8 Easy tricks to shoot better videos with your mobile phone
Shooting quality video with your mobile phone has never been easier. If one of your dreams is to get into video on demand, you're in luck, you're living in a golden age to make that dream come true.
Does this mean that we can all shoot professional videos with our mobile phones? Yes and no.
The first thing you need is a quality smartphone, you don't need to invest a lot of money, but you do need a mobile phone with a good camera.
All mobile phones get better picture quality if you shoot outdoors during the day, so if, for example, you create yoga videos in your garden, a medium quality smartphone will be more than enough.
If you want higher quality videos indoors, it might be a good idea to invest in a 4K phone.
What else do I need besides a good device?
Eager to learn and improve, these tips for shooting better videos with your phone are very effective and will improve your video quality in a matter of minutes, but practice makes perfect. The more time you put into video recording and the more passion you put into what you do, the better videos you will get:
8 Easy tips to shoot better videos with your mobile phone
Use a tripod to shoot better videos with your phone
Although it is a simple trick, it is also one of the most effective.
You can buy cheap tripods on the internet or in electronics and photography shops. It is very important to have a smartphone adapter, as most tripods are designed to work with cameras. If you buy a model without an adapter you can get the part separately in the same type of shops.
Shooting video with a tripod does not guarantee a perfect result, but you will always get a more stable image than shooting "handheld" or leaving your phone on a table or other surface.
To get the best result, place your phone on the tripod so that you create the frame you want, then do short tests where you stand in front of the camera simulating your video on demand.
This way you make sure you are in the centre and in good focus. Once you're happy with the test, you can start shooting your final video, confident that it will be perfect!
Zoom in to get a close-up (instead of zooming in)
Zooming in for a close-up is very tempting. However, you should be aware that this option enlarges the image by decreasing the pixels, resulting in a pixelated and lower quality image.
Ideally, zoom in to record close-up shots. If you have followed the above advice you will only have to move the tripod each time.
To make this more convenient, you can record the video twice, once with the phone farther away and once closer, and then intersperse different video clips in the montage.
Another option is to have two mobile phones recording at the same time, and then intercut both video clips. In this option, both mobile phones should have similar cameras, so that the final result does not show differences in the quality of the recording.
Important: Whichever option you choose, you should always focus the camera before you start recording. If you move the phone, you must focus again when you change position. We tell you how to do this in tip number 4.
Get the right lighting
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, natural light achieves excellent results even with mediocre cameras. Whenever you can use it, it will be your best ally.
What happens when you can't?
The most important thing to bear in mind is that a mobile phone flash is not a good idea, as it creates a spotlight effect on the face that is also harmful to the eyes.
The ideal is to have an overhead light, and two auxiliary lights, one on each side with a lower intensity on one of them to respect the volumes of the face.
You can find very cheap lighting kits on the internet and in specialised shops, although if you are very handy you can also create a homemade kit.
Use manual focus to avoid mishaps
Both mobile phones and digital cameras are set up to automatically focus the image. In most cases, this is ideal for taking a quick photo but not for recording a professional video.
By leaving all the work of focusing to the mobile phone, we risk the image becoming blurred in the middle of recording, ruining the video and having to re-record, this time in frustration.
Most smartphones allow you to focus by touching the screen where you want to put the spotlight. You can help someone else, either to focus on you, or to stand where you want to record and act as a model, so that you can calculate the focus and then stand where your model is now.
Some smartphones include a full manual focus option, where you can select the level of focus and exposure you want for your photos using a convenient little wheel.
Use an external microphone for better audio
While the latest generation of mobile phones have microphones that will produce excellent quality audio, they are not always enough to get the professional results you want.
Our advice is to use a lavalier microphone, as its small size will go unnoticed in front of the camera and you will hardly notice that you are wearing it. The only prerequisite for using it is that the microphone connector fits the one on your mobile phone (and you could still use an adapter if this is not the case).
A few weeks ago, we prepared a complete guide to improve the audio of your videos with little effort, you can find it by clicking on this link.
Always use the main camera and record at full resolution
As we saw in our article How to lose your fear of the camera when recording your on-demand videos, seeing yourself while recording gives you peace of mind and confidence.
Unfortunately, the front-facing cameras on most smartphones are still not high enough quality for us to recommend using them.
Instead, use your phone's main camera (the rear camera) and use it at full resolution.
This may seem obvious, but nowadays very few people know how to calibrate the image values when shooting video with their mobile phone. If you are curious, just go to the "Settings" section of the camera. This will usually appear when you click on a three-dashed icon at the top right of the screen while recording, although it will of course depend on your phone model.
Recording in landscape mode will result in a more attractive image
Although portrait mode has become very fashionable nowadays for watching videos on mobile phones, the truth is that most on-demand videos are watched on larger screens such as computers, tablets and even televisions.
Most people who subscribe to a streaming video channel do so with the aim of learning what you want to teach and for that, the ideal is to choose the horizontal format that is more attractive and comfortable for the viewer.
On the other hand, it will allow you to keep on screen a multitude of elements that you may need, for example the material to be used. At the same time, you will also find it very easy to record yourself full body in an infinite number of postures, which is ideal for on-demand video channels on fitness or yoga.
Practice until you get the perfect video with your mobile phone
It's a tip we always give you at PLAYBAK, and we do it because it really is the master tip that makes all the difference. Only by practising will you go from creating frustrating videos that don't look like what you have in mind, to achieving amazing work that even you will be surprised with.
The most important thing about practising is not to repeat the same thing over and over again, but to let yourself go and try everything that comes to mind. For example, did you know that you can calibrate by hand different more advanced parameters such as: saturation, contrast or sharpness? Do you know the harmony you can create using the grid in your videos? These are just a few details that you can master if you improve your relationship with your smartphone.
If you are serious about getting better videos, we recommend you read our article: How to improve the image of your on-demand videos to convey professionalism. You'll discover great tips on how to achieve unbeatable lighting, professional edits and the best equipment to work comfortably.
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