Quick Tips for smartphone video recording

Nowadays the quality of smartphone video recording is easily passable for some talking head videos for social media, no compromise for quality branded video but here’s a few tips to get you started.

What we will cover

Many business owners have caught on to the fact that the world is beginning to revolve around video. YouTube is the second most trafficked website (after Google Search) and by 2020, 80% of web traffic is predicted to be in the form of video footage.

If you want to avoid the expense of buying a DSLR camera or outsourcing your video production to a third party, here are some tips for creating a smartphone video recording using the powerful camera sitting in your pocket.

Diligent Pre-Production

As with most things in life, planning is the key to a decent DIY video production. Reading through this blog post is a great place to start!

The process of creating a smartphone video recording mostly follows the same process as creating any type of quality content so you need to:

  • Define your audience
  • Clarify your central message
  • Determine your budget (and add some wiggle room)
  • Write a video script
  • Draw up a storyboard
  • Decide on your call to action
  • Create a production schedule
  • Create the content

Before we focus on the last point for the rest of this article, it’s worth elaborating on the video script, storyboard and production schedule.

For a short video ad, profile or explainer video you are unlikely to want to film more than two minutes of footage. Even the most attentive viewer is likely to find their mind wandering after this time. With such a short window to work within, aim to get to the point early, ideally within eight seconds. Stick to your central message and finish your script with a strong call-to-action.

A storyboard is a pictorial representation of the narrative of your video. For maximum impact, follow good storytelling practice with strong characters, a problem to solve, a solution (your product or service) and a triumph at the end. Once you have created the narrative flow, break it down into a shot-by-shot sequence.

Your production schedule should include the following information:

  • Location
  • Dates and times
  • People needed 
  • Equipment needed
  • Contact details

Always visit the location beforehand. It will enable you to plan lighting arrangements, identify power sockets and other small but important details.

Good Quality Equipment

While most smartphones are perfectly adequate for filming a simple video, there are a few which are particularly highly rated. These include:

  • iPhone XS
  • Google Pixel 3
  • Huawei P30 Pro
  • Motorola Moto G7
  • OnePlus 6T
  • Samsung Galaxy S10

We also recommend that you invest in some accessories including a good quality microphone with windshield, tripod system for keeping your shots steady and a telephoto lens. The first two are particularly worth spending money on as poor audio and shaky images will not impress viewers.

Effects on the Fly

Although the post-production phase is the traditional time for editing footage and adding special effects, the capabilities of top smartphones and the many editing apps has made it easier than ever to edit shots while filming them.

While you will probably find little use for a ‘rainbow puke’ or Viking warrior filter on your corporate vid, you may find value in adjusting the colour balance or creating some cool transitions. Apps such as iMovie for iPhone and iPad enable you to add titles and even compile full trailers while professional desktop editing software often come with a lightweight mobile companion app. For example, Adobe have created Premiere Rush, a drag and drop based app that can enable you to trim and adjust shots before exporting them to Premiere Pro.

Polished Post-Production

Despite the plethora of mobile editing tools available, every video recording should be finished off using desktop post-production software such as Adobe Premiere Pro. All members of the team should be involved in the fine-tuning of your footage.

As you can see, there is a lot that goes into creating a professional-grade video production and, done properly, the investment is probably fairly similar to what you would spend on outsourcing to an experienced video production team.

Vu Online offer a video production service that we recommend you look into before making your final decision, if you want some more DIY tips check out the video category.

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