How should I shoot monologues, standup pieces?

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    • #37659

      Hi all,

      I am working on a project which will center around me reciting monologues, telling stories and generally ad-libbing to the camera. I’m looking for some advice on production techniques that will keep the visuals fresh and engaging as it will just be me in the picture, probably against an infinity curve for up to 5 minutes at a time.

      What can I do to make the video interesting enough that people stay engaged visually while listening to my material?

      I’ll be shooting this in my small apartment with a simple shotgun mic and a digital video camera, nothing fancy, but I am hoping I can create something that looks professional and polished.

      Many thanks


    • #166935

      If it is the message, IMHO you do not have to worry about making “the visuals fresh and engaging” because it would appear that your primary desire is to deliver compelling stories and/or ad-libbing. If it were me I’d be concerned about distracting the viewer/listener from the message by incorporating “fresh and engaging” visuals.

      That being said: change positions – standing, sitting comfortably, leaning into, or away from, the camera, shifting gears with the pacing of your delivery, using props, support visual materials you have at hand to hold up and show, animated facial expressions, actually stopping and taking a moment to sip from a cup or glass.

      Invest your personality into it – something a bit more compelling than, say the late Mr. Rogers or Captain Kangaroo. But perhaps less manic than PeeWee Herman. πŸ™‚

      Of course, ever-changing backgrounds ranging from the hypno-cycle thingy, to Outer Limits effects, lava lamp style backgrounds, etc. if they happen to support your material/content might be in order.

      I’d go for the personality and personal delivery more than a distracting background environment, however. Especially if you intend to go to the web with this, making that ever-changing background a serious challenge to good compression schemes.

      A static, high-quality background, over-the-shoulder and high-tech background environment might come off professional, but then your message, again IMHO, would have to meet up to the visual expectations you’ve established and you probably could not afford to come off too casual.

    • #166936
      AvatarGrinner Hester

      You can shoot it once with two cameras (one wide and one tight) or shoot it twice with one camera (once tight and onnce wide).

    • #166937

      Thanks guys, while I was checking out video camera reviews I cam across this static piece that I thought worked quite well from a color and general ‘eye interest’ level. Composition could have been better though…

    • #166938

      Background pattern on the wall WAY too busy and distracting.

    • #166939

      “Background pattern on the wall WAY too busy and distracting.”


      I believe the word you’re hinting at is ‘hideous’.

    • #166940
      AvatarGrinner Hester

      the moral:

      when hanging wallpaper in an italian food eatery,line upthe dadgun patern already.

    • #166941

      I agree with EarlC and Grinner….

      I like the shoot it twice with one camera approach. Try setting the camera off to one side while still looking ahead. Use this angle to cut away from the front view. This will create the illusion of a second camera. Even more, if you want, dont look at the camera when it is at the second angle. This will create a little ease for the audience (they are not being looked at the whole time). And feel free to add some flair to the second angle(if your not looking directly into it). Add some tone or go Black and White with that angle. It changes it up but keeps it from being too distracting.

      This is a common approach to a project of this sort. It has not been overdone yet, so I say go for it.

      Add in some “cutaways” like showing something that pertains to what you are talking about or some extreme close-ups of your hands or feet(during an action-putting in pocket, expressing). These cut aways can be shot at any time and depending on your original angle you may not need to worry about continuity.

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