Mobile phones are designed for many tasks. In a single, compact device you have a digital camera, MP3 player, video player, and any other services you can think of. Yes, your mobile phone is a jack of all trades and is slowly redefining the photography and videography industry.
Today anyone with a smartphone can effortlessly record a video and broadcast it to anyone. However, it takes a lot more than that to shoot professional footage. Yet with practice and knowledge of a few video production tips and tricks, you can record an award-winning documentary, school project or an indie movie with just your mobile phone. Below are some mobile videography tips used by elite Videographers in Dubai.
1. Shoot in landscape, not portrait
Nothing screams amateur like two black vertical bars along both sides of video footage. Although this is an exception with screens that have a portrait orientation, it's not for devices such as computers or televisions that have landscape-oriented displays.
The good news is that you can avoid this amateur mistake by turning your phone on its side and recording your footage in landscape orientation. Not only will this format make your video more aesthetically pleasing, but it will also make it more pleasant to watch when viewed on a widescreen. Additionally, proper orientation ensures that your subject completely fills the frame.
Smartphones are fitted with LED lights that are incredibly bright and can easily affect the color temperature of photos. Thus instead of rushing to use the flash feature on your phone, consider one of the best sources of light; natural light such as the sun. All you have to do is face your subject towards the source of light. On the other hand, if you need to record a video at night, you may want to consider other sources of lighting apart from the flash feature on your phone.
Moreover, it's essential to avoid backlight settings. This is because, while it's possible to see people and their faces when they are backlit, your mobile phone camera can't, and it will produce footage with bright light haloing a dark figure. Moreover, your subject will not have any visible features, meaning you'll miss what you were trying to capture. To avoid backlight, consider basic light setup and configuration.
3. Stability is key
Although your mobile phone is small and extremely light, it can be held steadily using both your hands and locking your elbows into your body. Alternatively, you can invest in a tripod to eliminate slight involuntary movements that could potentially ruin your footage. Generally, you'll need an adapter clip for your smartphone when using a tripod.
4. Avoid using zoom
It may be tempting to use the zoom feature on your mobile phone for a closer shot of your subject. But there's nothing as unfortunate as using the digital zoom, which is readily available on your smartphone. What this does is basically incorporate a few software tricks that make your subject seem closer without any substantial amounts of pixelation.
If you want to zoom in using your smartphone without losing the vivid, crisp quality you want, simply walk closer to your subject and record your footage. Alternatively, invest in high-tech smartphones that allow you to take tight shots of your subject or object.
5. Focus and exposure
Mobile phones will automatically detect and adjust focus and exposure accordingly, which is excellent when taking quick snaps. However, when it comes to recording a video, you require more manual control to lock this feature and avoid leaving your footage overexposed and out of focus.
To control this, simply tap on your subject using your mobile phone's default camera app to manually lock the exposure and focus of your video. Moreover, you can adjust the exposure and focus of your footage while filming. Nonetheless, manually setting the focus is an excellent technique that allows you to get close to the subject or object and need your camera to focus on a specific area.
6. Audio recording
It's no secret that good quality audio is essential for a powerful and professional video. The good news is that the microphones on mobile phones can get the job done. You can invest in audio accessories such as Bluetooth microphones to improve the audio of your footage. Alternatively, you can use external professional microphones that can be connected to your computer to record audio.
7. Try out slow motion and time-lapse, but don't overdo it
The majority of mobile phones come with inbuilt slow-motion and time-lapse features in the default camera application.
The slow-motion mode allows you to capture videos at an accelerated frame rate, which, when played back at normal speed, the action in the footage appears much slower than real-time. On the other hand, time-lapse allows you to record footage at a lower frame rate, which, when played back at normal speed, the action moves faster than in real-time. Although these modes are great for capturing excellent footage, it's essential not to overuse them. For instance, the slow-motion feature is fantastic for capturing unusual movements that the naked eye can't see, such as action shots. On the other hand, time-lapse is great for footages that span over some time such as moving clouds, people walking or the sun setting, among others.
A little editing here and there goes a long way in making your footage as professional as possible. The best part is that you can do this on your mobile phone, so you won't need fancy or expensive gadgets to get the work done.
Generally, you can perform necessary trimming, adding transitions, effects, or titles using your smartphone. Whether you're shooting an indie film or a school project, your mobile phone can streamline the process from beginning to end to ensure you get the best results.
Today, recording a professional video is smooth and effortless, considering you have all the tools you need within the stretch of your hands. Thus, if you are considering leaving a mark with your next vlog, film, or documentary, apply some of the tricks mentioned above for more powerful and professional footage.