How to Shoot Great Video on Your Phone

July 9, 2024

While we at Waves are all about high quality video production, with the release of better and better cameras on our smartphones, creating excellent video is just a click away. Here’s how to stay on budget, and shoot great video on your phone.

Is Video Shot on Your Phone Good Enough for Your Brand?

Let’s take a second and appease any skepticism you may be having. Because yes, when we started Waves 15+ years ago, recording high quality video was nowhere near an option on your phone! But much has changed from phone camera quality, to audience demand. So, let’s discuss.

For one, while not meeting all the quality standards that pro level cameras do, your smartphone still has continually improving qualities and capabilities. To give you a rough idea of quality comparison, watch the video below to see some differences (and similarities) between the iPhone 15 Pro camera vs. a more “pro-sumer” level camera.

The other point to be made is what viewers require regarding quality level. With the popularity of social media platforms such as TikTok, selfie videos (with more of a “homemade” feel) have risen in success. Why is this, you may ask? For one, it gives off the relatability factor, which can inspire trust in viewers. So, weigh your video objectives when deciding the level of quality necessary.

Video Format: Horizontal vs. Vertical

For most of video recording history, horizontal has always been the best option. Why? Because it is the most common format for distribution. Televisions, computers, and laptop screens respond better to this format, requiring no “black bars” on the sides of your video when playing.

However, since the creation of the iPhone, vertical video has slowly risen in the ranks. As of 2023, 70% of the digital video audience preferred viewing on their smartphones vs. otherwise. And with the rise of YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels, vertical video has become a solid fixture. So, which to choose?

Again, it’s all about purpose. What are your video objectives? Is your audience more likely to watch your content on social media? Or are they going to be viewing it on desktops or via television ads? Also, what length is your video? Generally speaking, vertical video caters well to shortform video whereas horizontal video works great for long-form. Factor these choices in, and start from there.

Lighting and Audio

If you’ve read any of our blogs, you’ll likely have heard this from us before: all great video requires good lighting and sound. Why? Because these are two factors that can encourage (or deter) a viewer from continuing to watch your video (or click it in the first place).

Acquiring adequate lighting is, actually, not that difficult. For one, natural light works super well for videos! Be aware of any reflective surfaces while filming (these could be wearing glasses and/or a nearby window). For more tips to get started, watch below.

When it comes to audio, you have some options. For one, the internal mic built into most current smartphones can work just fine. But, should you want to up your sound game, you can always shop here to find fantastic equipment (as well as super helpful customer service). Remember to film in a quiet space, so no distractions make their way into your final take.

Stability, Video Resolution, and Setting Up Your Shot

Another quality of great video is its stability. Meaning, is the picture still and steady? Video that jumps and is rocky can disorient the viewer, and lead them to opt out quickly. Thankfully, buying a video tripod is quite simple (and inexpensive). Here’s one you can purchase, to help keep your shots smooth.

Most modern smartphones also have the capability of “touch focusing”: meaning, you simply tap where you want the focus to be on your picture, which brings heightened clarity to the shot.

The next point to consider is your video resolution. Again, each smartphone’s abilities vary, but on most newer iPhones, for example, you have the option to shoot in either 4K or standard. Without getting into the nerdy details, 4K is a higher resolution and, thus, a better picture when you blow it up on larger screens. For how to make this switch on your iPhone, click here. Just remember: higher quality video takes up more space on your phone, so be sure there is adequate phone storage space before filming.

Lastly, you may have heard of this phrase “The Rule of Thirds”. It’s a guideline on how to set up an aesthetically-pleasing shot. Basically, it divides your shot into 9 parts, using two equally spaced horizontal and vertical lines. By following it, you create a more interesting picture, adding the much-needed depth to your shot. For a visual example, see below.

Editing Your Video

While filming your video is, obviously, important, editing it is equally so. Think of shoot day as the moment you take out all the puzzle pieces; then view editing as when you put them together.

Editing video from your smartphone can be quite easy. Smartphones, themselves, have this capability built in. Tools such as cropping, trimming down, adding filters, etc. can be found on most phones these days, as well as a vast array of options on the app store.

Social media platforms also provide some level of editing tools. On Instagram and TikTok, for example, you can do all of the above, while also adding music and/or closed captions. Should you want more advanced editing options, however, you’ll do well to invest in better editing software, such as Davinci Resolve, Final Cut Pro, or Adobe Premiere.

With the above tools, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a pro videographer yourself. 😉 As you create, embrace the importance of storytelling in your filming, and keep your objectives clear while doing just that.