You Ask, I Answer: Recording Better Video on Smartphone?

Linda asks, “What recommendations do you have for recording video quickly and easily? The camera on my iPhone isn’t doing the job.”

Unless your iPhone is over 5 years old, chances are the camera on it is just fine. You’ve probably got three other problems: lighting, stabilization, and audio.

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In today’s video, Linda asks, what recommendations do you have recording video quickly and easily? The camera on my iPhone isn’t doing the job? Well, here’s the thing.

Unless your iPhones like over five years old, in which case it probably it’s barely functional.

The camera on most modern smartphones if your phone is less than two years old is probably more than enough, right? Most camera phones these days can record at you know, 10 ADP or better iPhones.

This one’s two years old now I think records it at 4k.

So it’s not that the phone itself isn’t doing the job.

It’s three problems that you probably have.

Number one, lighting, number two stabilization number three audio.

So there are some relatively inexpensive things you can do.

To mitigate this Alright, so let’s talk about some of these solutions that you can use.

Lighting is straightforward.

We’ve talked about this before.

A simple cheap yard sale lamp is more than enough properly positioned so that you get decent lighting.

Right most smartphones most cameras do not do well in low light.

That’s just a fact of life with any kind of camera.

The better your lighting within reason, the better the cameras gonna look.

So a couple of simple solutions.

You can get little inexpensive battery powered LED lights, these things give me you know, put on and you put them away from your subject so it’s not like this close this is too bright.

You can see that on the video, but put it you know, on a ledge or on a tripod or something.

This cute little one comes a little hook you can hang it off of things and you’ll get plenty of light if you need something a little bit bigger.

Look into a power bank that has an integrated LED panel again Like the, the little one, you can put this pretty far away and it provides some nice lighting very portable, easy, and will give you much better quality video as opposed to like sitting in a dark room all by yourself.

So that’s lighting.

second problem you probably have with smartphones is stabilization.

These little devices, they are light, right? That’s one of the reasons why we love these things.

They are lightweight, they are easy to hold to carry, etc.

That also means that they are jittery.

So if you’re trying to hold a phone and film, just minute changes in your hand, move the device.

The way to fix this is to make this device heavier and bulkier which sounds counterintuitive, but it actually makes a lot of sense.

Now there are some market solutions for this example is like a gimbal stabilizer.

But this is kind of overkill for stuff that’s probably going to be static shots.

All you really need is a simple like a monopod This is a very straightforward monopod just extend it out here a little bit and a selfie stick clip.

What you’re doing here is taking away motion at the point of device and essentially putting it elsewhere.

So put this in your monopod and now you have a much more stable platform and you’re going to have a lot less shake a lot less jitter and the heavier this thing is, the better it works if you actually have a real tripod, I like to put my phone on a tripod sometimes it it makes the video so much more stable, much less jittery.

Even if you take something as simple as one of these these silly like trade show, selfie stick mounts right and you just put this on like a five pound weight off it with all that but put on a piece of PVC.

This will do wonders for stabilizing your phone.

Taking out that jittery handshake that makes your video look unprofessional.

This here even just this stabilizes the phone a lot and bonus if you’re just shooting in a in a static environment like somebody’s desk, plunk it on the floor, and now you’ve got a camera stand.

Right so stabilization.

Second thing third thing that is probably not performing well with your phone is the audio.

And again we’ve talked about this a lot audio quality matters a great deal.

David Tim has over Kenai says the great video begins with great audio.

The camera on these phones, fantastic.

The microphone terrible.

It is a small microphone is embedded inside of a little piece of glass it is very difficult to get good sound out of it.

So there’s a couple of different solutions.

The easiest and simplest solution if you don’t mind the look on screen is a $9 wired microphone from Amazon clips on here.

This end depending on your phone may or may not need extra connectors.

plugs into the bottom your phone And now you will get near broadcast quality audio from just this little clip on mic.

It’s a very, very straightforward solution.

If you don’t like doing that or it doesn’t look good, or it’s a problem, you can get the same microphone tuck it in into somebody’s jacket and plug it into a tiny little audio recorder.

Right again, relatively inexpensive.

I think he’s like 70 bucks on Amazon.

And what this does is it records the audio separately and from the phone.

Remember that the goal of good audio is always to get the microphone as close to your mouth as possible.

Right so when the phone is eight feet across the room over there or whatever, it’s gonna sound terrible.

It’s gonna sound like you’re talking as I have a giant tin can when the microphone is inches away from your mouth either on your jacket or or there’s other microphone options like a shotgun microphone, but the Lavalier is the simplest easiest and hardest to screw up.

That will get you great quality sound You will if you go the audio recorder route, you will need to take this an audio and put it into a video editor and sync it up with the the recorded video on the phone.

Generally speaking, that’s one of the reasons why you see movies students have clapboards, you know those things would we it seems to make that loud snapping sound.

It’s not just for decoration.

It is so that when the audio editors working, they can line up that loud clapping noise in a video editor and make it sync up.

easy way to do if you don’t have a clap board, just clap your hands.

And you’ll see in the editor, those two claps, you can line up the sound that way.

So that’s generally what goes wrong with video when people are talking about the phone not being good enough.

It’s bad lighting, no stabilization, and it’s bad audio.

If you solve for those three things, there’s a really good chance that your phone can look and clean create great new your studio quality video.

There was a great video done by the band Evanescence not too long ago called wasted on you.

It’s on YouTube and it was a shot entirely on band members phones, they were, as we all are under a shelter in place as we record this in mid 2020.

And they had to make do with what they got.

So the director told them what shots to take, they took out their phones, and then with a lot of post production, and you can see it because the post production stuff folks can do things that make video look like anything else black and white, you know, old style, stabilizing it after afterwards, you can do a tremendous amount in post production, but it was shot on phones, right.

So even though it is a polished production.

It started with one of these devices.

So those are the recommendations that suggest if you want to spend more money and a lot of it.

Look at a camera like the DJI Osmo pocket DJI makes a phenomenal mechanic.

electronically stabilized gimbal camera that shoots beautiful video absolutely beautiful video it is one of my favorite devices looks like this.

And you’ll see it has the ability to track you can move the camera around without the lens moving around a whole lot.

These are about $350 on Amazon.

If you shoot a lot of video, it’s worth it.

If you don’t shoot a lot of video, I would say use the much less expensive tricks to try and get more out of the existing smartphone that you have.

If your phone is over five years old, might not be the worst thing to upgrade your phone.

If you have follow up questions on this topic, it’s a fun topic, leave them in the comments box below.

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