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Shooting great video with your mobile phone

Shooting great video with your mobile phone

If you think you don’t have the tools to make a good video, think again, then check your pocket.

If you own a current smartphone, then you already have a powerful video producer in your pocket. Today’s technology enables anyone to create amazing video, provided you understand the basics, take some time to test the waters and really listen to what your audience is telling you they want to hear from you.

If you are serious about creating video for your business and are really committed to doing so yourself, then you need to invest some time and a little bit of money into finding the right tools.  Your investment on both counts does not have to be excessive; truthfully, you’ll probably spend more time researching and testing apps than you will editing your video.

Get to know your settings

Every smartphone camera comes with the ability to choose between 720p, 1080p or 4K video. What’s the difference? Primarily – picture quality. 4K has the highest numbers of pixels per square inch and will give you the best quality video. It is also a space hog, so make sure you have enough space on your device to record and save the video. There is nothing worse than  nailing your content and having your phone either stop recording or notify you that there is inadequate space to save the file. A safe setting is 1080p/30fps (for Android users, that is FHD. Your 4K setting is UHD).

Get Steady

Shaky footage is never fun to watch.  You can easily correct that with my favourite smartphone tripod: the Gorilla Pod.  It’s small, flexible, affordable (under $30) and when used with the smartphone adaptor (under $20) can be set up virtually anywhere.  There are a wide variety of tripod for smartphones on the market. Just search on Amazon and read the reviews.

PS: Binder clips also make great mini tripods.  Just use two binder clips with your phone in landscape mode and you are ready to prop it up.  You can also set it up like this:


Light it up

Try to shoot with lots of natural light and face the source.  Open up the blinds and let the sun light up your face.  You can also use your lamps and overhead lighting. Pay attention to where the shadows fall on your face and adjust your lamps so that no shadows appear. Be careful when using ring lights since they can cause some weird and freaky effects inside the eyes.

Be heard

Okay, people. Tolerate my soapbox for a minute. There is no reason to have crappy audio. The market is saturated with inexpensive options to get clear audio, like this one. As Apple has done away with headphone jack, affordable wireless options are starting to appear on the market. A note of advice on the wireless options: if you plan to create video for mobile apps like Facebook, Youtube and Periscope, you need to know they do NOT accept Bluetooth microphones as an audio source. 

Video Editing

There are loads of free video editing apps in the app store and many of the paid apps are under $5.00. I’ll always maintain that desktop software (even cloud-based) is better and more robust for editing video, but if you want to edit on the go, I recommend FilmoraGo, Inshot, Kinemaster (all for iPhone and Android) and PowerDirector (for Android only). When you are investigating editing apps, pay attention to what the user reviews are saying. Some apps are free to download, but you need to make an in-app purchase in order to save your edited video to your phone. Test as many as you like until you find one with an interface that doesn’t scare or overwhelm you and can do exactly what you need it to do.

Great video is not impossible to DIY.  If you have the right tools and can invest some time and money, then you can set up your own little studio-on-the-go.