Video is one of the most important and effective types of content for a brand to leverage. Depending on your business and budget, you may be looking to produce some of your own video content.
Today’s smartphones are equipped with such advanced camera technology, it’s now easier than ever to make professional-looking brand videos on your own.
Unfortunately, even great technology can’t always compensate for poor technique. To help with this, Prolex Media has compiled seven basic tips to help you create great-looking brand videos using just your smartphone.
- Set yourself up for success.
Think of this as your pre-shoot checklist to prepare that you can ahead of time to avoid any obstacles or pitfalls. Do you have enough storage space for high-quality video? Is your battery fully charged? Have you set your camera to the proper resolution? Is your lens clean? Do you have a plan for capturing audio (see #6)?
- Plan orientation for output.
You should almost always shoot your videos in landscape orientation. If not, a vertical-shot video will show up with ugly black bars on each side of your frame when you share to a platform with a landscape output orientation. Most platforms that are based in the vertical portrait orientation (such as Instagram or Tik Tok) will compensate for your landscape-shot video by resizing or allowing you to crop your video.
- Steady those hands.
There is nothing more nauseating than trying to watch a shaky video. When shooting, ensure you use both hands and stabilize your phone. You can do this by resting your phone on a flat, stable surface, by using a smartphone tripod, or, if you’re standing, you can rest your elbows on your torso to stabilize your arms. If you plan to shoot a moving subject, we recommend looking into an affordable smartphone stabilizer gimbal to help take the bounce out of footsteps.
- Frame for fame.
Composition refers to how your on-screen elements (subject, scenery, props, etc.) appear in respect to each other and within the frame itself. Get close to your subject (don’t use manual zoom!) and use the “rule of thirds” to compose a nice shot. Essentially, if you imagine your frame divided into thirds horizontal lines, your subject's eyes should always fall on the top dividing line. This will give the impression that your viewer is seeing eye-to-eye with your subject. Many smartphones have a grid option that will guide your frame. Also, make sure to set your “lock focus” on your camera by tapping your subject’s face on your screen. This will help keep consistent sharp focus on your subject’s face throughout your shot.
- Let there be light (the right kind).
You should always avoid using the ghastly flash on your phone. Rather, be aware of natural or provided lighting and use it to your advantage. The best days to shoot a human subject are overcast days because the clouds act as a natural diffuser to light your subject evenly without shadows. If you plan to shoot on a sunny day, try to shoot earlier or later in the day—midday shoots will result in undesirable shadows cast on your subject’s face from the sun being directly above. That said, you should always avoid backlighting when possible (having the light source behind your subject) because this will result in a silhouette effect.
- Don’t overlook (or underhear) audio.
Shooting a professional-looking video may be easy on the eyes, but if you forget about capturing quality audio your entire message could be lost. Ensure you always have earbuds on site to test your audio quality. If you don’t have access to an external microphone, a simple trick is to use an additional smartphone to capture audio on a voice memo and put it in the front pocket of your subject to capture their audio, then you can synch up this audio with your video in post-production.
- Add that post-production polish.
If you ignore the above tips, you may not be able to salvage a poorly shot video in post-production; however, you can do a lot with a number of free post-production apps to make your smartphone-shot video look even more professional. Some considerations might be to trim clips, edit sequences, sync external audio, or add music and titles. Remember, the more effective brand videos are short in length and follow a consistent look and feel throughout each video.
We hope you have fun shooting some quality brand videos using your phone. And remember, if you need help building a video strategy or creating more advanced video content, you can contact Prolex Media to help you out.