How to Film Yourself Peter McKinnon Style

Under mounting pressure from my peers and the industry at large, I finally tried getting into video creation. While filming myself in my first video ever (an unboxing), I ran into a whole slew of issues. How should I mount my camera? Where do I place it? Why does this look so gosh diddly darn boring? To say I struggled would be an understatement. To say I gave up would be spot on. But maybe it was for the best, because two days later, Toronto-based Photographer and Cinematographer Peter McKinnon came out with all the answers to my problems — well, my technical and inspirational ones. The rest I'm still working on.

McKinnon kept getting asked: "How do you film yourself when there isn't anyone else around to help you?" So, he did what any good cinematographer would do: he knocked out a video discussing the three major points he considers when filming himself.

The Gear

I know, I know, you've heard us say it a bunch of times, "the gear doesn't matter." And it's true... ish. But maybe it's more accurate to say, "you can always make do", because when you don't have any friends around to lend you a helping hand, it sure doesn't hurt to have some handy dandy tools in your kit. In this video, McKinnon lists a Joby Tripod, Joby Smartphone Grip, Manfrotto Friction Arm with Super Clamp, and a GoPro as some of his go-to gear when it comes to filming himself. For me, that friction arm would have solved my first hurdle, while McKinnon's second and third points in the video make short work of my other issues. I have no doubt that they can help you too.

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Allen Reid's picture

I"m a big fan of McKinnon's...the time and effort he puts into shooting and editing really shows. I left a comment on this video a few days ago...I wish he would have set up a gopro or another camera in the room to actually show him shooting these shots, a little more behind the scenes of how he creates.

Kenn Tam's picture

Me too Allen. But like you said, he already puts so much time and effort into his work. Mckinnon and I are in the same neck of the woods, so maybe I'll pester him until he let's me shoot some BTS footage one day. :P

16mm Camera's picture

Is that why you always post his content? Some backdoor deal?