Film Quality Videos with Mobile – Pt.2

Is it possible to film great quality videos with mobile devices?

Yes it is! 

Many of us, are already using smartphones and tablets with high resolution camera modules and powerful chips to make videos for social media. 

The only problem is that we don’t always know or use them at their full potential.

Here are some insiders tips and tricks to get the best quality video on mobile devices quickly and easily.

For completeness, check out pt. 1 to find out more on aspect ratio and pixels!

Composition and Framing

Composition is about arranging points of interest in a suitable frame. Shapes, lines, colour ,and bright points all have an impact on the overall viewing experience. As such, they are used to establish eye lines and direct the audience’s attention.

There are some rules you can follow, but the best way to learn is to watch video made by a team with a Director of Photography/communications expert. These pros, plan and manage the film shoot and edits in the most impactful way for the end viewer – and this should be your inspiration.

Find professionally made videos in line with what you want to say, and how you want to say it, and watch them carefully. With time, you will be able to identify what makes those videos so good, and which techniques you can easily replicate in your videos.

Here are some videos to get your creative juices flowing:

Promoting educational content:
Telling the founding story:
Encouraging product comparison:
How-to videos and tutorials:

Video Editing

You have a whole bunch of great footage on your mobile device,  now you’ll have to select which shots to include in your final video, and how they should be edited together. Your video should have a beginning point, progress through the middle, and a clear ending. This is your story, make sure you tell it well!

As you craft your story, work in important communications messages so your film stays on brand and to the point. Select video clips and multimedia which help you tell your story and edit out things which do not. Remember that we live in a world of short attention spans, so keep things concise and punchy. While editing, you may find that you filmed clips that feature a lot of stuff irrelevant to what you want to say. If this is the case, cut out the clutter, and highlight the clips that truly reinforce your messaging, or story.

Light Up the Way

Lightning  is a fundamental to consider when filming with any camera, or mobile device. Phones have smaller lenses and sensors, so filming in good light is crucial if you don’t want the footage quality to be compromised.

To avoid image over exposure, always remember to set up your mobile device so that it doesn’t directly face bright light. Make use of low light environment by trying to increase the light available:

  • switch on surrounding lights
  • a sunny day where the sun rays have been diffused by clouds is great for lighting
  • if you are indoors and the ligh of day is brighter, then the light indoors, open the curtains. If the evening light is dim, and the curtains are light coloured close them (think of which set-up will help you bounce the light around in your enclosed space)
  • if your door is light coloured, close it – again to bounce the light
  • if you have a bright lamp, you can point it up to the ceiling, so that the bright light will bounce off the ceiling, diffuse, and spread across some part of the room.

In general, always think of which set-up will help you bounce the light around in your enclosed space.

To know more read our article on How to Use Light to Make Great Videos.

Mic Me Up

One of the trickiest parts while recording with a mobile, is capturing good sound.

An insider trick, would be to buy an external clip-on microphone as ambient sound is usually very noisy (e.g on the street, or at conferences or coffee shops.) An external microphone can better capture the main sound, giving your voice presence, and maintaining your viewer’s attention.

If you don’t feel like investing in one just yet, you should place the phone about 4-6 inches from the sound you want to capture. This will keep the background noise to a minimum and make your audio better.

To know more read our article on Recording Great Audio for Video Making. Or watch our Pro Tips series on How to Present in front of a Camera.