Shooting Professional Quality Videos for Social Media on Your Phone

You can do a lot with smartphones these days. But with the overload of video content on social media, it takes a lot more than point and shoot to end up with quality video. Here are a few tips that can help give your video a more professional feel.

Lighting is something that is sometimes easy to overlook. Getting the correct lighting can make all the difference in your video. Natural light is preferable to lamp light. It helps evenly illuminate your subject without affecting the tone of the shot. When shooting indoors, face your subject towards the window if possible. If outside, face your subject more towards the sun. Set up your shot so the camera avoids shooting towards light sources. Too much light directed at the sensor and it loses the information it’s trying to capture, leaving your shot overexposed. Change your position to get as even lighting as possible.

Light It Up

Keep it Steady

You don’t really realize how unsteady you hold your phone until you try to edit the video. Shaky video can cut off important parts of the shot and becomes even more obvious once you add any type of graphics. If possible, use a level tripod, monopod, or other stabilizer as they are designed to keep video steady. If you can’t get one of these, a good last resort is to either prop your phone on a stable surface or hold it with both hands and tuck in both elbows to minimize shake.

Great video can be ruined if you can’t hear what anyone is saying. Try to shoot somewhere with little to no background noise (wind, overhead music, conversations, T.V.s, passing vehicles, etc.) If you’re using the built-in microphone, large empty rooms can sometimes make your audio sound echoey and if you’re shooting outside, it can easily pick up wind and other ambient noise that cannot be easily removed. Your best bet is to purchase an inexpensive external microphone such as a lav mic or directional microphone.

I’m Sorry, What?

Portrait vs. Landscape

The orientation of your phone while recording really depends on which social media platforms you are planning to upload to and what graphics you are wanting to add. For a more traditional ad layout, turn your phone sideways and shoot horizontally. This will give you more room for graphics during editing and be overall easier to watch at full size on different devices without seeing those pesky black bars on either side of your video. However, if you are planning on limited graphics, shooting video vertically may be more beneficial for apps like Snapchat or Instagram.

Before you start shooting, have an idea of what you want the finished product to look like. Know the beats of your video and take multiple takes from different angles as well as close up and further away. Knowing your script lets you know before shooting how many different scenes you’ll be shooting and how many different shots you should be going for. Knowing your location ahead of time will help you plan around lighting and save time when setting up your shot.

What’s the Plan?

Shoot for the Edit

Set up your shot keeping in mind your plan for editing. Make sure you leave enough space around your subjects so they don’t touch the edges of the screen and leave room for any graphics you want to add so they won’t cover the important elements of your video. This also helps if you end up needing to zoom in on the video. When recording audio, it’s best to record a few seconds before and after a line to give space for transitioning between shots.

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