Mobile Videography Advices

Smartphones with excellent cameras and the ability to record high-definition videos are everywhere. You can have a digital camera, MP3 player, video player, and any other services you can think of in a compact device. Yes, your mobile phone is a masterpiece in all walks of life and is gradually redefining the photography and video industry. Nowadays, anyone with a smartphone can easily record a video and broadcast it to anyone. However, the cost of shooting professional scenes is much more than that. By practicing and mastering some video production skills, you can record award-winning documentaries, school projects, or independent movies with just your phone. 

Here are some mobile videography tips used by elite videographers;

1. Prepare For Shooting 

Before you start recording a video, make sure you have all the equipment, props, scripts, actors, and shooting locations ready. In addition, make sure that your phone is a great device and that you have enough storage space (available memory) to store your material – high-definition (HD) video files will become larger and will quickly drain the battery.

2. Take Landscape Shots, Not Portrait Shots 

With the two black vertical lines on either side of a videotape, nothing is more annoying. Although this is an exception to portrait screens, this is not the case with devices with landscape displays such as computers or televisions. The good news is that you can avoid this amateur mistake by placing your phone on its side and recording the video horizontally. This format will not only make your video more aesthetically pleasing, but it will also make viewing more pleasant when viewed on a widescreen. In addition, the correct orientation ensures that your subject completely fills the entire screen.

3. Good Lighting ls Essential 

Proper lighting can have a great impact on smartphone cameras because they have smaller image sensors and lenses. Try to shoot videos in brightly lit places as much as possible. This will help avoid unnecessary shadows and grainy areas in the video. You must also be careful not to point the camera directly at a bright light source; otherwise, it will cause an unusable overexposed lens output.

mobile videography image lighting

Lighting should remain stable; the image sensor in most smartphones will not react quickly to drastic changes in lighting. If the light is still difficult to shoot a video, try using the backlight and white balance settings (if your phone or app provides this setting). If the camera focuses on the wrong area of ​​the composition, most mobile phones also provide a "touch focus" function. After focusing on the most important aspect of the video, the automatic exposure control will have an easier time making small adjustments.

4. Stay Stable

If you don't want the video output to be distorted, blurred, or affected by the "rolling shutter", the best thing to do is to keep the phone stable during the recording. When recording a video, please use your hands to hold your smartphone as close to your body as possible. 

It may be a little stressful during a long time or continuous use, but there are other ways to support the phone: The stabilizer, tripod, and camera frame will allow you to keep your smartphone or mobile device still while shooting a video; because they have the perfect way to accomplish this task. If the tripod or stabilizer of your smartphone is too expensive or impractical in your case, you can put the phone on a table, chair, shelf, or other physical supports.

5. Get Closer To The Subject Rather Than Zooming

It can be tempting to use the zoom function on the phone to shoot the subject up close. But nothing is more unfortunate than using digital zoom, which can be easily obtained on a smartphone. This is basically combining some software tricks to make your subject look closer without a lot of pixelation. If you want to use your smartphone to zoom in without losing the vivid, clear quality you want, just walk up to the subject and record from a closer range. Or, invest in a high-tech smartphone that allows you to take accurate shots of the subject or object.

6. Focus And Exposure 

The phone will automatically detect and adjust the focus and exposure accordingly, which is great when taking quick pictures. However, when recording a video, you need more manual control to lock this function and avoid overexposing the material and unfocusing. To control this, just tap the subject using the phone’s default camera app to manually lock the exposure and focus of the video. In addition, you can readjust the exposure and focus of the footage while shooting. However, manually setting the focus is an excellent technique that allows you to get close to the subject or object and focus the camera on a specific area.

7. Audio is as important as video 

Unless you plan to add a brand new audio track (while editing the video), a good video with poor audio quality is unacceptable. Although you want the video to look good, the quality of the audio is more important than the video-so this is important. Unfortunately, the built-in microphones in most smartphones (if not all) are of low quality and improperly placed, and also susceptible to wind. Also, environmental noise usually interferes with any important audio when shooting a video. It is almost impossible to edit this type of noise later. Thus, it is recommended to shoot the video in a quiet place, preferably indoors with low ambient noise. Professionals use their phones to shoot various commercial-grade videos and feature films, but the audio is almost always captured by a separate recording device suitable for the job. Therefore, for high-quality videos with extraordinary audio, you should use an external recording device or at least one directional microphone that can be used with a smartphone. If you can’t use an external microphone or it’s not practical, try to get as close to the audio source as possible and try the following trick: Cover the phone’s microphone with your hand (but don’t cover it completely). In this way, unnecessary noise can be reduced, which may give your final product a chance of success.

8. Try Slow-Motion And Time-Lapse Shooting, But Don't Overuse lt

mobile videography time-lapse video

Most mobile phones have built-in slow-motion and time-lapse functions in the default camera application. Slow-motion mode allows you to capture video at an accelerated frame rate, and when played at normal speed, the motion in the footage appears to be much slower than real-time motion. On the other hand, time delay allows you to record material at a lower frame rate, and when playing at normal speed, the movement of the action is faster than the real-time movement. Although these modes are great for shooting great footage, be sure not to overuse them. For example, the slow-motion function is very suitable for capturing abnormal movements that are invisible to the naked eye, such as action shots. On the other hand, time-lapse photography is very useful for shots that move across time, such as moving clouds, walking people, or the setting sun.

9. Edit

A few small edits can make your shots as professional as possible. The best part is that you can do this on your phone, so no fancy or expensive gadgets are needed to get the job done. Normally, you can use your smartphone to perform the necessary trims, add transitions, effects or titles. Whether you are shooting an independent movie or a school project, your phone can simplify the process from start to finish to ensure the best videography results.