How To Shoot Amazing Videos On Your Smartphone

How To Shoot Amazing Videos On Your Smartphone

With incredible cameras being built into the latest smartphones, budding filmmakers no longer need to splash out on a professional DSLR to shoot high-quality videos. Even professional filmmakers such as Steven Soderbergh are reaching for their mobiles, with his recent thriller Unsane being shot entirely on an iPhone 7 Plus.

Whether you're new to shooting videos on a smartphone, or simply frustrated that your recordings don't look Hollywood quality, our top smartphone videography tips are sure to help.

Check your settings

While you're unable to swap and change lenses on a smartphone, there are a handful of adjustments you can make on most handsets to increase the quality of your videos.

The majority of mid-range and premium smartphones are now able to shoot in different resolutions, and offer a variety of frame rates. As a general rule, the higher the resolution, the more defined your recording will be.

With a better resolution, you'll have more freedom to edit your video in post-production too - ideal if you ever wish to crop the frame to focus on a particular subject. You can even shoot in 4K on advanced smartphones such as the iPhone X and Sony Xperia XZ2, but be aware that 4K videos require a lot of storage space. You might want to consider a solution like iCloud or Google Drive if you plan on shooting footage this way often.

As for frame rate, the film industry standard is currently 24 frames per second (fps). You can also shoot at 30 fps and 60 fps on handsets like the iPhone 8. This increase in fps will give your video a more fluid appearance and - when you reach the likes of 60 fps - make slow motion possible.

For Android users, you can adjust camera settings directly in the camera app itself. Steps vary from handset to handset, but the most common way to adjust frame rate and resolution is by tapping the settings icon.

For iPhone users, just head to Settings > Camera > Record Video and choose your preferred resolution and frame rate. Easy.

Keep things steady

While most smartphone cameras now have optical image stabilisation built-in, you'll want to take extra measures when shooting a video to keep things smooth and steady.

An easy way to keep shakiness at bay? Brace yourself by tucking your elbows into your sides, then hold your phone with two hands.

If you plan on recording for a while, you might prefer to rest your phone on something stable for support instead. Alternatively, you could buy a tripod designed for smartphones or - for those thinking about going pro - a specialised mobile stabilizer rig.

Experiment with a time-lapse

A cool technique that's guaranteed to impress, a time-lapse will showcase something developing or changing over a few hours, or even days, in just a few seconds. Time is sped up, but no detail is left out.

Popular uses for time-lapse videos include watching a fixed location turn from day to night and the movement of clouds A great way to mix up your videos whatever you choose to do, both Android and iPhone users can make the most of the technique.

Anyone with an iPhone running iOS 8 or above can create a time-lapse without the need for a third-party app. Open up your camera, swipe left until you reach time-lapse and hit record. Whenever you're ready, press stop and head into Photos to view the result.

Alternatively, you could download Lapse It Pro - available on Android and iOS. For just £2.99, you'll have access to all the app's features. Not only can you import an existing video and transform it into a time-lapse, you can shoot new videos within the app itself, change the resolution and frame rate of a video and even add music over the top.

Choose the best video editing software

One sure way to give your videos a professional-looking feel? Some fantastic editing. It doesn't matter if you just want to share a 30 second clip with friends or are planning on producing a short film, spending time on post-production can completely transform your video.

There are plenty of highly rated apps to discover, from those that simply get the basics right every time to more complex apps offering features for experienced videographers.

A must-have for beginners using an iPhone is iMovie. Straightforward and easy to navigate, you can quickly make cuts, use trailer templates, add split-screen effects or even import your own music in a few taps. Adobe Premier Clip is another go-to for smartphone videographers old and new. Trim videos, easily drag and drop clips and choose from a wide selection of slick transitions and effects.

If you're serious about smartphone videography, consider FLMiC Pro. It'll cost £11.49 on Google Play or £14.99 on the App Store, but it comes with hundreds of advanced features you won't find elsewhere. To name a few, you'll be able to manually control ISO and shutter speed, choose from a wide range of aspect ratios and resolutions, customise and save presets, access gamma curve controls, use a tri-mode histogram and so much more.

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