Today’s technology has made it easier than ever to shoot professional video on your smartphone. Nearly all smartphones film in HD and most are able to capture video in 4K. When it comes to capturing spontaneous moments, don’t run to the car to grab your video camera bag, just reach in your back pocket!
Our friends at Motionpost, a Chicago-based video production company, created a guide to shooting professional video on your smartphone. We’re sharing their tips with you below!
1. Always shoot in landscape mode by turning your phone sideways. This is the most basic tip, since portrait mode gives you those ugly black borders in your final video clip.
2. Don’t let anything disrupt your video recording. Remember to set your phone to airplane mode before starting any video recording. If you receive a call or text in the middle of the video shooting process, it disrupts the recording as the screen will be blocked entirely while a call is incoming.
3. Use a tripod or steady yourself. Unlike professional cameras, smartphones do not come with a powerful video stabilization mechanism. For a video to look professional, make use of a tripod when recording videos with your smartphone.
There are great tripods for iPhones like Arkon iPhone tripod. A tripod may be more than essential for keeping your smartphone steady while shooting videos. If you don’t have a tripod, place your elbow on a desk or table to steady the phone.
4. Get your microphone close to your subject. A general rule for clear audio is to get your microphone as close to your subject as possible and shoot in a quiet environment.
Another option is to use an external microphone. You can plug a powered microphone, like the Sennheiser ME66, into an XLR microphone adapter, and it will send the audio from the microphone directly to your phone.
5. Ensure good lighting conditions. Good lighting conditions make drastic positive changes in the quality of your video. iPhones and other smartphones are very poor at shooting videos at low light conditions due to the hardware limitations compared to professional cameras. Position yourself facing a window to improve lighting.
6. Don’t use the zoom function. The zoom on your smartphone is digital zoom, not optical zoom, which is no good for detail or image quality. Using it will likely make your video look grainy.
7. Keep an eye on battery level. You need to make sure that your smartphone has enough juice. Plug it in if possible.
8. Avoid low storage space. Before starting the videography, you need to make sure that your smartphone has enough space to hold the video recording at 50/Mbps (mega bits). Otherwise, your video shooting process may get stopped halfway.
9. Use the exposure lock. The smartphone automatically focuses on the subject in your shot and adjusts to the proper amount of lighting your camera “lets in” (exposure). If you’re shooting a video with someone talking, the constant automatic adjustments can make the footage choppy. Use your Auto Exposure/ Auto Focus (AE/AF) lock feature by tapping on the screen and holding it until AE/AF box appears. Once it does, the focus is locked, and you can adjust exposure by dragging your finger up or down. Both keep the video looking consistently sharp.
10. Clean your camera lens regularly. Wiping dust or grease away with a microfiber cloth takes literally 10 seconds and doesn’t hurt to do so.