5 tips for better videos with your smart phone
By Toss Gascoigne
Smart phones take high-quality video footage, which can provide lively pictures of research in action to illustrate your presentation or website. Learn to use your camera well.
Tip 1. Always video with your phone horizontal
People watch movies in landscape, not portrait. So give them what they want – a wide image without those annoying black bars down the side. And it’s easier to handle a horizontal camera. Avoid Vertical Video Syndrome.
Tip 2. Shaky videos look awful, so keep your camera steady
You can use a commercial product like a GorillaPod. This stand keeps the phone steady while you record. It works on flat surfaces, or can wrap it around poles or lamps. Otherwise, try and keep your hands steady – place your elbows on a flat surface.
Tip 3. Choose natural light if you can
Natural light is best, and outdoors on a cloudy day gives great even light without sharp shadows. Phone cameras get high quality results, but not if you shoot a dark subject against a bright background. Or vice-versa. So shoot people in gentle shade against a dark background, like heavy foliage.
Try to always have the sun behind you or to the side of you when filming
Tip 4. Don’t move the camera to capture all the action
Point the camera at the action and hold it steady, to capture people and movement in your shot. When you finish that shot, point the camera at something else. You’ll get better vision and tell a better story than if you try to chase the action by waving your phone around.
Tip 5. Edit those shots
All footage needs to be edited. At its simplest, this is ‘topping and tailing’ to get rid of irrelevant parts. Splicing footage together, inserting still shots and editing the soundtrack come next. It takes less than a day to learn, and the finished product improves dramatically. You can download (for free) MovieMaker for a PC or iMovie for Macs.