Self Tape Tips

Here are a few tips for creating a successful self tape to submit to your instructors or casting directors.

Chances are, if you own a DSLR or Camcorder, you know how to record a video. However, with the technology of smart phones these days, recording a successful self tape is right at your finger tips.

Tip: Make sure you always shoot horizontally (especially on a phone or tablet)

There are many options out there for editing software. It’s important to learn one of these programs to help make your self tapes stand out. You want to be able to cut right to the action of the scene and eliminate any pre or post audition moments.

iMovie is perhaps the easiest for beginners to use. This program generally comes with any apple computer or iphone purchase. You may already have the power of editing right in your back pocket!

Final Cut and Adobe Premiere kicks things up a notch for those looking to take their self tapes to the next level. You have more control over sound and color correction. However, these programs come with a price tag that may not be advantageous to actors just starting out.
Tip: Final Cut is a one time purchase whereas Adobe Premiere is a month to month membership. 

Don’t have any of the above?! No worries! There are also some great online editing programs free for you to use. Here is just one that we recommend: Clip Champ.

If you’re wanting to do everything from your smartphone, check out these Editing Software Top Picks from 2019 for iPhone and Android.

Note: Top Actor has no affiliation with any of the above software. They are merely references.

You need to be seen! A good lighting set-up can help you stand out in your self tape.

There are many lights sources you can use to fit your budget. Want free? Choose mother nature: the sun! Tip: tape in front of a window that gets ample natural light. A white transparent curtain can help diffuse the light and produce a nice soft light. Also, make sure the window is in FRONT of you, not behind you.

The problem with the sun? It sets. That’s when we gear up with some artificial light. On a budget? Find some lamps laying around the house. White lamp shades work best as they don’t discolor the light source hitting your face.

If you have a budget, check out ring lights (especially for smartphones) and other basic lighting set ups with a quick google search for “lighting equipment”.

Tip: Three Point Lighting is a basic lighting set up that works great for self tapes.