Phone Video Tutorial

To get started shooting video with an iPhone, we strongly recommend you watch (and re-watch) these videos from Apple.

Don’t have an iPhone? Don’t worry, you can still take great photos using the same best practices and principles by following the mobile photography best practices listed below.

Best Practices

  • Smartphone Orientation – Record video using the orientation that works best for the platform(s) where you intend on sharing the content. Shooting in vertical/portrait view works best for Instagram or Snapchat stories, but may not work well on other platforms.
  • Control Manual Settings – Try to control your video settings when possible verses shooting in full auto mode—focus, exposure, shutter speed, ISO, audio levels, etc. The Filmic Pro app, listed in the equipment section below, is a great tool that offers more manual control over your smartphone video settings. Most smartphones and tablets will give you basic control of lighting and focus settings if you simply tap on the screen where you want the camera to focus. You can then swipe to change the lighting as desired.
  • External Microphone – Use an external microphone whenever possible. Although the microphone on your mobile device will capture audio, it also may capture a lot of unnecessary ambient sound if shooting in interior or exterior locations. An external shotgun mic or lavaliere mic will focus the capture of recorded audio. If an external mic is not available, try to record your video as close to your subject as possible (within 3-4 feet is ideal) and choose a quiet location. This is the same when using an external mic—the closer the mic is to the subject, the better the audio quality. Here are some additional audio tips and best practices.
  • Audio – Try to find a relatively quiet location free from distractions, air conditioners, mowers, blowers, buzzing from lights or electronic equipment, etc. If you hear a sudden noise, just stop the interview/video shoot and re-record that part of the video. Always do a test of your audio before capturing you video subjects and listen back with headphones to make sure the audio is of good quality. People may watch a poorly shot video, but if audio quality is poor, hard to hear, or distracting, people are less likely to watch a video.
  • Lighting – Choose a well-lit location for you video shoot — one that is not too bright or dark, in direct sun, or filmed directly toward a bright window. You can also adjust the lighting settings by tapping on the screen and swiping.
  • Steady the Camera – To stabilize your video, use a tripod or monopod. Whenever possible or brace the camera against your body or another object (ensuring three points of contact).

    Mobile Video Editing

    On a computer, you can look to programs like iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, or more advanced editing through programs like Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro. Davidson students, faculty and staff have free access to LinkedIn Learning (login required) training for online courses about video editing on a computer or on mobile.

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