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Video is a great marketing tool. The engaging medium captures audience attention, provides a detailed narrative and shares a glimpse into your creative process.

We recently published a blog that explores visual storytelling through video. The piece shares examples of how to engage with your audience and tell a compelling story.

But what about the technicalities?

Austin Mitchell, from r7c Media, recently made his second appearance on our virtual coffee sessions to discuss tips on capturing great video footage on a smartphone.

Austin has previously shared top tips for smartphone photography which you can read here!

shooting a video on a smartphone

16 Tips for Better Mobile Videos

You don’t need to be a professional videographer to capture great footage. Here are a few tips on how to turn your smartphone into a powerful marketing tool using video.

1.   Don’t shoot vertical video

It’s important to consider how your audience will be viewing your content. Most monitors, such as TVs and websites, are in landscape mode. Therefore, you should shoot your footage in landscape.

There is an exception to this rule.

If you’re filming specifically for Facebook or Instagram stories, then you should shoot in vertical orientation. Consider which platform you’ll be sharing the content to, and how you can make the most of the screen real estate.

2.   Use the maximum resolution

Most new smartphones have the opportunity to shoot footage in 4K, which is a high resolution. Shooting in 4K allows you to crop your footage or zoom in while editing without losing quality. Generally, most people will output their footage in 1080p  (which is full HD).

Note: Shooting in 4K does require a lot of storage on your phone as the files are quite large.

3.   Keep your shot stable

This is a tip that was also shared by Jude Allen while discussing storytelling. Unintentional shaky footage creates an unpleasant viewing experience. Here are a few ways to keep your footage steady:

  • Use a tripod. There are plenty of mobile adapters that work as tripods to achieve stable footage.
  • Invest in a gimbal. These are hand-held devices that keep your phone steady when moving around. The DJI gimbal is on the pricier end of the spectrum but does a great job.
  • Hold the camera with both hands to avoid shaking.

4.   Switch your phone into aeroplane mode

Switching your phone to aeroplane mode prevents your phone making any noise or vibrations while you’re busy filming. This will ensure that there will be no distractions while gathering your footage.

picture on a smartphone

5.   Charge up your battery

Filming can drain your mobile battery a lot quicker than other mobile applications. There’s nothing worse than running out of battery while on a roll, or while the lighting is perfect. The solution? Make sure that your phone battery is fully charged, or that you have a power bank handy.

6.   Ensure adequate storage

As mentioned, 4K footage takes up a lot of storage space. Even if you’re not shooting in 4K, your phone will need to have enough space to store the footage. Make sure that you have enough space on your phone or an external memory card where you can keep the footage.

7.   Framing and the rule of thirds

Composition in video is equally important as it is in photography. Make sure that you frame your subject nicely in your shot. Imagine that your screen is cut up into three lines and that your subject sits in the left, middle or right. This ensures an aesthetically pleasing experience for your audience.

8.   Don’t use digital pinch-zoom

If you want to get a closer shot of your subject, then make sure that you physically move closer. The more that zoom in on your phone, the more that you reduce the quality of your shot.

9.   Good lighting

Decent lighting is essential in getting a good shot. Natural lighting from a window or studio lights are a top choice. Try to avoid using overhead lights as this can create a noisy image.

beautiful shot on smartphone

10.   Exposure and focus

Smartphones have several built-in tools that help produce great content. While auto-focus does a decent job, try to use manual settings as much as possible.

You can download an additional app if your phone doesn’t allow for manual setting changes. Filmic Pro is a highly recommended mobile app that gives you the full functionality of a DSLR or mirrorless camera such as manual focus, exposure, ISO, shutter speed, etc.

11.   Record audio externally

Often, people are so focused on the visual footage that they forget about the quality of the sound. If your film has bad audio, then your audience will turn it off. An effective way of ensuring quality audio is to record sound separately.

You can record audio separately with a built-in microphone or use an external audio supply such as a USB microphone, a handheld audio recorder or using someone else’s phone.

During the editing phase, you can combine the audio and footage files. If you’ve already recorded the footage, then you can re-record your audio and lay it over B-roll footage (or even photographs).

12.   Buy clip-on lenses

If you want to be extra creative with your footage, then you can invest in clip-on lenses. There are a variety of lenses that can give you different perspectives. For example, macro lenses for close-up shots, and wide-angle lenses for wider views.

13.   Be creative with pacing

You can use the time-lapse and slow-motion filming features on your mobile phone to make the film more interesting and break up the sequence of your footage.

Note: Avoid overusing time-lapse and slow-motion as it can get monotonous.

14.   Pay attention to editing

Just as you don’t need to be an expert videographer to film quality footage, neither do you need to be a pro editor. There are several editing apps that can help you put the pieces of footage together.

Here are a few suggested by Austin:

  • iMovie – free app and rather basic to use. You can add transitions, music, etc.
  • Adobe Premiere Rush – Android and Apple, also free and easy to use.
  • Filmic Pro

15.   Invest in certain gadgets

If you have a few extra Pounds to spend, then there are a couple of gadgets that you can invest in to make your mobile videos appear more professional.

  • A gimbal is a great investment, especially if you like to film while moving. Movement is currently a trending style and a gimbal allows you to steadily track your subject.
  • A tripod is another fantastic investment to help you steady footage of a static subject. You can even find smaller, mobile-specific tripods.

16.   Be smart with your editing

When putting together your final video, think about sharing your footage in bite-sized chunks. Consider your audience and how they will be consuming your content. In most instances, shorter, snappier pieces of content are perfect.

Try to grab the attention of your audience in the first five seconds of your video.

Note: a great way to do this is to tease your audience with your final product at the beginning of the video, and then go back and show them the creative process.

live footage

… And Action!

Now’s the perfect time to practice these handy tips and see what captivating footage you can get from your mobile phone.

Video can really help your brand stand out from the rest. Combining Jude Allen’s tips for storytelling, and Austin’s practical tips for filming makes for the perfect video marketing recipe.

If you want to enjoy more top tips and marketing advice on how to broaden your audience, you can find out more about joining our Artisanry Co. community.