Self-Tape & Slate Tricks|Part II [Tech Talk & DIY studio]

I set out to find the best resources, and pricing to assist you with building a home studio!

A studio designed for Self-Taping will set you apart from the other contenders.

Our last article covered- ” Self-Tape & Slate Tips”

Tips on how to nail the foundations of a self-tape, check it out!

Today, we discuss my tips on building a DIY studio on a budget.

All with your Smartphone.

I personally use my Nikon DSLR for Taping. It was an investment, but it’s not 100% necessary with the growing quality on smartphone’s.

I wondered how to dress up a Smartphone for your self-taping studio.

Let’s Dive in to my tech finds!

  • BACKDROPS: $28 on Samy’s, buys you quality backdrop by Savage! Their backdrops come in tons of shades. Keep in mind that colors will affect your color balance. Neutral to gray backdrops will support the focus-YOU!

* Keep your backdrop rolled up until it’s time to tape. Use adhesive tape and tacks to create a smooth surface! savage_blog

2. ADD-ON’S for your Smartphone: 

  • AUDIO: I recommend a Lavalier Microphone with an extended cord for self-taping. This one here has great quality, and affordable. Remember these tools are an investment in your career! A quality tape will ensure to showcase your best work.  These tapes are often viewed on smartphone’s of Casting Agents, Assistants. Screened, possibly then passed upwards. Being proactive will ensure to eliminate the tech factors that could work against you. It’s more than a single tape or audition. *This is your work. mic_blog
  • QUALITY LENS: Just because you’re filming with your Smartphone, doesn’t mean it should look that way! A lens-kit for your phone will enhance the quality, dramatically! The last article outlined framing your shot etc. Check out this kit I swear by:  *Tip: Make sure to lock in your brightness setting during prep as you focus your lighting. Once this is done. You can pre-set in tapes to come.camkix_blog


  • TRIPOD: I found this tripod below by Arkon to be flexible, inexpensive, and effortless. While it may be 11″,  for my table set up it’s done wonders. If you are loving anything taller- reach out on Social Media @AmandaKiener- I’d love to hear from you!tripod_blog
  • LIGHTING: While daylight is always a great, free resource for main lighting. Remember we are three dimensional, and need to sculpt our figure using three-point lighting. The last article shared tips for framing:
  • Essentially, A touch above your head to a cut off at your underarm level.
  • Center yourself.
  • A medium close-up.
  • *Unless a full body slate is requested.
  • Camera at eye level.
  • Your eyes will focus at the side of your camera.
  • *I suggest using either a “Short” lighting technique or “Broad” for self taping.
  • It will bring viewers to focus on your face for the taping.
  • *You can use a white reflector as your fill light in these techniques.
  • First, let’s show a quick reminder of general lighting-lighting example_blog
  • 3 POINT LIGHTING CHART – Thank you!

Some tips to showcase your eyes & hair:

  1. For your Main “Key” Light: Start high at first, when focusing. Use a friend to assist the first time around. Lower your Softbox until your eyes: “Pop”.
  2. Tips to showcase the detail & dimension of your hair:
  • Dark Hair: Adjust your Rim light a stop more than your main light for dimension.
  • [ If you cannot adjust, pull light closer for intensity.]
  • Light Hair: Adjust your Rim light a stop less than your main light for dimension.
  • [ If you cannot adjust, pull light a tad further to preserve definition & details ]

Affordable Softbox Sets & white reflector choices below:




Most Reflectors will come in a set like this: I suggest using the white one for fill lighting.

Don’t forget a stand! *I taped mine in a pre-set corner for my own set-up.

Any brands you’re loving- you know the drill! @sebrabohn

My final take-away’s:

  1.  Grab a friend to help you adjust your lighting, one piece at a time.
  2.  Take pictures in your phone of this pre-set for self-taping in the future.
  3.  Tip for Exporting: Find a *free program or invest. With the capability to condense your tape below 10mb in the export function. This way it can be sent quickly via E-mail. *Avoid ads with hosting an Unlisted video on Youtube. Time is money.

For about $150-$200– You can build: A Self-Tape home Studio for future taping!

Showcase yourself in a quality setting. Placing the focus on your technique. Book the gig, without any tech factors counting against you.

Invest in your future.





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