Making Videos On Your Phone

Video content is quickly becoming the fastest way to connect with your audience. You can find videos on news sites, social media and online stores for a variety of purposes.

With this fast moving trend, you might want to look into how you get your own videos without spending thousands on your own camera, lighting and sound equipment. However you can get started with just a phone. Phone cameras have made a huge jump from what they were just ten years ago that Apple runs ad campaigns based solely on photos taken on Iphones. Though those ads may have had a big budget and production behind them, it doesn’t mean that it is unachievable and you too can get started on your own content.

Here are some tips on how to get started.

 

Composition

You may have already heard of the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds is based on a grid which helps in positioning your camera or subject to make a balanced shot. With this grid, you line up what you want the main focus to be on by the inner lines or intersections. For example, in an interview, you can have your speaker be on the left or right inner line as opposed to the centre and have them talk offscreen to the opposition direction as though they are talking to an interviewer (standing on the right, looks to left side of frame and vice versa).

 
Phone & Tripod

Keep steady

Most people record phone videos handheld, which is fine when you are filming a holiday, but is terrible for promoting your brand. The shakiness makes it harder for the viewer to invest in the video, it’s distracting and a negative response to technical issues reflects on to your brand.

You can solve this with a tripod to keep your shots still. If you want to make your videos more dynamic with movement, a steadycam can help but be prepared with having to counterbalance the weight of the phone before filming. Make sure you have your phone in landscape (horizontal) and not in portrait.

 
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Audio is as important as visuals…

Often audio is overlooked when it comes to low cost video production. This isn’t necessarily a conscious decision, it can be easy to forget that in a visual medium, that audio can have the biggest impact on the audience. A good quality recording with bad audio makes a bad video overall; bad audio will result in your viewers having a hard time understanding the video and will inevitably lose patience and move on. It is actually better to have a low quality recording with good audio as low quality is more forgivable.

Background noise can be a pain too, as there many sounds that we ignore daily but become immediately obvious when watching a video. Sounds such as a clock ticking, the hum of a computer or the air conditioning become apparent on a recording.

To remedy this, you can buy a simple clip-on (lavalier) microphone to plug directly into your phone. At £11, this will boost the quality of your audio for interviews significantly as not only will the audio be clearer than internal microphones on a phone, but will also do a better job of isolating your speaker from miscellaneous background noise.

Video production companies will usually spend hundreds and sometimes thousands on audio equipment,including a specialised sound recorder, to make sure the sound is as crystal clear as possible.

 

...Except when it is not.

In some cases however, audio should not be a major concern. A huge trend on social media right now is short 15-30 seconds clips with captions telling a story. Captions are used due to a vast majority of people scrolling through their timelines in a public place and have their phone on silent.

So what do you do when nobody can hear? You tailor your video to tell a story through visuals alone. So an interview piece may not be the best for Facebook but a product video fits in perfectly.

 
Music notes

What about music?

Unfortunately, you can’t use a song you haven’t licensed unless you want to risk copyright strikes and/or a lawsuit. A quick google search for something like “free music for videos” will lead to results saying “royalty-free music”, which you will still have to pay for once and often have a set of guidelines on how you can and can’t use the music. You can however find completely free music on Youtube Audio Library, which can be used in commercial projects with no issues.

 

Lighting on set

Bad lighting can hurt your video; it can make it harder to see what you are filming, and leaves an unprofessional impression with your audience. With little to zero lighting equipment, it is always best to film in a evenly well-lit room.

Make sure to avoid backlighting too. Backlighting is when a light source from behind the subject is strong enough to cause a silhouette look when viewed through the lens. Instead, avoid facing windows and instead use the natural light by having your subject to the side or facing the window. Natural light is usually softer than artificial ceiling lights too.

 
Phone editing

How can I edit?

So now you have a selection of clips recorded but don’t know how you are going to edit them. If you wanted to edit on desktop on a low budget, you might struggle. Adobe Premiere Pro is part of a subscription based service, with a 30 day free trial. Final Cut costs quite a bit and is locked to Macs only, and Davinci Resolve is free but isn’t very newcomer friendly and can be taxing on laptops and computers.

Luckily, there are apps that can be downloaded to edit on your phone. Adobe offers Premiere Clip for free and CyberLink offer PowerDirector for free, with a choice to pay £30 for an entire year of full features. To make it even easier, you can upload your video directly to your social media when you are done.

And remember in your edit, your viewers have a short attention span, so keep it quick paced.


Those are just a few of the basics to know before you set off into recording your own videos. It can be tough at first to make a video that works for you, and it is likely that you will make mistakes but with practice, you can make a video that will be a success and raise awareness of your brand.