When camera phones first arrived on the market, you could do nothing more than snap about 20 pictures, at low resolution, and then wait until you downloaded them to your personal computer before you got to do anything digitally with them. Since then, smartphones have evolved into 8 mega pixel Apple and Android phones with apps that let you upload your pics to the Internet the instant you take them. Smartphones have become so popular as on-the-go video recorders that digital camera sales are down and you can even spot snippets of viral videos taken from smartphones shown live on your mainstream news channel. However, even with really high-quality cameras at cheap prices, available both front and back on most smartphones today, the video captured can be made even better with a few tips anyone can implement, without the need for special filters or photography gadgets.
The best photographers know how to stage an image so that they get the desired effect on film and don't rely solely on the camera to do the work. Similarly, pay attention to staging your videos correctly, and you will be able to take videos that are stunning, even without all the extra photographic lenses and filters that a professional might use. Here are five tips to get you started:
If you’re relying solely on the ambient lighting, it may not be enough if you are indoors. Outdoor videos may have sufficient lighting, but they may be noisy. Indoors, the light sensors in the smartphones are small and may need additional lighting. Plus, the lighting should be staged such that it doesn’t reflect off surfaces, like a person’s glasses, for instance. If you are indoors, invest in a lighting kit. Then, test the lighting to see how it looks on video.
If you must use your hands to hold the smartphone, make sure you do not move around too much. Hold the smartphone close to your body with both hands to make sure it is as steady as possible. Otherwise, your slight movements will jolt the camera up and down and ultimately be distracting to the viewer if you decide to walk around or move. If you can’t find a way to take a steady video while holding the smartphone, you can prop it up somewhere while you do the recording using books or some other makeshift holder. Some people will buy a tripod specifically made for a smartphone to make sure the video is steady throughout the entire scene.
If you can’t hear the audio, you’ve lost the soul of the entire video. No one likes to strain to hear a message, no matter how important or witty. Unfortunately, the smartphone’s microphone is in the device that is typically a few feet away from the video subject, making it really hard to capture the sound without an external microphone. Instead, you might end up capture stray sounds from where you are standing instead. Isolate the video from these sounds by soundproofing your video area as much as possible and adding a covering around the microphone to keep out odd noises. Then, use an external microphone made specifically for your smartphone model that you can place close to your subject for the best audio capture.
Apps can help you get more out of your camera, add effects and enhance your video, and help you edit it as well. There are Android apps (for Google) and iOS apps (for Apple). There are a ton of wonderful apps out there that you can explore, and many are free. But, don’t be afraid to spend a little cash when it comes to upgrading your video through apps. It’s well worth it. A few good apps for the iOS are: Top Camera for camera enhancements and Pinnacle Studio for editing.
Producing a video, even with a smartphone, means you have to know the basic script and props that you will need for a seamless performance. Set up the lighting and audio ahead of time to test it. Make sure your phone has enough memory and that the battery won’t run down in the middle of the video. All these extra details need to be taken care of to make sure you aren’t doing the video more than once to get it right.
It can be a little tense when you are first learning how to do videos with your smartphone, but once you get the hang of it, you will open up to a world of fun and excitement. The more you practice the five basics of good video production (lighting, steadiness, sound, apps, and preparation), the better you will get and the easier it will be each subsequent time. In no time flat, you will be amazed at how professional you’ve become and you will be garnering accolades in ways you never thought possible before.