Hints & Tips Series


With a smartphone in nearly every pocket, here you’ll find hints and tips on how to get the most out of your smartphone’s video capabilities.

These days there is no expectation that you will produce a Broadcast quality video to highlight your business for social media and web. Your customers want to see you, your products and services. You can achieve great videos with just the smartphone in your pocket… and a few hints and tips to get you started.

Know your recording settings

Before you start, check your recording settings. Filming in 1080p at 30 fps (frames per second) is usually the default. This is an HD recording that will work well on all platforms, from YouTube to social media. It gives you good flexibility without running out of space too quickly.

To learn more and feel confident that you have the right settings for your needs, we’ve outlined the basics in our post here.

Airplane mode

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.


Stabilise the camera. Smooth, stable footage will give your video a professional edge. Lean against a wall and use your body to keep your phone still, lean your phone against stable objects or invest in phone supports or tripods for use in most cases. Specialist equipment is also available for filming on the go – great if your business means you are moving about a lot. Check out all the details here:

5 shots per sequence

For each sequence aim for 5 shots from different angles and viewpoints. Obviously this is a rule of thumb, but it is a good place to start until you find what works for you. 5 shots gives your viewers variety and gives your video energy.


Filming on your phone works best if you can overlay an audio track, such as music or recording a voiceover. This doesn’t work in interviewing situations where you will need to think about recording quality audio. An easy fix is to record the audio onto a separate phone using a microphone built into the headphones.

If recording outside, keep the mic out of the wind, use anything you can as a shield, including your body if nothing else is available.

Slow motion

Many editors use slow motion to give a look to their videos that feels modern and provides contrast in the finished product. To use slow motion, the footage needs to be recorded at a higher frame rate – most smartphone do this, with some even offering an ultra-slow mode.

Go edit!

Now you have the footage, it’s time to get stuck in and edit the footage together so that it conveys the messages that you want it to. This is a big topic. I am planning a new series that will go through the different editing options available, from in phone apps, all the way through to desktop software that requires time to learn.

If you would like help to edit your footage, we offer an editing only service that supports you and your business to grow a library of video that will help your customers to understand more about you and your products.

Tips for great video using your phone

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