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Tips for filming with a phone

O rientation: Be sure to orient your phone horizontally. You will create more options in post production if you create your videos in either the HD or 4K resolutions and using a horizontal format. I know there is currently a lot of hype around vertical video formats for platforms like Instagram, don’t worry, you can still resize for vertical in post.

Lighting: Avoid having a window or light source behind your subject, since he or she will look silhouetted…. Not very engaging. If you don’t have the option of diffused natural daylight, try using fixtures at your disposal such as a lamp. Bouncing it off a wall will create a more subtle and complementary light source.

Use a Tripod: One sign of an amateur video is a shaky video.The newest iPhones have built-in optical image stabilization, which makes shooting decent handheld footage fairly easy. But no matter how steady your hands are, nothing beats using a good old-fashioned tripod. There are many cost effective entry level option. Some desk top tripods small enough to carry in your pocket, will still do the job.

Audio: The biggest mistakes are generally associated with audio. Audiences rarely acknowledge good audio, but everyone is distracted by bad audio. Get your microphone position right. Close to the source. Use a lapel mic or directional extension mic close to the presenter. A great tip for backup audio is using a second iPhone to record sound in memo mode. You can sync it with your video later in post.

Filming B-Roll: In order to create an engaging visual story for your audience, you will need to think about filming extra footage… what we refer to as B-Roll.

Think about this in advance and write a shot list. Take into account shots that will best illustrate the points you’d like to make. Try to keep it simple when you’re first starting out. Often people get too ambitious with this and either don’t bother or make a bit of a mess of it.

Creating sequences are the best form of visualising a story. Think about establishing or wide shots, tighter individual shots and how these will work together in your editing to create a seamless natural flow.

Once again, try to keep your camera/phone steady. A tripod will immediately make your video look more professional.

When feeling a little more confident, try some movement by panning from one point to another…. Creating a visual reveal. Not too fast or too slow…around 5secs works best. Use the same technique for tilting up or down.


Filming with a phone