I’ve talked before about the importance of having a solid video strategy, as well as how I launched a mobile video web series in 48 hours. While mobile video apps make it easy to shoot and share video, there’s always room for improvement, even if you’re just making quick and dirty videos on your phone or pocket video camera. Here are my top 5 tips to help you make great videos.
1. Don’t think—shoot! While I’m offering some solid tips today, the best thing about mobile video is that as long as you have a smartphone, you’re ready to go! There’s little need to set up and think about your shot. If you have a simple tripod for your smartphone, you can have it set up on your desk and pointed at you, ready to record in a matter of seconds.
2. Think about lighting. While the latest smartphones have excellent cameras, video quality in low light can be a mixed bag even with top of the line tech. Especially when shooting indoors, where lighting is often quite bad, lighting is a huge concern. The number one rule is avoid backlighting, i.e. situations where the light is behind you. That means no standing in front of windows, no standing behind the sun, etc. But even some situations that aren’t exactly categorized as backlighting can be bad—a lamp next to you on a table might illuminate only half your face. Instead, try to put your lighting sources behind the camera and make sure they’re facing directly at you. This positioning might mean you’re staring at a bright light or squinting towards the sun. Don’t blind yourself, but the more light you have, the better you’ll look on video!
3. Don’t forget audio. One foolproof way to make sure your audio sounds good is to speak loud and clear. Yes, your camera or smartphone might be only feet from your face, but that doesn’t mean your audio will necessarily be clear. Viewers may be watching your videos on phones or laptops, devices with decidedly sub-par audio systems. The louder you are, the better chance your viewers will be able to hear you! Another option is to look into a microphone for your smartphone. One device I like is called the iRig, a $60 microphone that plugs directly into your iPhone. This way, you can talk straight into the mic and be sure you’re getting clear audio.
4. Keep it going. The first few times you appear on video you might be nervous. Even if you have great conversational or people skills, video is a unique challenge because you’re talking to a camera, not a person. The only way to get better is to practice, practice, practice. The more videos you make, the more comfortable you’ll start to feel!
5. Watch yourself, over and over. Make sure you watch your own videos, even if that means filming several takes as practice. It may seem strange at first, but that’s okay! If you’re not watching and evaluating yourself, then how are you supposed to find out that your audio is quiet, or that you’re not making eye contact with the camera? Another thing you can do is find people you trust and get them to critique your videos. It might be hard to do—some friends will hesitate to tell you what you’re doing wrong, but if you can find someone you trust and whose opinion you value, make sure they see your videos!
These are my top tips for mobile video, but far from the end of my knowledge. As a regular contributor to the TODAY show, CNN, and HLN, I find myself in front of a camera more often than not. If there’s an area where you’re struggling, let me know and I’ll see what I can offer to help you make the best videos you can!
An entrepreneur by nature, Mario made his passion his career by quitting his day job and founding Mario Armstrong Media. Follow Mario at @MarioArmstrong. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.