Public Relations // Social Media
Apr 6, 2017

Tips on How to Create Great Videos with a Smartphone (SMMW17)

One of the best workshops I attended during Social Media Marketing World ‘17 was by Justin Brown, from His session was great because he introduced us to a step by step process to producing videos using your smartphone. “Use the gear that you have with you,” said Brown. 

Justin Brown from explains how to shoot videos with your phone.

The best part of this workshop is that he turned 10-15 minutes over to us, the audience, and asked us to pair up with the person sitting beside you and record a video!  We all took a big gulp and then dived in! My partner in crime on this exercise was Jared Ell of Indiana State University. We recorded a short video of each other and learned a bit more about each other’s jobs. 

Here are my notes on Brown’s tips for shooting video:

1) Decide if you are using the front or rear facing camera. Rear facing gives you higher quality.

2) Stabilize your phone. Use tripods, selfie sticks or even a stack of books. Get the phone at the right level, below eye level.Put the lens slightly below eye level. Brown told us that by looking down slightly, you are in a power position for presenting. With Instagram or Periscope, the camera can be vertical but for all other social channels, the camera needs to be horizontal.

3) Clean the camera lens. (‘nuff said!)

4) Add a wide angle lens to give you an increased field of view. A wide angle lens is great for capturing more of the backdrop, adding a more cinematic feel, and making rooms look bigger.

5) Lighting. I think we all know that lighting is super important. Brown suggested lighting yourself first, and then the background. You don’t have to buy an expensive lighting kit–start by using what you have lying around. Use windows or natural lighting strategically. 

6) Connect a microphone. If they can’t hear you, they won’t watch the video. There are several different microphone types:

  • Built-in mic on your smartphone (make sure you sit close to phone and don’t record in the wind)
  • Wired lapel, approximately $20
  • Shotgun, approximately $50 (good for more than 1 person)
  • Wireless,  approximately $400

7) Prepare your phone for filming.

  • Check the storage on your phone. Make space for the videos. You need at least 2.5 MB of space for 1080p; 5 MB for 4K
  • Check  your battery
  • Set recording quality to 720p or 1080p. If you have an iPhone: go to Settings > Photos & Camera. Pick the highest quality that you can.

8) Switch on Airplane Mode/Do Not Disturb

  • Disable WiFi, Bluetooth or 4G
  • Put your phone in Do Not Disturb mode. You want to block calls or messages.

9) Lock down the camera settings

  • Exposure and focus. Select directed point of focus/exposure and hold to lock. This prevents changes in exposure or focus while shooting.
  • Use an app called Filmic Pro to unlock settings like white balance, ISO and shutter speed.

10) Record a test video. Shoot a 5-10 second test video and play it back to confirm.

11) Shoot your video! Press record, move into position and wait 3 seconds before speaking and at the end.Talk to the camera lens, not to yourself on screen.


Coming up next
In the next blog post, I’ll share tips for editing your video.