10 Tips for Better Do-It-Yourself Videos


Smartphone cameras have gotten very sophisticated, leading many companies to choose shooting their own videos instead of hiring a professional crew, for everything from in-house training to marketing and social media. But there are a number of potential pitfalls that can lead to disappointing results. Here are a few of our best practices for shooting smartphone videos.

  1. Shoot videos in horizontal orientation, not vertical. Vertical orientation results in significant blank areas on either side when the video plays on a widescreen monitor – a rookie mistake that can make your video look crude.
  2. Frame your subject. Your video will be more visually interesting if your subject fills the frame, or sits slightly off-center.
  3. Use good lighting. Proper lighting makes a huge impact on smartphone videos since they have smaller image sensors and lenses. And make sure you’re not shooting into the sun!
  4. Steady your hand. Use both hands and hold your smartphone as close as possible to your body to help stabilize your video.
  5. Pay attention to the audio. Even if your video is high quality, poor sound recording ruins the overall effect. Use microphones and shoot in a place without background noise.
  6. Consider purchasing accessories. While smartphone cameras have improved immensely, they’re still not professional quality. Consider purchasing accessories for your phone, like tripod mounting systems and creative lens add-ons.
  7. Don’t use digital zoom. While your subject may appear closer if you zoom in, you’ll lose a lot of video resolution. The best zoom is your own two feet – position yourself close to the action.
  8. Don’t use the flash on your phone. For evening or nighttime shots, find another light source to bring your subject out of the dark.
  9. Be aware of your background. Take the time to set up your shot, and keep your background simple. Remember, the background will either contribute to your story, or distract from it.
  10. Invest in editing. In the end, the power of your video may come down to the expertise of your editor. Invest in professional video editing to add wow factor to your final product.

If this sounds daunting, you may want to consider hiring a professional to do the filming for you. In fact, here are three good reasons to bring in the video pros from the start.

  1. It’s not as easy as it seems, and bringing in a professional ensures that you start your marketing efforts with the highest quality video for editing.
  2. Your smartphone camera can only do so much. For video of the highest quality, trust professional equipment.
  3. Avoid all the wasted time of trial and error by tapping into someone with the experience in getting the best possible product – with all kinds of subjects and in all kinds of situations.

Looking to get optimum results from your video? Ask Signal about our options to handle your project from start to finish.

Patrick Jones - Video Director

By: Patrick Jones

Video Director

Patrick is an excellent illustrator and highly skilled at video production and motion graphics. He is also adept at corporate identity and logo design.

919-348-4018 LinkedIn

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