5 Tips for Shooting Amazing Video with Your Smartphone


Making videos is more important than ever before. The average adult American spends almost six hours per day watching video according to a recent Nielsen study.

The good news for communicators is mobile video has become easier than ever before to create. While there’s still a time and place for professional videographers, the smartphones in our pockets have unlocked the possibility to record and document anything, anywhere, and for free. Here are 5 tips to help you start creating today.


Landscape vs Portrait

Before you hit record, know where you intend to use the video. Landscape video (shot with your phone held horizontally) has been the standard for years, but social media platforms are changing the way we consume content. That changes how we should capture it.

Take advantage of as much screen ‘real-estate’ as possible. Many creators are now shooting portrait video (shot with the phone held vertically) or cropping traditional video to vertical formats for platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. Other platforms, like Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn are great for traditional landscape video.

Each platform has its own unique uses and layout, so it’s important to create content specific for each platform. This helps the content feel as natural as possible. Longer length YouTube videos are better with landscape style screens such as computer monitors. The vertical nature of Instagram suits short length portrait videos for watching on mobile devices.


Use the Rear-Facing Camera

Smartphone creators continue to push the limits of camera technology squeezed into tiny spaces. As a user, you may not expect much of a difference between front and rear facing cameras, but don’t be fooled. Even though they have gotten better over time, front-facing cameras lack quality when compared to their larger rear-facing counterparts.

Front facing cameras are okay for sending a few Snapchats, however, they won’t produce the quality content a business needs. Stick to the rear-facing camera and start showing off your content!


Don’t Forget Lighting

The strategic use of lighting is often overlooked, but it can add a great deal to a video. Most of today’s smartphones automatically adjust their settings to compensate for a lack of light. This adjustment means the video quality could suffer as a result. Poor lighting can cause even professional cameras to shoot grainy-looking video, so quality lighting is especially important when using a smartphone.

Before you buy a set of expensive lights, do your best to make the most of your surroundings. The larger a light source, the more flattering the light. The sun makes a great key light in a pinch. Simply go outside or put yourself or the subject of the video in front or a large window to capture sharper and cleaner footage.


Slow and Steady

A poorly recorded video can be disorientating for viewers. It’s important to keep your video as smooth as possible. Avoid unnecessary shaking and movements. If the subject is stationary, like an interview, simply set the smartphone on a fixed table or object to keep it steady. Small tripods also make it easier to set the height and location of the smartphone.

If the subject is in motion, the person recording the video should use two steady hands to support the phone, while keeping their arms close to the body and taking smooth steps. Handheld gimbles counteract unintentional shaking and movements to keep the video smooth. There many types of budget-friendly to expensive versions of gimbles available.


Audio Matters

The quality of sound is equally, if not more, important than the video itself. Whether you’re using a smartphone or professional camera, built-in microphones are not ideal. Try filming in a quiet room without background noise. There are many options for external microphones including shotgun mics, booms, and lavaliers. Each help produce more natural sounding audio for the viewer. These can be easily attached to most phones.

Just like finding the right lighting, taking extra steps to capture clean audio on-site can help save hours of time and frustration during editing. Getting good audio simply improves efficiency and can save time and money.


High-quality video can do so much for any organization. It can be quick, impactful and displayed in multiple ways. Remembering these quick suggestions can help you take advantage of the opportunities video provides. I hope you find these tips useful to increase engagement and help your organization. If you have any questions or would like to make suggestions of your own, contact me at cody.schuler@ae2s.com.