Hold device horizontally, not vertically: This tip tops every expert’s list, so you know it’s a must.
“Vertical video is useless for sharing on a corporate intranet or on a sharing site like YouTube,” says Drew Keller, owner of video content creator StoryGuide. “If you shoot video vertically, you get those black bars on either side of the image, which isn’t engaging for your viewers,” and can visually impair your video.
When you hold the device horizontally, you’re taking advantage of its natural aspect ratio, and the black bars will vanish.
Steady the device: Stabilize your phone or tablet so you don’t take shaky video. Even a little bit of movement is hugely distracting for the viewer.
“If you’re bobbing and moving, so will the image the viewer is watching, forcing them to try to track the subject,” Keller says.
At the very least, hold the camera close to your body using both hands, and with your elbows by your side, instead of at arm’s length, which will minimize bobble, he suggests. You can also improvise by propping up the device on some books or a flat surface such as a table top.
Many tripods include frames or holders for such devices, and they fold up super-small for easy transporting.
Jay Harel, vice president of product management for Kollective, which provides enterprise video platform applications under the Kontiki brand, suggests seeking out stabilized tripods if you’re planning to create phone or tablet video while on the move.
“They compensate for the movement you get when you’re filming in a moving car or walking around,” Harel says.
Follow the “rule of thirds”: It’s what pro photographers do, and it’s easy for the rookie—with a bit of practice. Imagine that your phone or tablets screen is divided into three sections, both horizontally and vertically.
“Don’t center the subject right in the middle,” says Tim Ryan, founder of TAR productions, a video production company based in San Diego.
Place one element in one third of the screen and another element, such as an interviewee or background element, in another third. It makes for a more pleasing composition.
Balance lighting: Lighting your subject appropriately—that is, keeping faces well lighted while avoiding harsh shadows—is one of the biggest challenges of shooting video with a mobile device.
“Most offices have overhead light and large windows,” Keller explains.
Overhead lighting is designed to illuminate what’s on your desk, but unfortunately it creates raccoon eyes on people’s faces—not a good look. On the other hand, “windows are also a problem because the sensors in the camera don’t have as much latitude between light and dark as our eyes do,” Keller says. That means a video shot near a window can throw the face into darkness.
“Getting light on the face is important, so I recommend turning your subject around so they’re facing the window,” he advises. “Positioning yourself with your back or side to indirect sunlight will create a far more engaging shot.”
Ruth Sherman, a speaking and media coach for celebrities and executives, is a fan of using daylight as an alternative to office lighting when shooting phone or tablet videos. “Shoot videos outdoors or use daylight as much as possible,” says Sherman. “It’s the best light, and the most flattering,”
With your partner, go out and shoot the color blue.
Shoot your partner doing things involving the color blue. Get three versions of a shot: a wide shot, a medium shot, and a close up.
Each scene should be at least 10 seconds long. Have at least a minute of total footage.