Recording video has never been so easy or effortless. Everyone has a powerful video camera in their pocket: a smartphone. Teachers are now becoming professional video content creators during this period of time. However, while it is good to have a smartphone with an awesome camera, using poor video making technique will probably result in a poor video product. Just because you have a very expensive car, with all of the features money can buy, it doesn’t guarantee that you will be a race car driver without practice and good video technique.
Your video does not have to be perfect but following these seven tips, shooting great video with your smartphone will be easy and the footage will look fantastic!
Here are 8 tips to Get Professional Quality Video from Your Smartphone
#1 – Keep the Background Simple
Branching off of point one, it’s best to keep background distractions to a minimum. The more simplistic the background, the more focus can be on the speaker!
Another tip that might be helpful is to stick to the same shooting location for every video you create, or at least shooting consistently in only a few locations. Once you find that sweet spot, everything else might just be subpar.
#2 – Good Lighting is Critical
Proper lighting has a huge impact on smartphone cameras because they have smaller image sensors and lenses. Try as much as possible to shoot your video in brightly lit areas. This will help avoid unnecessary shadows and grainy areas in your video. Conversely, you also must be careful not to point the camera directly at bright light sources, which will cause unusable overexposed footage and lens flaring. Lighting should be stable and steady; the image sensors in most smartphones do not react to dramatic changes in lighting very quickly. If the light is still making it tough to shoot your video try working with back-lighting and white balance settings if your phone or app provides them. Most phones also offer “touch focusing” in the event your camera is focusing on the wrong area of your composition. After setting the focus on the most important aspect of the video, the automatic exposure control will have an easier time making small adjustments if the lighting condition begins to change.
#3 – Stay Steady
If you don’t want your video footage to come out distorted, blurred, or affected by “rolling shutter” the best thing to do is to keep your phone steady while recording. Use both hands to hold your smartphone as close as possible to your body as you record the video. This can be a bit fatiguing in long takes or sequences, and there are other ways to support the phone:
- Stabilizers, tripods and camera cages allow you to keep your smartphone or mobile device still when taking a video with it; they have perfect handles to accomplish this.
- If a smartphone tripod or stabilizer is a little too costly or not practical for you in your circumstances, you can rest your phone on other physical supports like tables, chairs, desks, shelves, etc.
- Here are some DIY Tripods ideas. Make a DIY iPhone Tripod in 30 Seconds
#4 – Audio is More Important than Video
A good video with poor audio quality is junk unless you plan to add a completely new audio track “in post” (while editing your video). While you want your video to look good, the quality of your audio is more important than the video. Unfortunately, the built-in microphone in most smartphones (if not all of them) is both low quality and improperly placed. It is very common to catch wind and unnecessary environmental noise that will compete with or drown out any important audio while shooting video outside. This is almost impossible to edit out later. It is advisable to shoot your video in a quiet place, preferably indoors when possible with less ambient noise. Professionals are shooting all sorts of commercial grade videos and feature films using their mobile phones, but audio is almost ALWAYS captured with a separate recording device suitable for the job. So, for exceptional quality videos with superb audio, you should get an external recording device or at least a directional microphone that will work with your smartphone. If using an external microphone isn’t possible or practical then stay as close to the audio source as possible and try this little trick: use your hand to cover around the phone’s microphone (but don’t completely cover it). This way, unwanted noise can be reduced, which might give your final product a chance.
#5 – Get Close!
Staying physically closer to your subject ensures better image quality, less digital noise, and better focus in your videos since most smartphones use a digital zoom rather than optical zoom. Note; do not use digital zoom.
Getting the microphone physically closer to you ensures better audio quality, less background noise and better fidelity in your sounds. Although, a full length body shot may seem like a better option, the audio quality will be affected, since you will be far away from your mic.
#6 – Landscape
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.
So just remember: never hold your phone vertically while recording, unless you really like or want those vertical black bars included (or if you’re recording purely for something like Instagram Stories).
#7 – Framing
Now that you’re recording in the proper orientation (see above), completely fill the frame with your subject. You can also put him or her or it slightly off-center to create a more visually interesting scene. Just play around and see what looks best. Have a look below on the camera shots that you can use when talking to an audience (or childrens).
#8 – Improve Your Videos with Editing
And finally, sometimes a little editing is required in order to make your footage go from “meh” to “wow”. And nowadays you can do some intense editing on your smartphone as well, meaning you won’t need to invest in fancy desktop software.
Everything from basic trimming to adding transitions, titles, and effects is simple on both iOS and Android mobile devices.
Some third-party apps are very intuitive with great features for those new to developing video content while some others unlock professional-like features that might bring out your inner George Lucas. While you will find some pretty good free apps, investing in a couple of apps that cost a little bit of money can pay huge dividends.
Here are our best editors for Teachers
- Wondershare Filmora
- Magisto Video Editor and Maker
- WeVideo Video Editor
- Windows Movie Maker
This should be enough to get you started. Once you have the basics under your belt, you can start worrying about lighting, composition, and more advanced editing techniques. Until then, enjoy shooting!