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Tech! Seven ways to shoot quality videos with smartphones

Smart phones have several wonderful features including video recording facilities. But there is more to shooting quality video than just holding up your phone and pressing the record button. You need to know some basics about using a smart phone to record high quality videos. In this interesting piece posted on punchng.com, you will find seven effective ways to shoot top quality videos using a smart phone.

Seven ways to shoot quality videos with smartphones

While it is good to have a smartphone with an awesome camera, using poor technique will probably result in a poor video product. Just because you have a very expensive hammer, with all of the features money can buy, doesn’t guarantee that you will build a magnificent home without practice and good technique.

Your video does not have to be perfect but following these seven tips will make the shooting of great video with your smartphone easy and the footage will look fantastic!

1 — Good lighting is critical

Proper lighting has a huge impact on smartphone cameras because they have smaller image sensors and lenses. Try as much as possible to shoot your video in brightly lit areas. This will help avoid unnecessary shadows and grainy areas in your video. Conversely, you also must be careful not to point the camera directly at bright light sources, which will cause unusable overexposed footage and lens flaring.

Lighting should be stable and steady; the image sensors in most smartphones do not react to dramatic changes in lighting very quickly. If the light is still making it tough to shoot your video, try working with backlighting and white balance settings if your phone or app provides them.

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Most phones also offer ‘Touch focusing’ in the event your camera is focusing on the wrong area of your composition. After setting the focus on the most important aspect of the video, the automatic exposure control will have an easier time making small adjustments if lighting condition begins to change.

2 — Stay steady

If you don’t want your video footage to come out distorted, blurred, or affected by ‘rolling shutter’, the best thing to do is to keep your phone steady while recording. Use both hands to hold your smartphone as close as possible to your body as you record the video.

3 — The audio matters as much as the video

A good video with poor audio quality is junk unless you plan to add a completely new audio track ‘in post’ (while editing your video). While you want your video to look good, the quality of your audio is more important than the video; so, it should matter as much, if not more. Unfortunately, the built-in microphone in most smartphones (if not all of them) is both low quality and improperly placed. It is very common to catch wind and unnecessary environmental noise that will compete with or drown out any important audio, while shooting video outside.

This is almost impossible to edit out later. It is advisable to shoot your video in a quiet place, preferably indoors when possible with less ambient noise. Professionals are shooting all sorts of commercial grade videos and feature films using their mobile phones, but audio is usually captured with a separate recording device suitable for the job. So, for great quality videos with superb audio, you should get an external recording device or at least a directional microphone that will work with your smartphone.

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If using an external microphone isn’t possible or practical then stay as close to the audio source as possible and try this little trick: use your hand to cover around the phone’s microphone (but don’t completely cover it). This way, unwanted noise can be reduced, which might give your final product a chance.

4 — Get close to your subject

Staying physically closer to your subject ensures better image quality, less digital noise and better focus in your videos since most smartphones use a digital zoom rather than optical zoom.

5 — Avoid vertical video syndrome

I really cannot drive this point home well enough. Stop shooting vertical video! Some videographers, (yes… video entrepreneurs, too) who use of their smartphones for digital filmmaking often make the mistake of holding their phones vertically, that is to say up and down rather than sideways, while recording.

Hold your phone horizontally so that videos played back on other screens (virtually everywhere) will look fine.

6 — Improve your videos with mobile apps

The camera app on your smartphone may do a good job, but there is more to video recording than what most of them have to offer. Some third party apps are very intuitive with great features for those new to developing video content, while some others unlock professional-like features that may bring out your inner George Lucas. While you will find some good free apps, investing in a couple of apps that cost a little bit of money can pay huge dividends.

7 — Be prepared for the shoot

Before you begin recording your videos, make sure that you have all of the gear, props, scripts, actors and shooting locations ready to go. Additionally, make sure your phone is charged and that you have enough storage space (available memory) to store the footage – high definition video files can get large and will drain a battery quickly.

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

He is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, COOU, (formerly Anambra State University), Igbariam Campus.

2 Comments

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  1. Wow this is really helpful to me especially in my job

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