Tips on shooting smartphone videos
Do you want to make high quality videos, without investing in a DSLR camera? Well, you can start by shooting videos on your smartphone. This is an easy guide on how to do this with some simple tips to get you started and make sure your videos look the best they can.
Turn on airplane mode
This is a very simple but very helpful tip to keep in mind when shooting videos on your phone. Although it won’t directly affect the quality of your video, it will prevent you from being distracted by calls or notifications, which could make you and the camera lens lose focus.
Chose the right orientation
Many articles about shooting videos on smartphones passionately insist that shooting horizontally is essential for a good video. They say that portrait mode makes the video look ‘amateur’. However, if you plan on uploading the video directly to social media like Instagram or Snapchat, then portrait mode could be more convenient, so don’t give into the pressure of some suggestions and do what works best for your video.
Maintain a level frame
Keep your shot level as much as possible while shooting videos, an easy way to achieve this is to turn on ‘gridlines’ on your smartphone’s camera before you film your video. This feature should be accessible on your camera app or your phone settings.
Avoid zoom on the phone
It’s always best to avoid a smartphone zoom, as they can reduce the quality of the image even if the camera is quite good. So instead, try moving closer to the subject of the video, or if need be, add a zoom effect in post production.
Audio is just as important as video
Unless you’re shooting a music video and just need to add a song over it, then audio is most likely very important to your video. There are a few ways to accomplish this. First of all, make sure you film your video in a quiet location. Stand and set up your phone near your subject so the phone’s microphone picks up their voice as clearly as possible.
If the quality of your phone’s audio still isn’t good enough, you can invest in a professional microphone and connect it your phone through an adapter. Otherwise, you can use a lay mic on a second phone and just use that one to record audio separately, but you would then need to sync the video with the audio clip while editing.
Pay attention to lighting
Lighting is important when shooting videos, regardless of your camera, but especially when shooting on a smartphone because typically the lens will be smaller and have smaller image sensors. So, it’s important to shoot in a well lit space to make sure your subject is clearly visible and avoid grainy areas in the footage.
You don’t want to over-light either! Overexposed spaces are just as bad as shadows in a video, so avoid pointing the camera directly at a light source. Phone cameras tend to be slow when reacting to light changes, making them more obvious in the footage. So try to keep your lighting as stable and steady as possible.
Control the focus
Smartphones can be quite effective at automatically focusing on the subject when shooting videos, but if you want your video to look professional, it might be best to manually control the focus. On most phones this will be done by just tapping on the focus point on your screen, then hold down the focus square to lock it in place. If the subject doesn’t move much, the focus should remain on them throughout the video.
Clean your lens
This may seem obvious, but most people would forget to check that their phone’s camera lens is clean before shooting videos. A dirty lens can result in a blurry, low quality video. So just grab a microfiber cloth, the same kind you’d use for your glasses or any camera lens, and give it a wipe before you start filming. It will make a noticeable difference!
As with shooting videos on any camera, for any platform, you need to thoroughly prepare beforehand. Check that you have all the equipment you need, like tripods, phone stands, additional microphones or lights. Read your script, shot list and storyboard to refresh your memory and know what you’re aiming for. Double check all locations and check in with your actors. Collect any props, costumes and make up the set and actors will need.
Before you start shooting it’s very important to charge your phone to full battery and make sure you have enough storage space, as video footage can take up a lot of space, especially when shooting videos in High Definition (HD).
As with any video production, the final stage of shooting videos is editing them. The amount of post production required fully depends on what your aiming for with this video, whether you need to add any effects, cutaways or music. Some videos may require almost no editing, whereas others could need hours of detailed work.
In either case, you can edit your video on your smartphone on an app. These all allow for basic editing like trimming, layering and even some effects. For something more advanced you may have to try a few different apps or transfer your video onto your computer to use editing software.
You can find some easy guides on free editing software here:
Video editing on your computer
Davinci Resolve – available for any computer.
Video editing on your phone
iMovie – available only on iOS.
YouCut – available on Android and iOS.
Audio editing on your computer
Audacity – available for Windows, macOS and Linux.
Audio editing on your phone
GarageBand – available for iPhones and iPads.
WavePad – available on any phone.
This information is from one of our articles on low budget filmmaking, which you can read here.
For more information about everything film, audio and video production, check out the rest of our blogs on the Nostairway website. And for any of your video production in London needs, contact us today for a chat and a free consultation to figure out how we can help you achieve your goal.