6 Tips To Making Better Videos With your Smart Phone

Hiring professional video production for your company video may not always be “in the budget”.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t create “watchable” and high-quality video content for your website, blog or internal communications. Most of us hold in our hands the power to create impactful video, without investing a lot of money or time.  Here are some tips to get started making great videos with JUST your phone. As an exercise, we created one ourselves and will reference this video in the content below.   Any resources that we’ve used will be shared below.  This video was shot on an iPhone 6+ and edited together with Apple Final Cut Pro X.  We did not use any animation software, color correction, or any other post-production tools.  We simply copied the video clips from the phone to the computer, dropped in a little song track below the footage and shared the video to Youtube right from the video-editing software.  You, too, can do this with your smart phone whether you’re on a Droid or Apple Platform and whether you edit on a Mac or a PC.  Watch the video here and then see the tips below… 1- HOLD it horizontal Hold or mount the phone in the landscape or horizontal position.  Vertical Video SCREAMS AMATEUR.  Capturing a video on your phone is different than capturing a photograph.  If you need a 3 minute break and want a great laugh, this video clearly illustrates this point! “Say NO to Vertical Video” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bt9zSfinwFA 2 - LIGHT it well Have you ever shopped for something online, perhaps on Craigslist, and moved along because the pictures were terrible?  I shop on Craigslist all the time and it drives me CRAZY when people try to sell things but you can’t see anything in the pictures because they are too dark or the subjects are lit from behind.  The same goes true with video.  If you are capturing video on a phone, think about positioning yourself with the camera so that the subject is lit well.  This DOES NOT mean you have to invest in expensive video lighting.  A large window or plenty of room lighting is sufficient.  Just position the camera so that the light source is at YOUR back and not at the SUBJECT’s back.  This will prevent silhouette lighting. In the barber shop video, we had a large outdoor window at our back which filled the room with soft lighting.  Be mindful of the KIND of light that is coming in as well.  If it had been a REALLY bright sunny day, with daylight streaming in, we may have wanted to film further back in the store.  Try to avoid light that has too much contrast.  Even lighting is best. 3 - FOCUS on your subject Who wants to watch blurry video?  Most smart-phones allow you to touch the screen to acquire focus.  Tap the screen on your subject’s face and make sure the camera/phone focuses on the face before recording a clip.

4 - STEADY the camera/phone Do you get motion sick?  My wife does.  I normally have a good stomach but I get sick when I see video that is too shaky.  Some of the newer smart phones (like my iPhone 6+) have built in image stabilization.  Even if your phone doesn’t have that feature there are a lot of ways to stabilize it so the video is steady.  One idea is to use a selfie stick, or mount the top portion of a selfie stick to a tripod for very stable shots.  We like this product (see the link) that allows you to securely mount your phone on top of a standard photography tripod. (Verify the size of your phone before purchasing this product. This Sidekick Plus is for larger phones like the iphone 6+) Perhaps you’re not ready to invest in a selfie stick (or you forget to bring it along!).  With the camera/phone in hand, rest your elbows or wrists on the back of the chair in front of you to keep them steady.  Even resting your elbows on your knees will make the video more steady than it would have been otherwise.

5 - Record clear audio In professional video, 50-80% of the production value is in the quality of the audio recording.  The microphone in your phone will capture all of the noise in the room and will not isolate itself to the speaking voice.   An external lavaliere microphone will drastically improve the quality of your audio capture.  If no external microphone is available or you don’t have time to purchase one before you record, try to minimize the background audio as much as possible.  We like this microphone from Rode.  You’ll be amazed at how much better your interview audio sounds through one of these! This is the same microphone that we used in the Barber Shop video.  You can hear the audio coming from whoever is wearing the mic, is much clearer and has very little background noise. 6 - Shoot SHORT clips We are inundated with thousands of marketing messages on a daily basis.  Help your viewers by keeping your videos short and to the point. Record short clips, not long lengths of footage.  Allow one second at the beginning of your clip before you start speaking, and one second at the end before you stop the video.  This will make editing the final video together more seamless.  The camera app inside the iPhone allows you to trim clips right on your phone and edit them together using the free included iMovie software.  If you’re using a Droid phone and/or the Windows platform, you can download clips to your computer and use Windows Movie Maker to edit the clips together.  In either case, most low-cost or free-included video editing software will allow you to SHARE your video with Youtube or Vimeo.  If you’ve shot concise clips at capture, your edit will go quickly and you’ll be sharing your video with your audience in moments. If you have any other questions about this post, or have a suggestion for a future post, please send us a note or comment.  This blog is for YOU.  We’d appreciate your feedback and are happy to create content that will help you.  Please subscribe and stay engaged with us.  The Picture Time blog exists to HELP businesses tell better stories about WHY they do what they do, empowering them to increase their IMPACT.
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