Ever since I decided to give YouTube a try over a year ago I have absolutely fallen in love with making videos. Whilst I’m still not quite up to speed with uploading regularly, I am always filming little clips of the children or the days out we take. After taking part in Xanthe Berkley’s Make Film course I discovered how to make my films just that little bit better by thinking about content and different angles and filming styles.
Whilst I do like making films on fancy equipment – after much waiting I finally ordered myself a Canon G7X and, oh my, how I love it. However for the most part I use my iPhone for filming as it’s so handy to just get it out of my pocket and press record. Today I thought I’d would share a few tips I’ve picked up for filming on your mobile to help you create great videos without spending a lot of money on expensive camera.
1. Make sure you film in landscape mode! I think most people who upload to YouTube are aware of this by now, but if you aren’t then do make sure to turn your phone on its side when filming. Otherwise you get those hideous black lines down each side of your videos and you can hardly see what has actually been filmed.
2. Try and film where there is plenty of natural light. Phone’s aren’t great for their quality in a dark setting, so if you can find somewhere that has light you’re off to a good start. Try and notice where gets the best light in your house and when – for me it is by our bay window in the front room around lunchtime, so if I want to film the children I get them to do something by the windows I can film. But do remember to get the light behind you otherwise it will make the subject too dark.
3. Set the focus. By pressing down on the screen on the area you want to focus on, your camera will retain that point of focus even if you move your phone around. Once you have down this you can also raise or lower the exposure to make your scene lighter or darker. Do this by sliding the sunshine that appears to the right of your focus.
4. Use slo-mo and time-lapse. I absolutely love these extra features and used them a lot as part of the Make Films course. Slo-mo is my all-time favourite, as it makes footage look so dreamy and whimsical. I love filming the children running or playing, or even just laughing in slo-mo. Time lapse is harder to get good footage from as you have to leave it running for quite a while to get enough. It is also worth using a tripod for this as standing for fifteen minutes getting enough footage makes your arm ache!
5. Change the resolution. If you want high quality footage, then you need to make your resolution higher. If you go to settings > photo & camera and scroll down to Record Video, you can choose your resolution. I film in 1080p at 30 fps as that gives me slightly better quality but doesn’t take up all the memory on my phone.
6. Use your headphones as a shutter. One thing I learnt recently which is a fantastic tip is that by pressing the plus button on your headphones (obviously when they are plugged into your phone) you can take a photo or set your phone to start filming. What a useful little trick!
Some accessories you may want to invest in:
A tripod. I use the Joby GorillaPod and bought myself a separate iPhone mount, but you can now buy to two together pretty cheaply. A tripod is really handy for getting footage that isn’t really shaky and as the GorillaPod has flexible legs you can set it up when you are out and about so easily – I once wrapped mine around a tree!
A light. I bought myself a softbox set a year ago and if I’m filming indoors I use it every time. It came with a daylight bulb so you don’t get an orange glow and it means regardless of the weather I can film a decent looking video.
A lens or two. I invested in a 3-in-1 clip-on lens for £4.99, just to add an extra element to my films. I haven’t used it a lot but it is a lot of fun experimenting with it.
A mic. For only £7 a clip-on microphone is worth the investment if you struggle to get a decent sound recording. I haven’t bought one yet myself, but when I’m filming sit-down videos where I talk to the camera my sound can often be quite low so this is next on my list.
A remote. I’ve only just heard about the HISY but it sounds fantastic, and only £16. Basically it is a bluetooth remote which can be used to take a photo or start filming away from your phone. Brilliant for setting yourself up and then filming when you are ready.