Top 7 Tips on How to Shoot Better Videos With Your iPhone
The iPhone can be used for shooting amazing full HD videos, it can take great stills and it can easily fit in your back pocket. Everyone can become an amateur videographer with this little but powerful device. So if you are on budget and want to take shoots that look professional you are in the right place. In this post you we are going to give you the best 7 tips you can implement right away and start shooting amazing looking videos with your iPhone’s camera.
Tip #1 Stabilization
The most common issue with phone filmed videos or even with action cameras such as the GoPro is the handheld jitter. This is something that all small cameras will suffer from and it is not something you can always completely correct in video post-production.
If you find yourself filming a static shoot, the best solution to shaky footage is to use a tripod and a mount for your iPhone. These are very inexpensive and will make a ton of difference in terms of video quality. A tripod will also allow you to use your smartphone with other video accessories such as a slider for example. You can also easily pan and tilt when using a tripod, which will give your video a more professional look.
If you are filming a dynamic scene which does not allow you to use tripod you should keep your hands close to your body while holding the phone. This will minimize the shaking a lot.
Tip #2 Film in landscape mode
This might sound like a no-brainer, but you would be amazed to see how many clients of my video editing services are sending over shoots filmed in portrait mode. When you are holding your phone vertically you get those big black bars on the sides which look really, really bad and just a tiny bit of video in the middle. Of course, you can do the side blurring effect to give the final edit a more polished look, but it still looks weird.
Flipping your phone around and holding it horizontally is something you can very easily do and it will give you a nice and wide, full screen image. On top of that, when you are holding your phone horizontally you will probably use both hands, which will also minimize any shaking.
Tip #3 Use a 3rd party camera software
Unlike the stock video camera software, 3rd party apps will allow much more manual control of your iPhone’s camera. There are a few things you want to control yourself. The first and most important one is the lock focus feature which will prevent your iPhone from re-focusing every 10 seconds while you are in production.
Another two cool parameters you can control are the exposure and the tone. These will highly improve the overall video quality and it will probably save you time when you are editing the video. I particularly enjoy using the FiLMiC PRO app, but you can use pretty much any other 3rd party video camera software which will allow you to unlock the features of your iPhone’s camera.
Tip #4 Slow motion & time lapse
The iPhone does an amazing job at filming in slow motion. With a whopping 240 frame rate you can get super smooth slow motion shots very easily. These can add more style to you videos and give them a modern, up to date look and feel.
And the same goes for the time-lapse feature. All iPhone models starting with the 5s model have both slow motion and time-laps functionalities. High paced time-lapse shoots can be incorporated throughout your video to transition between different moments in time or just to make it look cool.
If you are looking to have more control over the standard time-lapse function you can download a 3rd party time-lapse app which offers more control over the camera. You will be able to manually control the focus, white balance or how often you want the camera to capture a frame and the total number of frames to shoot.
Tip #5 Lighting
Any device with a small size camera will shoot poor quality footage when the lighting is bad. And the iPhone is not an exception. So, when you are shooting inside turn on all the lights or use a lighting setup of you happen to have on. The quality of the video will be much better and you will get rid of that grainy looking footage.
When shooting outside, avoid filming very bright locations because the iPhone’s camera has the tendency to over expose. This happens because of the small size of the sensor. The perfect time to shoot your outdoor video is at dusk. These lighting conditions seem to work perfect with most smartphones.
But if you are shooting it at noon for example, you might want to find a place which has a little bit of shade, so that the scene is not so over exposed. A footage which is just slightly over exposed will be much easier to handle in post-production.
Tip #6 Use external lenses
If you want to take things to the next level and you can afford to buy some external lenses you can attach them to your iPhone’s camera. All you need is a phone adaptor mount and a lens adaptor. This will give your footage that depth of field you see in DSLR shoot footage or it will let you take macro shoots.
The downside of course is the size of the lenses which will not allow you to carry your iPhone in your pocket anymore. So there goes the portability.
Tip #7 Video editing
Lastly but not least you want to polish a little bit your raw footage in post-production. As mentioned above, almost all your iPhone footage will be more or less over exposed depending on the lighting conditions.
To handle this you will need to adjust the shadows a little bit to give it more contrast and then tweak the brightness and saturation controls. Most video editing software, even the free ones, will allow you to control all these parameters.
If you want to take things even further you can dive in to color grading the footage so that it matches the style you want.
Bonus tip: Adobe Spark
Taking thinks one step further in post-production, we are going to recommend one super cool video editing software which comes from Adobe. No, it’s not Premiere Pro and it’s not After Effects.
Adobe Spark is a web based video editing software which can also be used on your phone because they have an app version of it. This software allows you to start your video editing project by choosing a pre-defined template and then you can take it from there. Each template will offer different options you can chose from, different transition styles and various visual effects.
This is one of the easiest to use video editing software you can probably can your hands on. It is very user friendly, and it will allow you to put together your video very quickly.
So there you have it – shoot it on your phone, edit it on your phone and you are ready to go.
Cristian is a fulltime freelance video editor, founder of VEEDYOU Media. When he’s not crazy busy with editing, he enjoys hitting the gym and writing articles.