Let’s face it, the need for professional video recording equipment these days has never been lower. You can create professional videos with your own smartphone, at a fraction of the cost. So whether you want to create some new content for your YouTube channel or record a live event for promotional purposes, you can do an incredibly good job these days with your own phone.
Smartphones are the ultimate in low-cost yet good quality equipment, making video production accessible for all. While you might not be able to produce the most high-end professional video possible, you can still do an amazingly good job and create professional-looking video that most people will enjoy. Even professional videographers are using smartphone technology more and more to make their video content.
However, you still need to make sure you know what you’re doing when recording video with a smartphone. There’s a big difference between a well shot smartphone video and one that isn’t. In this article, we’re going to look at the 7 best tips to help make sure you get the most from your phone-shot video efforts, so that you can create videos your audience will love.
1. Stay horizontal
If there’s one thing that tells everyone you’ve shot your video on a phone—it’s filming vertically (as you’d normally hold your phone). If you’ve seen quick clips uploaded to the news of live events, you’ll have seen people make this mistake regularly.
While vertical video is fine when you’re making a video call—it doesn’t really work for filming video content. That’s because it is at odds with the aspect ratio and orientation of televisions and computer screens.
If you want to avoid those two black bars at the side of your video when viewed on a proper TV, film horizontally on your smartphone.
2. Don’t zoom
While smartphones are great for producing good quality video content these days, they still don’t have very powerful zooms. That’s because a professional camera will have a standalone optical zoom allowing quality to be maintained when zoomed in. Smart phones don’t have the space for this sort of zooming equipment, so will use digital zoom which reduces the quality of the picture when zoomed in.
Smart phones don’t have good zoom capabilities, so unless you have additional zooming equipment for your phone, avoid doing it where possible. Zooming on a smartphone without a standalone zoom will increase digital noise and reduce the quality of your footage, and it will make it obvious you didn’t use proper filming equipment.
3. Keep things steady
Professional video equipment will normally have stabilizers or other ways to make sure the picture stays steady. Phones don’t have this, and as they’re held by your hand, it can be hard to keep the picture steady. This will be another huge indicator to your viewers that you didn’t film with the right equipment unless you’re careful.
So in order to avoid an unsteady picture or distorted imagery, keep as steady as possible. Put your smartphone on a wall or something else if you aren’t filming a moving scene. If you’re on the move or don’t have something like a wall nearby, make sure you hold the phone with both hands to keep things as steady as possible. You can also purchase additional equipment like a stand for your smartphone if you want.
4. Lighting is important
Again, professional cameras will normally have their own lights to fill the scene with enough to get professional footage. Lighting is hugely important for the quality of your video, yet most smartphones don’t have particularly powerful lighting and what lighting they do have can drain the phone’s battery very quickly. So if you don’t have your own professional lighting equipment, consider shooting your footage outside during the daytime or at least somewhere that is very well lit.
5. Shoot from different angles
Instead of filming one continuous scene on your smartphone, you can make things seem a lot more professional by shooting smaller amounts of footage from different angles, like 10 second bursts, and then edit them all together at the end.
Shooting different bits of footage from different angles, like mixing dynamic shots with closeups and wider shots, can make your video a lot more engaging and a lot more professional.
6. Use editing software
Shooting your footage is one thing, but to create a really professional video, you might want to consider using editing software afterwards. That way you can add voiceovers, music, additional sounds and pick the best clips to edit together for the most engaging video possible. There’s plenty of free editing software available these days that can produce a professional video, as well as being reasonably easy to use for someone without much experience.
Your smartphone might not be great at picking up audio while filming, especially if the subject is at some distance, so adding sound after, especially voiceovers, can be a great idea. You can also add different graphics and text to your video to make it more informative for your viewers.
7. Record the best audio possible
As we’ve already mentioned, recording audio isn’t always that easy on a smartphone. Consider using a microphone or recording the audio separately and adding it to the video later. If you’re filming someone talking even at a medium distance, your smart phone will not be able to pick up what they’re saying very well. And remember, the audio for your video is just as important as the picture. Poorly recorded audio will put your viewers off, and they might not watch to the end or want to view any more of your videos.
Hopefully, you’ve now seen enough great tips to get started with your smartphone video production needs. Smartphone technology has come a long way in recent years, and they’ve made it much easier for normal people to create great quality video to share online. But there are still some limitations, so being aware of these will help you make the best video possible without expensive filming equipment. Use these tips to transform your smartphone videos and reach a bigger audience with your content.
Author Bio: Andrew Farron works for Fable Studios, a Creative-led boutique video and animation studio that creates tailored brand stories that endure in your audience’s mind. We combine your objectives with audience insights and inspired ideas to create unforgettable productions that tell the unique story of your brand.