8 Tips for Creating Great Video Content on Your Phone

You may know I’ve started a YouTube Channel with my brother Max. One of our goals was to make videos on a budget. With the quality of phone cameras these days there is no need to buy fancy expensive cameras. I’ve put this list of tips together using what we’ve learnt over the last few months. I hope it comes in handy during isolation & social distancing, I want to encourage everyone to create great creative content and stay connected.

I use an android (Samsung S9). If you have an iPhone, although the details may be different, a lot of this information will still apply.

1. Record in High Quality

(but not too high!)

Set your rear video camera to a high-quality setting. I use FHD 1920 x 1080. Anything higher than that took up too much storage and didn’t look any better.

2. Improve Your Storage

We soon realised that the hours of footage fills up a phones internal memory quickly. Luckily large SD cards are quite cheap and slot into most phones easily. You can set your camera to record straight to the SD card in camera settings.

SanDisk Ultra 128 GB Memory Card

3. Bendy Tripods Rule

I’m not kidding, bendy phone holders are amazing. They can hold your phone in almost any position and easily clamp to a surface. Essential for getting that close-up shot while your hands are creating. Get lost in your craft and record the whole process in one take.

Gooseneck Phone Holder

4. Composition is Everything

Enable the 3x3 grid on your mobile’s camera settings. This will help you line-up for that perfect shot using the rule of thirds. Keep in frame only what the viewer needs to see. Tidy up that desk and simplify your visual language.

5. Stay in Focus

This is a game changer. There is a hidden feature on the Android camera that lets you disable autofocus. While recording, hold down a finger on your screen until an [AF] symbol appears. This means you've turned off autofocus and the camera will stay focused in that position. Why is this useful? Imagine setting up your camera to record a drawing, but every time your hand or arm moves in front, the camera changes focus. This creates a messy, sea-sick feeling for the viewer. By disabling autofocus, you can eliminate this problem entirely.

6. Write a Script

It might sound obvious. But thinking of what you want to say before you run through an activity can help with structure and understanding. Try not to describe what is on the screen: "I'm sketching with a pencil now.". Instead, try to add more information and talk in group terms: "We're using light pencil marks that can be easily rubbed out when the painting is complete.". As we're not there in the room with our learners, keep information relevant and easily understandable. What industry terms do you use all the time that might need some explaining for a first timer?!

7. Sound Great Too

Unfortunately most phones don't capture video-quality sound. What often sets great content makers ahead of the crowd is having studio recording equipment. Luckily we found a budget option for recording good audio straight from a phone. The Rode VideoMicro Compact On Camera Microphone can be used with Smartphones. *Make sure to use the CS7 adaptor for android phones. I have also seen a neat alternate version that clips right onto your phone, (although I haven't tried it myself).

8. Mobile Editing Apps

There are plenty on editing apps that you can use straight from your mobile. Fantastic for making short videos on-the-go for social media. Some are even free. Give them a try & have fun!


© 2020 Jake Bussell.