How to Create Good Videos with Your Phone

Even more so than taking photos, shooting a good video can be tough. People think that to shoot a good video, you need fancy new equipment and a professional videographer. However, they’re wrong! Even when you’re a small business with limited resources- you can shoot a great video using just your phone. Here are our best tips for shooting amazing footage with your smartphone...

Lighting

Good lighting is essential to shooting a professional video. Using natural lighting is always best - the best time to shoot a video is generally a few hours before sunset, when the sun’s light is less harsh. If you decide to shoot in natural light, you’ll generally want your subject to be facing the sun.

But if you can’t use natural lighting, we wouldn’t recommend resorting to your phone’s flash. If you need to add more light, look at small gadgets like a ring light or cheap clamp lights. Depending on your video needs, this may be enough to light a video.

Angles

When using a camera, it’s all about the angles. Try to take different shots of a subject- you’ll never know which angle looks best. Some suggested shots to take: a video from above, a video from below, and a video directly facing the subject. Unless your video involves talking directly to the camera, it’s a good idea to experiment with angles.

One caveat: you want to get different angles in different takes. Moving around your camera trying to find the perfect angle while filming isn’t the ideal way to get a professional- looking phone video.

An example of different angles

Video resolution

Many new smartphones come with the option to change the video resolution of your camera. Generally, the higher the resolution, the higher the definition of your video. One caution is that the file size of the video will increase with the video resolution. Here are instructions to change the video resolution of your iPhone and Android smartphones.

Frame rate

Not every phone has this option, but you can adjust the frame rate of your videos as well. Frame rates affect how movement appears in your video.

Here are two popular frame rates:

  • 1080p at 30 frames per second: This resolution gives the footage a fluid look that is close to how you would see the scene in real life. This is the standard rate that television shows are displayed in.

  • 1080p at 60 frames per second: shooting at 60 fps will give you an even more fluid- looking video. This rate could be useful for slow- motion video or sports since this is a frame rate usually used for action footage.

If you’re interested, you can adjust your frame settings on Android phones by clicking the gear or toggle buttons in the camera app. For iPhones, you can adjust this in your Camera Settings.

An example of slow motion

Lock focus exposure

Want the subject of your video to be in focus all the time? Use your finger to tap your camera’s screen and hold your finger on the subject of your camera. The smartphone’s camera will lock onto them and focus on the subject.

Stay steady

A clear sign of an amateur video? A shaky camera. Use both hands or use gadgets like a tripod or a phone stand depending on your recording needs. Or you can always just rest your phone against a wall or window. Some newer smartphones even have “stabilizing features”that can help prevent shakiness.

If you need to get some movement into your shot, try to move your entire upper body vs just the camera. It will be more steady and introduce less shaking into your video.

No zoom

With smartphones, video quality declines the more you zoom in. If possible, we would recommend not zooming into your shots. If you must zoom, then look into smartphone accessories that will allow you to zoom in better.

Rule of thirds

Need help framing your video? Turn on the grid feature of your camera. Use the rule of thirds, which is a basic concept in video and film where the frame is divided into nine sections of a grid.

You’ll want to frame your video along the gridded lines. Points of interest can occur anywhere the lines cross, but especially at ⅓ and ⅔ of the way across the frame.

Improve videos with mobile apps

There are also several camera apps, like Filmic Pro, that you can use while shooting your next video. These camera apps allow you to have more features that don’t traditionally come with your smartphone’s original camera app.

Now that you’ve shot your video, you can use editing apps to improve your video. If you have an iPhone, iMovie will allow you to stitch together some clips. Google Photos also is a good option. Finally, you can use Ripl to trim your video, add captions, add music, and add eye- catching graphics.

Short video

Finally, it’s important to remember that when taking a video on your phone, the shorter the video, the better. That way it’s easier to maintain the quality of your shots, and it also prevents your audience from losing attention too quickly. Use Ripl’s video trimmer to shorten your videos!
We hope with these tips, you’ll create some exciting video footage for your next video ad!

Annika Larson

Annika is a marketing lead at Ripl who is passionate about small businesses. With a focus on customer engagement, she hopes to show how Ripl can boost your social media video presence.

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