Hi friends! Today I’m starting a series where I will be sharing some of my tips on how to capture your lettering on video. The first part of this series will cover getting the right tools (spoiler alert: you need a tripod), and lighting. This post contains affiliate links, which provide no additional cost to you.
When I first started lettering I wasn’t even thinking about filming my pained attempts at creating letterforms. However, once I practiced, and practiced some more, and kept on practicing, I finally became confident enough in my ability to create a piece from start to finish while under the pressure of being filmed.
Well, my confidence was all fine and good, but I had absolutely no idea how to go about actually filming myself lettering. My first attempts were pretty awful. I mistakenly thought I could hold the phone with my left hand while I lettered with my right. Um, no. Don’t do this you guys. It turns out wobbly and isn’t fun for anyone to watch.
GET THE RIGHT TOOLS
So after that failed experiment I turned to my trusty friend Google who helped me find an inexpensive tripod. Let me stop here and share a little tidbit about me and my shopping habits – I’m kind of a cheapie. I will spend money on things that I deem important, but if I don’t see a clear value or if I’m not sure how often I’ll use it, then I won’t spend a lot of money on it. That led me to a really cheap (I think it was like $8) tripod. And boy did I get what I paid for. It barely held my phone (the legs would slide waaaay down under the weight of it) and didn’t really move in the way that I needed it to. So I ended up “splurging” (remember, I’m not a big spender) on a Joby GripTight GorillaPod Stand. HUGE improvement, y’all. The lesson here: a tripod is actually an important tool if you want to capture your lettering on video, so don’t just buy the cheapest thing you can find!
This is a fantastic starter tripod and is great for capturing your lettering up close and personal. It’s also a fantastic travel companion since it’s so small. You can see here that I brought it with me on vacation recently so I could take a lettering video with the sound of the ocean in the background.
But what if you want lettering videos where you have more of a birds eye view of everything you’re doing? Well, my friends, I have you covered there too. Let me note that you will have to pony up a pretty penny for this tripod, but boy oh boy is it worth it. My friend Dawn Nicole posted about the Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100 Aluminum Tripod Kit on her Facebook page one day and as soon as I saw it I knew that was the tripod of my dreams – the one that would take my videos to the next level. And it really has. What makes this tripod so great is the adjustable arm. You can move it so that it’s at a 90 degree angle and basically dangles your phone right over your workspace, meaning you don’t have to strategically move your hands around a tripod that’s in your way. I love this tripod so much and use it for most of the videos you see on my Instagram these days. (One thing to note if you get this guy, you’ll also need to grab a smart phone adapter if you want to use your phone to film.
GET THE RIGHT LIGHT
We all know that lighting is a pretty big deal if you want to stand out on social media. A poorly lit photo or video makes your lettering look dull and lifeless, whereas a bright photo or video can really make your lettering pop (and, strangely, will also hide imperfections in your lettering). Natural light is always your best option. But as a working mom, I totally get it that sometimes you can’t even sit down to your desk/kitchen table/couch/wherever to letter until well past the sun setting.
I actually take most of my lettering videos in a room with absolutely no natural lighting. To ensure I get a well lit video, I have 2 large pop up lights (these) on either side of my tripod, both pointed at my workspace to shine light on it. I’ve found that a white desk helps to give a nice bright appearance to my videos. If you don’t have a white desk, some foam board works just as well. I’ve gone through some trial and error with this setup, making small adjustments as I go. My suggestion is to play with your setup and see how different angles affect your shadows and overall lighting. Find what looks best to you, and if you don’t like the finished product, adjust it and try again.
Ready for part 2 of this series? Click here!
Have a specific question about capturing your lettering on video? Leave it in the comments, or better yet, join my Facebook lettering community The Letter Lovelies and hop in on the conversation we’ll be having about videos this week! It’s a free group with tons of lettering tips and advice from more than 1,000 letterers worldwide!
TOOLS TO CREATE YOUR NEXT LETTERING VIDEO