Youtube reports mobile video consumption rises 100% every year. A staggering 90% of consumers watch videos on their mobile devices. This creates an extraordinary opportunity to connect with consumers using this favored medium. There are many benefits to video content, and it is a powerful tool to tell your story or market your brand. The old adage "a picture is worth a thousand words" is true of video. Video can explain everything.
Don't be afraid to film videos from that smartphone in your pocket. Get started with these easy tips.
Prepare your content
Start by deciding what your message will be. Draft some bullet points (or a storyboard or script) summarizing the key points you want to cover. Video making is storytelling.
Composition is the art of arranging objects in a frame. There are shapes and alignments that people find pleasing. Video composition also needs to tell a story. The arrangement of your objects and actors in a frame can add to your storytelling. You do this by emphasizing some objects and de-emphasizing others. Ask yourself “Where am I pointing my camera lens and from what angle?” Consider point of view figuratively, as well: “How will the video’s point of view help me tell the story?
Select the best location
Select a location that enhances your messaging. If you talk about it, show it. For example if you are talking about your cattle, be outside the fence next to them. Shoot from your normal setting, in the barn or out in the field.
Make sure there isn’t too much background noise (traffic on a nearby road, the wind). Avoid the sun facing the camera or backgrounds that distract viewers. Cell phone cameras are not good in low light, so avoid overly dark locations without enough natural light.
Choose the front or rear camera
The front facing camera is easier to shoot with because you can see yourself, but it’s typically lower quality than the rear camera. When you're deciding how to film your video, it's important to consider your target audience and where they'll be watching. If your content is going on your Instagram story, keep it vertical. If it's going on YouTube, make it horizontal.
Clean your camera lens
Seems obvious but many people forget. Clean the camera lens on your phone to remove any fingerprints or smudges. Use microfiber cloth when possible.
Stabilize and position smartphone
Stablize the camera with a tripod or other support. If you don’t have a tripod, you can prop your phone against other items like a stack of books or a stack of hay to set the appropriate height and position of the phone.
The camera lens should be just below eye level when you’re in position to film. You should be looking slightly downwards at the lens. Look into the lens and not at the cell phone screen. When you are looking into the lens, you are looking your viewers in the eye. When you look at your cell phone screen, you are looking away and lose that personal connection.
If you're moving during your shoot, use a gimbal or stabilizer. Nothing screams amateur video more than a shaky video. A selfie stick is a cheap option that will work. Hands off the phone is the best bet, but these are good options if you will be moving around.
The goal of lighting is to make sure that the subject of your video is well lit so it remains the focus for your viewers. Light not only defines your subjects but can also set the mood or evoke emotion. Experiment with lighting and know where your main light source is. For instance, noon sunlight on a cloudless day creates unflattering shadows on your subject’s face, while an overcast or cloudy day produces a softer, more pleasant looking light.
Avoid having the light source behind your subject because it will make them look silhouetted. Instead, have the light source more to the side of you or behind you.
If your phone has a night mode for shooting, you can also use that. For video though, there aren't many phones out there that shoot great footage in low light.
If you do want or need extra lighting, you can pick it up relatively cheap ring lights or small battery powered LED panels that will give you more consistent and even lighting.
Audio is more important than video. If you have great audio, and something goes wrong with your video, you can still use the audio and drop in some B-roll or photos to create the video. If your audio is bad there isn’t much you can do about it. Consider buying an external microphone, either wireless or with cable. This will help you get the best quality audio for your videos. You can find relatively inexpensive microphones online.
Prepare for filming
Make sure your phone has enough storage space. You may need to backup some photo and video files on another device and remove them from your phone.
You want to take video at the highest quality setting you can, but remember the higher the video quality, the more storage space you'll need. Common video size is 1080p or 4k.
Check your battery level so you don’t lose battery while filming.
Enable flight mode
You don’t want to receive messages or phone calls when you are filming. Enabling the flight or do not disturb mode will stop those distractions.
Lock down camera settings
Most phone cameras will auto-adjust brightness (exposure) settings whenever lighting changes during filming. This is great for outdoors, but if you are filming inside even slight movements could change the brightness of your shot.
Tap and hold the spot on the screen that you would like the phone to use as a reference (your subject) to auto-configure the brightness. This will lock down your camera settings.
Do a test
Hit the "record" button and complete a quick test video. Play it back to see if you are happy with the shot and the audio.
Hit the "record" button and pause for three seconds before you start speaking. This way you can edit out the first few seconds of the video that shows you starting the recording and getting into position.
People want to hear you talking to them, but that doesn't mean you have to be on camera the entire time. A variety of shots can help more fully tell the story.
Shoot landscape, not portrait.
Look directly at the camera lens, not at yourself in the screen. This is the way you maintain eye-contact with your viewers.
Monitor background noise and activity. If there is a background noise like a car passing by, or someone walks through your shot, just leave the camera recording, wait until it's clear and start the shot over again. You can edit it out in production.
Wait three seconds after you finish speaking before hitting the "stop" button. This way you can edit out the last few seconds so your viewers don't see you reaching to hit the stop button.
Try these simple steps to get great results!
Tips for Taking Better Videos on Your Smartphone