Gear

5 Practical Tips For Shooting Better Mobile Videos

December 14, 2017
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With the holidays right around the corner, we know people will be pulling out their smartphones to film all of those special family & seasonal moments. 

Whether you are shooting your next family home video, or updating your Instagram story, we wanted to give you 5 practical tips to make sure your footage is looking crisp. With endless video apps and accessories out there, these tips will work with any of them. 

Tip #1 - Use A Tripod


It sounds basic, but using a tripod is one of the most important things you can do to make your footage look more professional. Keeping that shot locked-off and nicely framed can make for a much better viewing experience and take away that classic "Cellphone Video" look. It's a much better experience to re-watch those memories years later with stable footage, rather than shaky handheld clips. 

Another great thing about a tripod is that it allows you to be in the video too. Just set it up, and let it roll for a few minutes. Then come back to it, and re-frame or move the tripod somewhere else. Our go-to video tripod for our phones is the PIXI Mini from Manfrotto. It's small, compact, and sturdy. 

Use A Tripod


Tip #2 - Lock Your Settings

Locking your settings is a great way to make your footage look even better, and it gives it  a cinematic quality. Setting your Exposure, White Balance and Focus before you hit that record button will result in a clean, consistent looking video. 

What happens when you leave everything on Auto is that the colors and exposure will constantly be adjusting, depending on where you move the camera. It can even readjust itself when subjects move around inside the frame. This might sound like a good thing, but our phones don't do the best job adjusting on their own. This results in highlights being so blown out, you can't see faces, or shadows being so dark you miss the action. It can also make for some weird looking skin tones. 

Most Apps will let you lock these settings, but our go-to App for video is Filmic Pro

Lock Settings


Tip #3 - Use Window Light

If you ever find yourself shooting indoors, and your footage isn't looking great, try moving your subject closer to a window. Get really close if you have to. 

Typically, the best light is going to be spilling in from outside. Usually it's enough light for your phone's small sensor to look good. Indoor light is one of the toughest battles with mobile photography and filmmaking, but you can find a way to make it work.


Window Light


Tip #4 - Use A Moment Wide Angle Lens 

An essential tool to have on hand while shooting mobile video is a Wide Lens. Since your phone automatically crops the frame when you switch to video mode, mounting a Wide Lens makes a huge difference. It gives you back all the perspective that normally gets taken away. 

No longer do you need to stand in the back corner of the kitchen to fit the whole family in the frame. With the Wide lens, you get some breathing room to frame up a nice looking shot and really feel like you have space to capture. 

This lens also helps in low light situations because it pulls in light from a wider angle, resulting in a brighter, crisper image, which helps with the video quality.



Use A Wide


Tip #5 - Shoot Slow Motion Outside

The ability to shoot amazing slow motion video from your phone has always been something that we've loved. Shooting 120fps and 240fps is insane and becomes rather addicting, but there is something you need to know: Your phone's slow-mo feature is terrible in low light. 

Shooting Slo-Mo requires a fast shutter speed, which your phone does automatically. Have you ever noticed that when you are in lower light environments and you switch to Slo-Mo, your image looks darker/grainier? That's because, in order to create slow motion footage, the phone uses a higher shutter speed. Shooting outside in bright conditions will yield the best results for your Slo-Mo footage – or indoors if you have a lot of light.


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