Tips for shooting great video with your smartphone

Thanks to smartphones, recording video has never been so easy and phone videos are everywhere. There are a lot of little things you can do to make sure the video you shoot with your smartphone is something worth watching — whether those moments are funny, touching, stupid, or downright shocking. So here’s a starter guide to help make sure you’re shooting the best video your smartphone allows.

Clean the lens

It sounds silly and simple, but this is always a great place to start. It’s the equivalent of remembering to take the lens cap off of a camera. It’s something so obvious that it’s often easy to forget. Before you shoot any video with your smartphone, make sure the camera’s view isn’t obstructed, and give it a quick swab. Moistened cleaning wipes are the best for this job, but a quick breath and your shirt will do the trick, too.

Positioning

Nothing ruins great footage like having two black vertical bars along both sides of your video. To avoid this amateur mistake, make sure to use landscape orientation and not portrait orientation while recording. Not only does landscape make your video seem more aesthetically pleasing in general, it’ll also make it more enjoyable to watch when viewed on a widescreen or television. Plus, you’ll capture more in the actual video. Vast majority of smartphone videos are recorded vertically, bad habit. So just remember: never hold your phone vertically while recording, unless you really like or want those vertical black bars included. If you already have a vertical video, watch what can be done about it.

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Zoom

Digital zoom is gross – just ask any professional photographer. Most smartphones unfortunately feature digital zooms, which are just software tricks that’ll make your subject appear closer and with lots of pixelation. In order to zoom in while recording without losing the crisp, vivid quality you desire in videos, you’ll have to get closer to your object. In general, you should always get as close as you can, especially for tight shots on faces. Let us see those freckles and fine lines.

Audio

Listen for background noise in the location in which you plan to shoot. Even subtle sounds, such as air conditioning, traffic, a TV or conversation in an adjacent room, can prove distracting. Turn off those noisemakers you can control, minimizing the impact of audio “clutter.” Try to stay as close as you can to the source of the audio, you want to record with your footage. When you record a proposal across a room full of people, chances are you will record a lot of murmur of all those people and the speech will be mostly masked by the noise. If you have noisy audio, read about our audio enhancement service and let us help you clarify audio.

Steady shot

Phone videos tend to be shaky, as typically they are handheld. Try to mount your phone on a tripod if you can to minimize shakiness. When you make any movement, it can translate either to jumpy motion, noise or both. At times, when you can’t use a tripod, try to hold the phone with both hands and rest your elbows to something to minimize any movement. Smartphone videos often need stabilization during the editing.

Focus

Make sure the camera is in focus. The focus should be on the object or person, you are recording. Have you noticed? After you start recording, someone walks into the picture, but the camera is already focused in on something else, and the person walking into the picture might appear blurry.

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