The humble selfie stick has a bad rap. The device, designed to help you take shots of yourself without the need of a willing passer by has been banned from museums, concerts and if you use one in public you’re bound to get a few smirks.
But don’t let that sway you. Selfie sticks aren’t just for selfies (and there’s nothing wrong with selfies). If you are on a budget and you want to do online video they are a wonderful and indespensible tool. Here’s why.
5 Reasons Why Selfie Sticks Rock
#1 – Use them like a tripod
I was in a hotel room somewhere in the west of Ireland when I decided to bite the bullet and broadcast my first live stream onPeriscope. It was a spur of the moment decision and I didn’t have my tripod with me so I balanced my phone on a pile of books. The result? Chins, lots and lots of chins. It was a while before I was brave enough to go live again.
It’s not just the chins, low angle shots are also bad for the viewer, they make you look like you are bearing down on them, it’s intimidating and can appear condescending.
So abandon your pile of books and get your selfie stick out. Extend it fully and lean it against a wall. The result? A steady eye level shot.
#2 – Banish the shakes
The longer you hold your phone out to record a shot the more it hurts, the pain creeps in gradually until you can’t ignore it anymore. The result, a wobble, a shake. Even before the pain start’s it’s hard to hold it steady. Selfie sticks can help. By holding the end of the stick close to your body you can stabalise the shot and remain shooting for much longer.
#3 – Wider shots
If you are shooting a selfie style video the size of the shot (and you in it) is limited by the length of your arm. This can work for a while but if you are shooting a longer video you’ll want to change up your shots to keep your audience interested. You’ll notice in the video above I intercut between two shot sizes. Your selfie stick lets you change up the size and angle of your shots giving you lots of choice when it comes to editing. Your only limit is the length of your stick.
#4 – Different angles
Selfie sticks allow you to take shots from different angles. High angle shots can represent vunrability. They’re also great for showing a process like crafting or cooking from above. Lower angle shots show dominance.
Playing with the visual language of video in this way can help you get your point accross more effectively than if you use words alone.
#5 – Moving shots
Walking and talking shots are dynamic and retain audience attention for longer. They show off your environment and the people in it. The selfie stick is a great tool for creating these kind of shots. Remember to keep the end of the selfie stick close to your body for maximum stability.
If you’ve been a selfie stick skeptic up until now I urge you to give one a try. They’re cheap and once you’ve discovered what you can do with them you’ll wonder why you didn’t get one sooner.