Since mobile phones got video cameras, video shooting has become an integral function of a smartphone. No doubt camera resolution is one of the main parameters that is taken into consideration when buying a new phone. Smartphone manufacturers do their best to provide a better video and photo quality than those of the competitors. Modern phones literally allow you to shoot a professional-looking video in a couple of taps.
However, there are several significant nuances and basic rules to keep in mind. Without knowing how to shoot a video in the right way, you can shoot a mediocre and low-quality video even on a top-notch smartphone with a perfect camera.
Let’s check what things are worth thinking of before starting your video story.
RULE 1. KEEP THE LENS CLEAN
The camera lens is an important component of any video and photo shooting device whether it’s a smartphone or a professional camera. The state of camera lens largely determines the result of the video. Thus before setting up video parameters, building a frame and choosing the moment of pressing the Start button, make sure that the lens is clean, free of stains, scratches and small debris on the surface.
Use any dry and soft cloth to clean the “eye” of your camera. You can also use special wipes for optics. They can be purchased in the salons of digital technology. Please don’t use your t-shirt to clean the lens. You can easily scratch it with small pieces of dust or sand.
RULE 2. ONLY HORIZONTAL SHOOTING!
The design of modern phones makes some users forget about the correct position for video shooting. Many people shoot video in the same position as they hold the phone – vertically. Such a video looks more or less OK on a smartphone screen. However, do not forget that you might want to transfer the finished to a PC or upload to YouTube. It means the video will be shown in a horizontal player. Your vertical video will be unpleasantly compressed and will come with black frames on the sides. No one will enjoy watching such a “masterpiece.” Besides, vertically shot videos make you look like a complete novice and don’t help you grow a popular YouTube channel.
Thus, if you want to get a high-quality and complete video image, hold the smartphone horizontally.
RULE 3. FOLLOW THE LIGHTING
As in the case of photography, when creating a video, suitably selected lighting can have a beneficial effect on the final result. On the other hand, errors in the setting of natural or artificial light can negate all the efforts of the operator.
Professional cameramen claim that the best time for video filming outdoors is in the early morning or evening, 2-3 hours before sunset. However, the bright sun on a cloudless day can also be great for your video. The main thing to keep in mind here is to make sure that the light does not hit the lens directly; otherwise, the picture will turn out to be illuminated.
Shooting indoors is even more difficult, as you must take into consideration the light temperature of different light sources: ordinary, frosted, LED or fluorescent lamps. In this case, it is also important to keep the lens away from the direct light to avoid the effect of overexposing the frame.
Another important rule is to control flash usage. The bright LED of the smartphone can critically brighten the frame, so it will be difficult to distinguish essential details.
Before shooting the main video, make a couple of tries to see if the light and flash is set correctly.
RULE 4. FIX RELIABLY THE CAMERA
Unlike professional cameras, smartphones are rarely equipped with image stabilization mechanisms. Therefore, you should take care of holding the device stably. It is especially important in dynamic shooting when you have moving objects in the frame. If you shake camera while shooting a moving object, you will get a so-called blur effect that will be difficult to fix with the software.
The easiest way to fix your smartphone is to use a special device. It can be a selfie stick, tripod or flexible holder.
RULE 5. USE DIFFERENT PLANS
Videos shot with one plan come out pretty dull, even if there is a lot of movement in the frame. Therefore, to achieve an exciting and dynamic result, you will need to change not only the point and angle of shooting but also the plans.
There are six types of plans you can mix:
- Detail – for example, a human eye, a leaf of a tree, a stone in a river, and so on.
- Close-up – full-screen face
- The first medium plan – a part of a man’s figure just above the belt
- The second average plan – a part of a man’s figure just above the knees.
- The general plan – a person or another object is located in the frame as a whole, but in such a way that some “air” remains above and below.
- Far plan – the object occupies 1/7 of the frame height and less.
RULE 6. DO NOT USE DIGITAL ZOOM DIRECTLY DURING SHOOTING
Most smartphones come with a digital zoom, which is one of the most insidious camera functions. Please note that the built-in software, in fact, makes the digital zoom. The system stretches merely the center of the frame across the entire width of the camera frame. Accordingly, fewer pixels are involved in creating the image, and the gaps and spaces between them are compensated for by the color matching algorithm.
You will see that the picture moves in jerks, and the colors are distorted. Therefore, if you want to use the zoom, stop shooting, add zoom and start recording again. As an alternative way, you can create the zoom effect with a professional video editing program.
RULE 7. CHECK THE QUALITY OF SOUND
Even if you know and follow all the major rules of video shooting, you might ruin your video if you forget about the sound quality. Pay attention to the microphone of your device. Make sure you haven’t accidentally closed it with your fingers. If you are recording a person who is speaking, move closer to him so that the audio module captures more sound.
A handy accessory for improving the sound quality is an external microphone.
RULE 8. USE APPLICATIONS
It is no secret that various applications can qualitatively complement and expand any system functionality of smartphones. For example, video capture utilities will allow you to control the recording process more precisely, and video editors will help you quickly mount a great video and share it on a blog or social networks. For example, you can use a video app by Freemake. It’s an easy video converter that will help you perform basic video editing and change file extension to a universal one.
One of the most popular and reliable video recording applications is FiLMiC Pro utility. It’s not free, but it’s worth paying for due to a vast number of functions provided by the application.
Using FiLMiC Pro, you can:
- Control focus and shutter speed
- Set white balance
- Choose codec, frame rate, and bit rate
- Remove noise
- Apply special effects
- Assign user presets
- Quickly publish finished videos on the Internet and more.
These are the basic rules for shooting video on a smartphone. In conclusion, it is worth recalling that it’s not easy to achieve an excellent result from the first time. Shoot more, find interesting plots, try various techniques – and one day you will definitely learn how to shoot mobile video as a professional cameraman.
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