Recording Professional Video With a Smartphone

There comes a point in time when you really want to create a professional looking video for your fans or for publicity. With the advances of today’s technology and the incredible power of your smartphone, you are now able to shoot high quality video that is ready to edit and upload right from your smartphone. Don’t just pull your smartphone from your pocket and start recording, we have some tips for using your smartphone as a professional recording tool.

Shoot Horizontally

We live in a world full of widescreens, from our televisions to our computers, so it is important to record for widescreen viewing. Shooting horizontally is the only way to assure that your video will look great on laptops, televisions, websites, and basically all the places it will be viewed. If you think shooting vertically is a good way to go it is key to know that this will force your video to make up for the missing space, resulting in two black bars along each side of your recorded material, which looks very unprofessional.

Use a Tripod

No matter how steady you think your hands are, your smartphone will record much better video if it does not have to work to stabilize a handheld shot. Slight movements can be extremely distracting and can take away from the professional vibe that you are going for. By using a tripod or stabilizer when shooting you are more likely to get clear footage with no sudden movements, blurs, or distortions. If a tripod or stabilizer doesn’t fit into your budget you can always rest your smartphone on a stable surface, such as a table or a chair.

Light Your Video

Proper lighting has a huge impact on smartphone cameras because they have smaller image sensors and lenses than high quality cameras do. It is important to record in well lit areas while not pointing your camera directly at the light source. Try to record in an area where you will have stable and steady lighting. Smartphones often do not react quickly to drastic changes in light. You can help avoid changes in light or inconstant light by purchasing a small lighting kit. This will help you get the look you desire. Using natural light properly can be one of the most amazing ways to get great constant lighting throughout your recorded segments. Remember to make light work for you, not against you.

Manually Set Exposure and Focus

Not all smartphones have this feature, but if yours does it is highly advised to use it. To do this try pressing and holding your finger on the area of the screen you wish to focus to. This should activate the Auto Exposure and Auto Focus lock, which means that your smartphone will not change its focus while you are recording. When doing this you should lock on an area that gives you the best exposure and focus for the entire scene. You can also use your smartphone’s touch focus capabilities if your smartphone is focusing in the wrong area of the composition.

Record Good Audio

Even if you shoot amazing video, poorly recorded audio significantly decreases its usefulness unless you plan to create your audio overlay in post production. Unfortunately, the built in mic on most smartphones is very low quality. This means you either need to shoot in an extremely controlled environment or use an external mic. You can use any type of external mic you prefer or believe fits what you are recording, just be sure to make sure that it is on, recording, and ready to go. This is an extremely important step because you do not want to shoot an entire day and then realize you didn’t record any audio because your mic was off or not working. Before each take remember to clap to help yourself sync the video and audio perfectly.

Push Your Video Further

A professional looking video can certainly be created with just your smartphone, however there are some fantastic accessories and apps that can help you push your video a step further. Things like clip on lens adapters or video editing apps can help you transform video into exactly what you want. However, editing apps will never beat the editing you can do on your computer.  

Check out this video from, iPhone Video Producer, for more information and inspiration for recording video on your smartphone.






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