What to wear on filming day

Posted on 20th August 2021

Clothing is one of the most important elements of a successful scene, therefore it is key to know what to wear on filming day.

A poorly selected outfit won’t make for a comfortable experience, it may cause for the sound to be unusable, or perhaps, the worst offender, you’ll get a visit from the unsightly “Moire pattern” (Mwa-rei).

Looking comfortable on camera is embodied by feeling comfortable on camera, the difference is in the fit.

Notice that a suit limits your movements, particularly under your arms. It’d be unwise to throw on a blazer for an energetic shoot, unless it’s properly tailored or you’re already used to the range of movement you have in it.

For this reason, notice the difference in how you feel and act when wearing newer clothes in your wardrobe compared to older, ‘broken in’ garments. It usually takes a while to get used to the feeling of a new fit!

Consider whether your choice of outfit could make you a bit self-conscious.

Whereas there is a solid comfort in that old t-shirt, we can draw a compromise between the function of the video, how you want to be portrayed and the necessity for comfort.

Context is always important. Therefore, find the sweet spot between the purpose of the video, how you would like to appear in it and what fits you feel comfortable wearing.

Unfortunately, you can’t fix rigid movement in post.

A bad influence perhaps, this advice is sound justification for some new threads.

a man in jeans shows off his dashing boots, he is clearly very comfortable in his attire

Another consideration when choosing what to wear on filming day is, believe it or not, sound.

Anything that makes noise will be picked up by a microphone.
A unidirectional microphone (one direction of capture), like a lapel mic, can fix this problem somewhat.

However, you would be riding on luck for the perfect fix. If you desire polished audio, say, for a corporate advert, getting it right from the foundation is your best shot.

Items like noisy jewellery, lanyards, and perhaps surprisingly, hair (!) can irritate lapel microphones. So make sure that there are no obstructions.

If you do find yourself with botched audio, there is hope in something called…

Noise gates

Noise gates can be found in almost any Digital Audio Workstation like Logic or Ableton. They can be set up to lower the volume of audio when a level threshold is hit, this means that it will cut out all the parts of the audio that aren’t loud enough, leaving only the voice.

Like any tool, it will take some tweaking to get it to sound natural, try setting it to lower the volume only slightly, so that the viewer doesn’t notice the lack of background noise like birds and traffic.

Some noise gates also have a frequency feature, so that you can gauge out certain frequencies (like the frequency of hair on a microphone for example), without affecting the sound of the voice.

a girl with lots or wrist jewellery holds up a set of keys, it shows a busy pattern on her shirt that could clash with the shot

Finally, the grossest example with the most alluring name:

The Moire Pattern

Most digital cameras use a type of scanning that causes small, repeating patterns like the fabric of a jacket or a tie, to appear nauseatingly sharp. So when choosing what to wear on filming day, try to steer clear of busy patterns.

Ultimately, we want to avoid something called Moire Pattern. The Moire effect is an optical illusion, which can be difficult to monitor on smaller screens such as the ones on a camera monitor.

A videographer’s tips and tricks to deal with Moire patterns

From the video maker point of view, it’s best to put our best foot forward and always monitor at 100% size whenever possible. If you suspect a Moire creeping in, check with a test shot and watch on a large screen.

One thing to bear in mind is that, unfortunately, zooming in on the camera monitor alone can often create a moire effect. This is due to resampling.

The greatest defence is to move a few inches away from the subject and refocus. This should capture the texture more realistically.

If moving away from the subject is not an option, because of space constraints, you can try adjusting the angle of the camera, and refocus onto an area away from the suspected culprit.

Always double-check!

If during the edit, you still find yourself with the headache of moire, there is hope. It can be tamed with a slight gaussian blur specifically around the affected area.

It’s worth triple checking in the ‘help’ panel of your editing software whether it has specific moire eliminating tool!

in a video editing application, a young man with a moire pattern on his blazer smirks at the camera