Making Your Own Smartphone Videos

It’s amazing how far cameras on smartphones have come. With practice and preparation, you can record professional looking videos right on your handheld device. The ‘Shot on iPhone’ series by Apple shows just what your devices are capable of. But how do you make these videos look professional and not like they’re recorded on a smartphone?

There are a few things that will be a dead giveaway that your video was filmed on a phone, and not with a video camera: stability, focus, and image quality.

Avoid Wobbly Video

It’s important to never freehand record your videos. Use a tripod or gimbal to stabilize your shots. This adds a lot of quality to your video and is essential if you are creating any type of time lapse.

Lock Focus & Exposure

We all know how many times you have to tap on your phone screen to get the correct part of an image in focus. It’s no different with video. If you don’t lock your focus and exposure, your video will be all over the place.

Light and focus shifts will be extremely distracting to your viewer and will immensely downgrade the quality of your video. Also, the difference in focus and lighting between shots will make your editing process exponentially more difficult, and you may end up needing to throw out a lot of great content.

Do Not Zoom

One of the most glaring differences between filming on a video camera and a smartphone is zooming. Smartphones use digital zooming, whereas most video cameras use optical zooming. The digital zooming of a smartphone will automatically reduce the quality and give you a pixelated image. When using a phone, you need to physically move closer to the image you are capturing —which also wraps back around to using a gimbal to keep a steady shot throughout your movements.

Use an External Microphone

Companies such as Rode have created mini microphones that are made to adapt to your smartphone and instantly enhance the captured audio. Along with some audio best practices you’ll be sounding crisp and clear.

Smartphones are a great tool to take advantage of in the world of film, but make sure if you choose this route, you are taking the extra steps required to keep a similar quality video!

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