5 Tips To Shooting Great Video With Your Smartphone (Android & iPhone)
When it comes to video content creation there are always some hurdles that any of us can point at and simply state: This is just too hard. There is gear and computers and software and… of course, the story you are going to tell.
I want to give you 5 quick tips that you can implement while using something as simple as a smartphone to shoot your videos. Whether it is for your business, yourself, YouTube or social media content in general, these tips will help you get started and create great video for your audience.
If you prefer to watch instead of read, check out my YouTube Video Below.
TIP #1 – Activate AF/AF Lock
Okay, Dan, I thought you said easy and quick tips – what the heck does AF lock mean?
Technically it means that you are locking the Auto Exposure and Auto Focus into place. Hence the AE and AF description. Let’s break that down really quick. Auto Exposure is the camera automatically adjusting exposure or how much light the camera allows to enter into the sensor based on the environment that you are in. Say you walk from indoors to outdoors in your shot, you’re going to notice a big shift in exposure when you do this without having the auto exposure lock on. autofocus is the camera continuously adjusting focus based on what subject matter is in the frame. Sometimes in a shot you do not want anything besides your subject to be in focus or you simply don’t want the focus to shift during a shot and ruining it.
Locking these features which can be done by touching and holding your finger on your smartphone screen will keep your camera from making adjustments that you don’t want to happen which often lead to your videos looking well. Amateur.
Bonus Fact: Once you lock in your Auto Focus and Auto Exposure, you can actually slide the exposure up and down with your finger until you get the look that you want.
TIP #2 – Use the Rear Facing Camera
One mistake that so many people make when trying to create great video with a smartphone is to use the forward-facing camera (or selfie camera) to film themselves. I get that it’s nice to be able to see yourself on the screen, but keep in mind that most smartphones the rear-facing camera is twice as good as the forward facing camera. In every smartphone I have ever used, the rear-facing camera is far superior and we want our videos to look as good as possible. Right?!
Using tip number one to help us out here a great way to get comfortable using the rear facing camera is to lock focus onto an object and then replace that object with your subject, which in many cases will be you.
Bonus Fact: Using a stand-in that is high contrast will make it easy for your phone to find and lock in focus for you.
TIP #3 – Use an LED Light Source
You can Purchase a Ring Light Here https://amzn.to/3IAxEac
Smartphones are always trying to adjust to the subject matter in the frame for best focus and exposure. So give your camera something to see like your beautiful face. Check out this inexpensive ring light and what it can do for your video. Just look at the difference between the two shots illustrated above. The difference is like well, night and day.
Bonus Fact: In most situations, you should not actually shoot through the ring light with your phone. Nope, move the light away and off to one side maybe 45 degrees off from Center for a flattering look that doesn’t force that circle of light into your iris and doesn’t reflect terribly if you happen to wear glasses.
TIP #4 – Record Your Audio Separately
You can Purchase a Zoom F1 Recorder Here https://amzn.to/39U2Q3F
This is definitely not the most popular piece of advice I give but it is 100% the most game changing for your smartphone video. It is absolutely the quickest and easiest way to increase your video production quality significantly.
Capturing audio separately does add the element of video editing into the mix, but that should not keep you from doing it. There are a ton of different software options available that make it easy to edit and sync up your audio and video clips. If you want to create great video content that is elevated above 97% of your competition, make sure to capture great audio separate from your phone.
Let’s give a quick example of the difference. Below is an audio clip with the smartphone audio used at first and then the microphone audio is played second.
I used a Zoom F1 Audio Recorder with lavalier attachment to record my audio separate from the smartphone. The difference is HUGE!
Bonus Fact: When I work directly with high paying clients and one minute media members audio is always the first upgrade we make in their video content production process, not the camera.
TIP #5 – Capture B-Roll With Your Smartphone
Our final tip today is all about capturing B roll. B roll is secondary footage that generally supports the narrator or dialogue being performed. The accompanying footage really drives home the point and makes a segment that much more interesting. You don’t always need a lot of B roll to make a video great And you can often find it for free on the internet.
So as you can see having a smartphone in your pocket is really like having a YouTube studio or video content creation machine in the palm of your hands.
Follow these steps and you will be well on your way to creating awesome video content with something as simple as a smartphone.