The iPhone has an amazing video camera, but just clicking record may not produce a high-quality image. Here are some tips for shooting better-looking video using an iPhone.
You can shoot high quality video that’s ready to edit and upload to your website using the ever-improving iPhone camera, but if you just pull it out of your pocket and click record, chances are the end result will not look up to snuff.
Here are some quick tips for getting the most out of your iPhone’s camera. While some of these suggestions are iPhone-specific, many can be applied to other smartphones, too!
I. Don’t shoot vertical video
We’re living in a widescreen world! Laptops, televisions, your Twitter feed, and your website are all examples of places where a vertical video probably won’t look great. So nake sure you shoot horizontally!
II. Use a tripod
No matter how steady your hands are, your iPhone is going to have to work pretty hard to stabilize a handheld shot. If you’re editing multiple takes, slight movements can be really distracting, so it’s definitely worth the extra effort to stabilize your shots with a tripod.
Our favorite iPhone tripod adapter is the Joby GripTight, which is around $20.
III. Don’t use the iPhone’s zoom
Avoid the temptation to use the iPhone’s built-in camera zoom. Since the lens isn’t zooming optically, you’re just enlarging the picture digitally, which means you will quickly enter the world of unsightly pixels.
If you want to get a closer shot of your subject, just move your feet closer until you find the perfect shot!
IV. Light your video
The built-in camera flash on the new iPhone will never compare to using off-camera lights. There are a ton of professional lights that you can buy, like a ring light or Westcott’s Ice Lights. If you’re on a budget, you can also hack together a decent lighting kit from Home Depot for under $100!
If you can’t get your hands on any studio lights, the iPhone looks great in natural light, so position yourself facing a window and use the sun.
V. Use the exposure lock
The iPhone will automatically focus and expose your shot. This can be a great function for quick photos, but when you’re shooting a video of one person talking to the camera, it can really complicate things. The iPhone tends to keep adjusting and refocusing, which can lead to jittery-looking footage. That’s why we recommend using the exposure focus lock. This will help to keep the focus and exposure constant throughout your shot.
VI. Get your microphone close to your subject
A general rule for clear audio is to get your microphone as close to your subject as possible.
When shooting video with an iPhone, it’s best to position a second iPhone directly above the subject’s head to record the audio. Creating a simple voice memo should do the trick!
Another option is to use an external microphone. You can plug a powered mic, like the Sennheiser ME66, into a KV microphone adapter, and it’ll send the audio from the microphone directly into your iPhone.
Pro Tip: Clap once at the beginning of each take to create a reference point for syncing the good sound from the voice memo with the bad sound from the video recording.
VII. Use a clip-on lens adapter for wider shots
Sometimes, you just need a wider shot, and the iPhone’s fixed lens will limit how wide your shots can be. Being able to capture a wider shot is especially handy when you’re shooting indoors or in small spaces.
A great workaround is to get a clip-on lens adapter. I’d only recommend using something like the Olloclip when you need to get a wider shot, but in those moments, it sure is handy!
VIII. Use slow motion wisely
You can get some amazing shots with the iPhone’s built-in slowmo, but make sure the choice is motivated and fits your story. A shot of someone skiing will probably be great in slowmo. A shot of someone typing on their computer, on the other hand, might not be so interesting.
IX. Edit on your computer
There are some pretty cool editing apps available for the iPhone, but they still don’t beat editing on your computer. When you finish shooting, plug your phone in, offload your footage, and import your videos into your editor of choice.
If you’ve never edited a video before, there’s never been a better time to start! The iPhone’s camera combined with some minor editing can unlock some serious potential. Free tools like iMovie have made editing easier for everyone.
X. Use the camera you have
If you thought you needed to go out and buy a DSLR or to make a video, think again! Sometimes, the best camera is the one you have with you.