When you start learning how to create your own smartphone movie you end up with a lot of questions. My sound is bad what do I do? My phone is old will it make movies? How do I stop camera shake?
I am answering five of the most important film making questions that will help kickstart your smartphone video project. Just remember, ‘there is no best smartphone for video’, the one you have should work.
What is Orientation? Does it Matter?
Orientation is how you hold your camera. This can be parallel to the horizon or vertical (when you make a call). For simple videos, you will post on Facebook or on a blog, horizontal works best but, for Instagram you may need to change your approach.
If your smartphone filmmaking is aimed at Instagram, check to see if your camera has the option to shoot in square format. This will keep everything within the frame and nothing will disappear at the sides. That would drive viewers crazy and they click away.
A new kid on the block is ‘vertical video‘. It’s a hot topic. Why? Because we are all hardwired to shoot and watch video with wide screens and, suddenly, things seem to be changing.
Apps like Snapchat, TikTok and even Instagram are paying attention to video in its upright format, like the photo below). Brands are experimenting with shooting their own video upright and this may help vertical video take off. The vertical format is worth exploring if you blog, vlog or make fast instant movies for immediate use. This post on Envato gives you plenty of information to review.
It may be a video fad or become an established technique. So, if your idea fits with the upright format, give it a try.
- Check my smartphone movie basics here.
My Videos Are Wobbly
One of the things video watchers notice is how steady your video is. It’s not a conscious thing – we prefer to see video that is mostly stable. So, how do you stop wobbly video?
You brace yourself against something solid or rest on something to stop your hands shaking. This might be the edge of a door, a pile of books, the floor, your knee or the side of a building. Anything stronger than you will work well.
If you know your one limitation is a lack of stability, you consider investing in a smartphone tripod. These are small, light and perfect for stabilising shaky video.
Any blogger or vlogger (video blogger) will tell you that a tripod will improve the video you shoot. Tripods also give you the chance to stand in front of the camera and demonstrate a technique or product.
- Being in front of your smartphone camera gives you authentic human engagement – people relate to you if they see you.
My Sound is Terrible! What do I do?
You have two fast and easy options.
First. If your sound is beyond rescue:
- Remove the soundtrack.
- Add music to replace it then,
- use text to tell your story.
TIP: Licensed music can be purchased from sites like AudioJungle for low prices and this makes sure you are safe from infringing copyright
Second. You may be able to adjust your soundtrack within your app or software to remove outside noise. Check your video editor to see if you can do this.
Can I Edit On My Smartphone?
Yes you can.
You need to remember that your editing app will be a streamlined version of a computer program but you can trim clips, adjust sound volume, add filters and text.
There are free and paid versions of many popular apps so if my recommendations don’t appeal explore the Apple Store or Google Play.
Here are the three I use:
These are small but sophisticated apps, so I recommend you invest time in learning to use them. Smartphone filmmaking confidence comes from learning more about your phone.
Once you learn how your chosen app works, you can create short videos for immediate upload.
TIP: Video files are larger than text files. Use a public or event network wherever possible to upload your finished movie to social media..
Is My Phone Too Old For Smartphone Filmmaking?
The first smartphones to shoot videos appeared in 2002 so the chances are your smartphone will have the capacity to shoot and store video clips.
The length of clips will be limited by your phone memory but unless you create a movie more than a minute long, there is a workaround you can use. It’s not instant but it does give you the opportunity to create your own movie.
Here’s what you do.
- If you fill your phone with clips, download them and then delete them from your ‘phone so you can get back to shooting video.
- Then edit and create your movie on your computer or tablet. Then upload to social media, Vimeo or YouTube from within the software.
Your older smartphone may be able to use some of the video apps available.
Check online so see what might work. Options may be limited by phone capacity but unless you investigate you don’t know what will work.
I hope this post helps you with some of the issues that seem to happen to all of us when we start out making movies. If I missed a question you need answering, let me know in the comments.