Shooting Video on your Mobile Device A HANDY GUIDE
Keep it Steady - Use a Tripod
Your mobile device might have a degree of built in stabilization which is great for casual use. But if you’re recording a more formal piece on your device it’s always best to use a tripod when possible to ensure your shots are steady and level.
This is especially handy if you are editing multiple takes of the same sequence, as slight camera movements can be really distracting to the viewer.
Favour Optical Zoom over Digital Zoom
Unless your device has an optical zoom (where you can physically adjust the lens), then any time you zoom in you are simply enlarging the picture digitally. The bigger you digitally enlarge the image the more pixellated it becomes, and quality is lost.
If you need to get closer to your subject it’s always best to physically move closer until you find the perfect spot (unless you have an optical zoom lens on your device).
The built-in flash on your mobile device will never compare to using off-camera lights. If you need to light your subject then you should think about using an external light source. This is usually done with professional lighting kits but a cheaper alternative is to utilise natural light.
Simply plan your shot and position your subject in front of a window (when shooting indoors) with the camera facing them. If light is too strong you can help diffuse it using tracing paper, net curtains, or find a window with frosted privacy film on.
When shooting outdoors look for areas that provide an even light and do not fall into an extreme (I.E. bright sunlight in an open space or dark shade under a tree).
Of course, you can use extremes with light to add effect to your video too!
Think About Sound
Although the video quality of your mobile device may be great, generally the audio quality isn't. As a rule of thumb, the closer you can get a microphone to your subject the better quality audio you will capture.
You can use a number of devices to achieve this, including: lapel microphones that sit discretely on a persons tie or collar, or boom microphones that are held overhead.
A good alternative when using a mobile device to capture video is to use a second mobile device to record the audio. Position the second device as close to your subject/scene as possible (without it getting in the way) and start recording (most mobile devices have an audio capture/voice memo feature that is prefect for this).
Once you have finished shooting simply save the audio recording and match it to the video using editing software in the post-production stage of your project.
Use the Grid
The grid tool allows photographers to observe the rule of thirds when composing a scene. The basic principle behind this rule is that an image can be broken into thirds both horizontally and vertically. This breaks the image up into nine sections (as illustrated above). The intersection of each line identifies an area of importance to the scene.
Use these intersections to compose areas of interest (e.g. the focal point of the shot - this could be a person or object that is the main focus of the scene).
In addition to the intersections, you also have four guide lines to allow you to position elements within the shot that may not be as important, but help build the scene.
You don't always have to adhere to the rule of thirds, and in some cases the scene you wish to create might not call for the rule to be in play. For example, if you wish to emphasise symmetry in a scene you would centralise the object/subject you wish to focus on.
Generally, centralising the scenes focus goes against the rule of thirds but is perfectly fine if the scene requires it. The best thing to do is experiment with different shot types. The shots you might have planned out might not always work how you had hoped, so it is important to try a few different shots if you feel something is missing from the scene.