10 Clever Tips and Tricks For Shooting Better Smartphone Videos

As the saying goes, sometimes the best camera is the one that you have with you. With some clever tools and techniques, Kai Wong shows how your smartphone can be used to create usable video in the 5-minute video above.

The tips or “hacks” that Kai runs through are mostly cheap or free, with the exception of the first two. There are two pieces of equipment that will cost you something but will improve your footage beyond what your phone can do alone.

The first tip is to invest in a directional mic or a lav mic to improve your audio quality. These can plug into your phone via the audio jack (or with a dongle on certain fruity phones), and will dramatically improve the sound quality.

The second piece of gear to consider is attachable lenses. Kai makes a quick comparison between Moment and Zeiss lenses, and while the (much more expensive) Zeiss lenses are superior, the Moment lenses will give you variety in your focal length.

Because smartphone sensors are so small, they require good lighting to create a decent image. Make sure you have plenty of natural lighting available when you’re shooting, or get artificial lighting.

If you’re having trouble with blown out highlights, Kai suggests using a pair of sunglasses as an ND filter in a pinch.

And because smartphones themselves are relatively small and light, it’s easy to get creative with mounting options. Try using a clip, sticky tape, or a suction cap to capture unique angles. You can plug in earphones and use the volume buttons as a remote trigger.

A cardboard box can be used instead of a slider to get smooth panning shots on low-friction surfaces. Just set your phone on top of the box and slowly slide it to get a smooth shot.

You could also consider turning a fidget spinner into a fidget panner by taping a mount to it and attaching your smartphone, allowing it to spin smoothly.

The best tip of the video, in this author’s opinion, is to use an egg timer to create a panning time-lapse. Wind up the egg timer, clamp your phone to the knob on top and let it go as your time-lapse software gets to work.

(via Kai Wong via ISO1200)