Four on Friday: How to Maximize Mobile Video

It goes without saying that video is essential for communicators and marketers in the 21st century. There has been a surge in the use of online video, and by the end of next year, 18-34-year-olds will be responsible for 90% of online video views. The proliferation of mobile devices with high-quality cameras and increased access to video hosting services has created a world where anyone with a smartphone can film and upload videos for the world to view online.

The challenge for communicators is leveraging mobile video effectively in this brave new world. While the optimal choice is to employ experienced video production services, there are times when that is just not an option.

It is in those moments, when the budget is maxed out or a leader needs to quickly respond to a crisis, that many communicators are forced to rely on the phones in their pockets. However, shooting quality mobile video requires more than just a good phone. Technique matters. Here are four basic tips to make sure you film quality mobile video.

1. Film horizontally

Tip number 1

Most people are accustomed to holding a cell phone handset vertically; however, video recorded like this doesn’t show well when it is replayed on a horizontal computer screen or television. The internet is full of ice bucket challenge videos that missed this important lesson.

2. Be ready to be steady

Tip number 2

While newer mobile phones and tablets feature image stabilization, it is still important to stabilize your camera. Leaning against a chair or a wall can help, but I recommend a tripod of some sort to hold your phone or tablet.

3. Consider your environment

tip number 3

As sophisticated as your mobile device is, it still falls short compared to professional equipment. It can’t handle extremes in lighting or audio very well. Wherever you film, consider the lighting and ambient sounds in your environment. Try to position your mobile device so that your subject is front-lit and background noises are the least likely to interfere.

4. Film multiple shots

Tip number 4

Depending on your needs, you may want to consider  filming multiple shots or angles, and editing them together afterwards. Many mobile videos are static and don’t do much to keep viewers engaged. If your video is going to be longer than 10 to 15 seconds or would benefit from b-roll to provide context, take time to film additional shots.

In addition to these filming tips there are numerous accessories and applications you can purchase to turn your device into a higher quality piece of hardware. To take your filming to professional quality, I would recommend an external mic, lens adapter, and some sort of stabilizer. You can also greatly adjust what you film by using a video app to improve the look and feel of what you shoot. Filmic Pro and Cinema FV-5 are just two of the apps you can use which enable greater control of the footage you film.

Do you shoot video with your mobile device? What are some of your favorite tips and tricks?

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