Resources & Guides

How to shoot video using your smartphone

How to shoot video using your smartphone

 It’s never been easier to capture your own video footage. Smartphones give everyone the opportunity to have a powerful video camera in their pocket which they can bring out whenever they need it.

Adverts and events promoting the latest smartphones, such as those produced by Apple, often show what a camera is capable of.

Then, when the average user purchases one of these products, they’re often disappointed that the quality of their own videos doesn’t match up to the marketing content.

Is this false advertising on the part of the manufacturers or is something else going on?

 What’s the secret?

 Before any camera-captured footage used in smartphone marketing reaches its target audience it will usually be heavily edited.

The raw footage might have been produced using the camera facility on the phone, but it will have been knocked into shape using sophisticated video editing software.

Unless you have access to the same state-of-the-art editing software you’re unlikely to ever achieve the same results or even anything like them.  

So can you do anything to improve your camera video footage with tools you have at your fingertips?

Change your video settings to 4K

One of the easiest ways to make an immediate impact on the quality of your video footage is to change your video settings to 4K. Even if your finished video is going to be in 1080bp, recording in 4k will give a better image quality overall.

Most cameras that record at 4K do so at a higher bitrate, which will improve the sharpness and level of detail in the colour. For instance, a sunset may contain a variety of colours that become more distinct and visible when they are captured at 4k.

Recording in 4K gives you more options and future proofs your footage, making it more likely to still look good with higher resolution playback.

Keep your camera steady

If you’re looking to produce professional-looking video content then you can’t overestimate the importance of keeping your camera steady. This will help to prevent the footage from being distorted, blurred or impacted by “rolling shutter”.

You can use both hands to hold your smartphone and keep it as close as possible to your body while you’re recording. This may not be practical if you’re filming for any length of time, so other means of keeping your phone steady may be more appropriate.

Camera tripods, stabilisers and cages can all allow you to keep your smartphone or mobile device when recording a video.

Consider the lighting

The lighting you opt for will have a huge impact on the quality of your footage. This is particularly important in the case of smartphones which have smaller image sensors and lenses.

You should try as much as possible to shoot your video in brightly lit areas. That said, it’s important not to point your camera directly at bright light sources as this will cause lens flaring and overexposed footage.

You should aim for steady and stable lighting as the image sensors housed in most smartphones don’t react well to dramatic changes. If the light is still less than ideal, try using back-lighting and white balance settings on your phone.

Most smartphones now also provide a touch focusing facility that allows you to draw the focus to the correct area of your overall composition. If you set the focus on the key aspect of the video, the automatic exposure control will then adjust accordingly as the lighting conditions begin to shift and change.

Don’t use vertical video

Videos that are recorded by smartphones that are held vertically invariably look less good when they’re played back on other screens, most of which are oriented horizontally.

When recording video footage make sure that you hold your camera horizontally.

Get close to your subject

To increase the chances of better image quality, less background noise and improved focus, you should get as close to your subject as is practical. This is particularly important when using a smartphone as most will feature a digital rather than an optical zoom. If you need any super zoom close-ups for your footage, then make use of clip-on macro lenses that are available to fit Android and iPhone smartphones.


Editing software

Perhaps just as important as how you capture your footage, is the editing software that you use to edit it. Most smartphones will have some basic editing features, as too do platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. If you’re serious about creating professional video content you’ll need to invest in professional editing software.


Call in the professionals

To become skilled in creating amazing video content takes practice and the right equipment. If you’re looking to create professional video content for your business or organisation, then getting professional help will give you an advantage.

At Eight Engines, we bring our experience and expertise to help you tell your story. We create industry-leading content for our clients, using skills we’ve developed while producing award-winning TV dramas.

If your business or organisation has a story to tell then we’d like to help you tell it. Get in touch to find out more.

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