5-Step Smartphone Filming for Dummies (2021)

Thursday, July 8, 2021

They’re everywhere these days. Almost everyone you pass on the street has one, kids included. Many people are even attached at the hip with theirs: Cellphones.

More specifically, smartphones, with cameras!

Now that almost everyone has a high-quality camera right at their fingertips, many have become amateur filmmakers of sorts; testing their craft daily when they see an interesting animal in the wild, a scenic vista or by documenting a family reunion. But what if you want to move past the amateur label and start to create content with your cell phone camera that’s worthy of the big screen?

We’re here to help! Below we’ve outlined some steps that will help you take the videos you create to the next level.

1. Orientation

Despite what the internet will tell you, there's no one right orientation (vertical vs. horizontal). The orientation of your video depends on where you plan to use it! If you plan to have people consume your video on any sort of mobile device, the orientation should be VERTICAL! Yep, that's right. Vertically oriented videos take up more of the screen when viewed on a mobile device. That means you'll capture more of your viewer's screen! We've found that nowadays, most videos should be presented and filmed vertically, as a lot of them will live and breathe on social media. If you don't plan to share your videos on social media, and expect people to primarily interact with it on their computers or TV screens, then a horizontally oriented video should suit your needs.

2. Beware of the Zoom

Nothing can ruin a picture quality faster than zooming in. Phone cameras have progressed a lot since their infancy. Some have even added functional zoom features but they do have limits! For some phones, when you “zoom in” you’re really just cropping the image to make it look closer. When you do this, your phone throws out a lot of the digital data and makes your photo look bad (grainy, pixelated). Some cameras nowadays DO have lenses that allow you to zoom, but it is always better to err on the side of caution. If you need to be closer to your subject, simply move closer. That is the best way to ensure you won’t lose any image quality.

3. Lighting

You want to make sure your videos have good lighting. To achieve this, you should be filming somewhere that gets a lot of natural light. Try and move close to a window to capitalize on the natural light. Be careful though! Don’t backlight your subject by putting them directly in front of a window, they will appear in a shadow. Keep it easy and make sure the light is shining on their face not their back!

4. Audio

Nothing ruins a final product like poor sound quality. Make sure where you are filming isn’t too noisy. Try to stay away from noisy streets, crowded areas and hold for wind/traffic when possible. Also, make sure that you are speaking loudly enough to be heard! Especially if you don’t have an external microphone, making sure that your phone is picking up what you are saying is of the utmost importance!

5. Check your work! 

The best advice I could give anyone trying to make sure they have all the footage they need is to watch their videos immediately after filming them! Use the list above as a checklist! Did I film this in the orientation I want? Is the picture quality clear or did I zoom in too much? Can I clearly see the subject of my video or was it too dark or bright? Can I hear what is being said or is it too noisy on reflection?

Team Using their WorkReels App to film videos

While there is more to making videos than just the technical aspect of it, making sure you have the tech nailed down will allow you to focus more on the content! If you are set up to capture good quality video footage, you can be more at ease when thinking about what to film!

If the content aspect of your filming needs is stopping you short, check out our posts on what makes compelling video content or talk to a WorkReels representative today, info@workreels.com.

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