Taking Better Video With Your Phone or Pocket Camera

by | Oct 4, 2010 | At Checkerboard, Integrated Marketing, Web Development | 0 comments

As more and more of us get smartphones and pocket cameras, there are more opportunities to capture video than ever before. Video can be a powerful means by which to inform and educate potential customers about your products and services. You can grab a quick testimonial from a recent customer, or maybe capture some video of your products in action. Your WordPress site is an important means (or maybe your primary means) by which you generate business, so it’s an ideal place to put this video. But just because video is easy to capture doesn’t mean that it’s easy to do well. Here are some tips for recording better video when in the field, specifically addressing the use of phones and small video recorders.

  • Be sure to shoot in landscape mode so that the video frame is wider than it is tall (just like TV). This isn’t always obvious, as it usually means turning the phone or video camera on its side.
  • Try to hold the camera as still as possible. Because they are so small and light, phone and other small video cameras are very sensitive to movement, and this tends to show in the video. This is easy to overlook because it is not apparent as you are recording. It can help to brace your body against a wall, lean your arm on a railing, or even grab a broom handle or other stick to use as a quick monopod, which can go a long way in helping stabilize video.
  • Leave room after you start recording and before you stop recording. If you start recording immediately when you start talking (or stop recording immediately when you stop talking), often times it will get cut off and will appear jolting. At the beginning, press “record”, and then count off “one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand” to yourself, and then cue the subject to start. At the end, let the subject finish, count off again, then stop recording. This can always be trimmed to length in editing.
  • If possible, avoid making any other noises behind or off camera when the subject is talking. You are using the built-in mic on the phone/camera, which is not a directional mic. As a result, it will pick up sounds from many directions. In addition, because your subject is going to be 5-10 ft from your phone/camera, your subject will not be as loud as if they had a mic near them. Limiting other sounds/noises will help to ensure that the subject’s audio is picked up, loud enough and clear as possible.
  • Review the video after you record it. You may notice a glitch, something getting in the way, or an odd noise. You may have to record it again, which is ok. It is best/ideal to get the first take and not have to spend too much time recording video, but if you notice problems I would suggest doing another take.

Capturing quality video isn’t as easy as it looks, but remembering a few simple tips and techniques will add some production value and make your videos stand out from the pack.

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