Just as there are principles in the planning phase of your video that will significantly improve the quality of your video, following a few rules of thumb during the recording process will have you reach a much better end result.

Let’s dive into some useful tips on the following:

  • Basic settings and smartphone handling
  • Positioning on location
  • Instructing your subject

Basic Smartphone Camera Settings

Rule-of-thirds grid

One of the first settings that will help improve the visual appeal of what you are recording is enabling the rule-of-thirds grid layout. This can be done on most smartphones, and will place an overlay on your recording screen for you to frame your shots properly.

When using the grid you should strive to place the people or objects in your shot at one of the two upper line intersections. You can also use the horizontal lines to make sure that your shot is levelled properly.

Using the rule-of-thirds will give your shots a lot more symmetry and naturally make them more appealing to the viewer.

Exposure toggle

Now this is a simple setting that can have a significant influence on the quality of your footage. Most camera apps allow you to set your exposure levels before recording by tapping the screen to choose your point of focus and then sliding your finger up and down to set the exposure.

Without going into too much detail exposure basically sets the degree of light taken in by the camera lens. Simply put, this translates into how light or dark you want your recording to be.

This can be a lifesaver when the lighting conditions are less than optimal.

Positioning on location

Creating depth in your frame

A common mistake when recording yourself or an interviewee is not thinking about the background in your shot. People often falsely assume that a neutral flat background is the best option, when in fact the opposite is true.

The function of your background should be to create depth in the frame to draw in the eyes of your viewer, so make sure to create some space behind your subject.

Take a look at the two examples below. Most people will find that the image on the left is more visually appealing and conveys a lot more atmosphere than the image on the right.

Recording at eye-level when interviewing

A simple rule of thumb when recording yourself or other people in an interview situation is to shoot at eye-level the reason being that most of us don’t look too flattering when shot from below the chin.

Likewise, shooting from above is rarely a good idea as this will make the interviewee seem small and inferior to the viewer which is not something you want to convey.

Light source awareness

Not being aware of the lighting at your location is a crucial mistake that can seriously detract from the quality of your footage. You should always strive to keep your lightsource behind your smartphone when recording.

The reason for keeping this in mind is that the person or object you are recording will darken and wash out if there is a stark contrast in lighting between the background at what is being filmed.

If you are shooting indoors a rule of thumb is to keep windows behind you when outside keep the sun in your back.

Instructing your subject

Point of focus

Standing in front of a camera can be quite intimidating even for people used to public speaking. There is just something about being put on the spot like that.

To loosen up the gaze of your subject a good tip is to instruct her to focus on an imaginary person right next to the lense of your smartphone.

Calming techniques

Once you start recording you will find that very few people are able to nail the take on the first try. Making mistakes is almost inevitable.

A smart little trick to help the person you are filming relax and get that perfect shot is to blame some of the retakes on the equipment.

Here is a suggestions on how to do just that: Let’s try again Nicole i think there might have been something wrong with the audio/exposure/framing etc.

Stick to small takes at a time and don’t be afraid to instruct someone in a senior position to you – remember you have a common goal, namely creating the best possible video.

 

free ebook

Smartphone Video 2019

A Guide to Strategic Mobile Video Production

The book will give you a crash course in:

  • setting a clear goal for your video project
  • coming up with an engaging video concept
  • preparing your shots
  • recording techniques
  • basic editing principles

Click the button below to get your copy.

free ebook

Smartphone Video 2019

A Guide to Strategic Mobile Video Production

The book will give you a crash course in:

  • setting a clear goal for your video project
  • coming up with an engaging video concept
  • preparing your shots
  • recording techniques
  • basic editing principles

Click the button below to get your copy.