you start filming. You always want to be standing on that line. It’s going to help you keep lighting, sound, and the camera consistent from shot-to-shot. Shoot a test first and then adjust your lighting/audio levels and camera angle. You want to have someone else shoot your audition video if at all possible (like a parent, sibling, friend, or teacher). Make sure to choose someone that you feel comfortable with! If at all possible, film using a tripod to keep the camera steady, and shoot in landscape from the waist up so we can see your body movements. (Don’t try doing anything artistic with the camera during video auditions. Do not zoom! Do not switch the angle! Just keep it steady!) Remember: you can just use your iPhone for your video audition. There’s no need to hire a professional videographer or invest in the latest cinematic technology. The iPhone’s always the way to go here!

5. Acting matters.

It’s hard to stay focused on the acting when you’re surrounded by film equipment. Remember your objectives and your tactics. Don’t get distracted! We recommend doing your slate in one shot, stopping the camera, and then doing your song or monologue in another shot. (If you’re doing a second song, start a brand-new shot for that as well.) Edit the shots together using iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, or another basic editing software like Shotcut.

6. Pressing SUBMIT matters.

Do you want to know the biggest challenge in filming a video audition? Pressing the SUBMIT button. If you’re like us, you’ll want to film a million takes of your audition song and then nit-pick every single moment until you decide that nothing you do will ever be good enough and drown yourself in a pint of chocolate ice cream while binge-watching Dance Moms. DON’T DO IT. Promise yourself that you’ll only film five takes of your audition song. That’s it. Then commit to choosing and submitting one of those takes no matter what.

We have accepted students who have filmed vertically on grainy low-resolution cameras and had bad lighting. If you’re talented, trust that we’ll see that spark in you! Don’t get caught up wondering if a note was slightly off or if you could have acted that one moment just a little bit better; we’d always rather receive an imperfect video than no video at all.

Once you've filmed your video audition, CLICK HERE to submit it to NTSA!

Posted on Oct 27, 2017 in Auditions  

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