Turn your phone onto airplane mode. You don’t want phone calls, texts, notifications etc to come through while you are recording.
It’ll be annoying if you’re in the middle of your best monologue yet and you can’t remember what you were saying!
Hold your phone HORIZONTALLY!
Sorry if I was yelling then. My bad. But… this is the MOST important step. Turn your phone so you are recording horizontally / landscape (NOT vertically / portrait). Unless you are absolutely sure you will only ever use your video on Instagram then this is very important. You will have many many more editing options available to you. From my years of editing, it is always easier to crop a horizonal video into a square or vertical format, but nearly impossible to do anything that looks polished or professional from a vertical video for use on youtube or websites.
If you only take 1 thing from this Taking Video With Your Smartphone series, make it a habit to record video in landscape mode. Thank you. Rant over.
Quality picture depends on lighting. You need much more of it than you think. Your eye is fantastic at adjusting to the available light, a camera not so much. (Of course this isn’t true for professional cameras which can get amazing results in low light, but we’re talking about smartphones here.)
Get as much light as possible into your shot. Turn on all available light sources, even during the day time. I carry with me a small USB rechargeable light that serves many functions – to spotlighting a closeup, or lighting someone’s face when filming.
Never film with a window behind your main subject. It is a good rule of thumb to have the main light source behind you without casting a shadow over your shot.
Rule of Thirds and Composition
The Rule of Thirds and good composition. Divide the area inside your screen into thirds. The points where the lines crossover are the best areas to put your subject to make for an interesting shot. When interviewing, use the bridge of their nose of a point of focus.
When recording people keep eyes level with the lens. This is usually easiest to watch and more flattering than video taken from below. When interviewing, it is best to talk to the side of the phone, not directly into the camera.