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Take better videos on your iPhone or Android phone with these 8 tricks


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

It is by no means been simpler to shoot professional-level video at house. Smartphone digicam know-how and modifying software program simply retains getting higher, between Apple’s ProRaw mode on iPhone 12, Google’s computational photography tech on the Pixel 4 and Pixel 5 and Samsung’s incredible zoom capabilities on the Galaxy S21. And we’re solely anticipating additional digicam innovation on the forthcoming Pixel 6 and rumored iPhone 13 and Galaxy S22.

However nonetheless, it takes greater than digicam to take good movies. You additionally should know the right way to use your telephone’s digicam methods to the very best of their talents. Right here, then, are my high suggestions it’s best to be mindful when making your personal video at house this yr, whether or not you are participating in a TikTok trend, upping your influencer recreation on Instagram or simply capturing recollections with your loved ones.

1. Take into account what you need your video to be 

Earlier than you begin, it’s best to give a little bit of thought to what you need your video to incorporate. It might simply be a full movie of every little thing that occurs over your kid’s upcoming birthday however contemplate making it a bit extra particular. Maybe a video all in regards to the video games you play collectively, or them opening their presents. 

Having a particular story to inform — even a fundamental one — will assist you to contemplate what photographs you may have to get, and it will assist you to shoot and edit solely what you want, moderately than having limitless hours of footage to sift by. 


For my video, I made an inventory of photographs I knew I wanted, and likewise made a tough storyboard to assist develop my concepts for angles.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

For my very own festive video (embedded above), I made a decision to point out how I make my very own scorching mulled cider. By protecting it to a particular subject I used to be in a position to decide precisely the photographs I wanted and in what order, and even sketched out a storyboard of photographs forward of time. You do not have to go that far, however having a tough concept in thoughts will assist a terrific deal.

2. Set your telephone up correctly 

Virtually all current smartphones can take nice video, nevertheless it’s price testing the settings to be sure to’re able to go. Your decision settings are as much as you, however full HD (1080p) might be start line, because it’ll look good however will not replenish your telephone’s storage too rapidly. You possibly can ramp it as much as 4K in case your telephone permits, and even drop it to 720p in the event you’re on an older system that will not deal with modifying as properly.

3. Preserve your video clips quick and candy

Whereas it is easy to face and movie a five-minute clip of somebody peeling potatoes for dinner, the truth is that once you watch that again, you may understand it is method too lengthy to stay attention-grabbing. As a substitute, contemplate protecting every clip to round 15-20 seconds in size. You may be stunned at how lengthy 15 seconds of video truly looks as if once you watch it again, and having numerous shorter clips reduce collectively will give the video a extra partaking, extra skilled really feel.


Do not overshoot — I solely wanted about 5 seconds of this overhead shot within the completed video, so capturing a minute or extra of footage would have been pointless and time-consuming.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

4. Stabilize your telephone

There’s nothing that may smash a video fairly as simply as shaky hand-held footage. In case your telephone has a stabilized video mode, ensure it is turned on. If not, think about using a small tripod to maintain your telephone regular. This after all additionally permits you, the filmmaker, to be concerned within the motion as properly, which is nice in the event you’re the one doing the cooking, or handing out presents. 

5. Get artistic with angles

An effective way to enhance the cinematic qualities in your movie is to experiment with totally different angles. Say you are capturing the second your baby takes a gift from beneath the tree at Christmas — do not simply movie them out of your standing place close by, however as a substitute contemplate how one can seize that second in a extra thrilling method. Even perhaps put the telephone contained in the tree, among the many presents, so that you see your baby reaching towards the digicam to retrieve their present.

There is not any finish to the methods you possibly can play along with your angles, so have a take into consideration how one can shake issues up. You possibly can all the time attempt to reshoot sure issues from a number of angles (or arrange a spare telephone or digicam for one more angle) after which reduce them collectively in your video editor afterwards. In my video, for instance, I needed to point out the cinnamon and ginger being thrown into the pot, so I used two angles: one from a first-person perspective trying into the pot, and one other the place I might positioned my telephone behind the pot to point out me throwing the components in. It is little components like this that may make a giant distinction general.


I used a tripod to get this overhead shot, and used a small LED gentle to brighten up the cider within the pan. It isn’t a sublime setup — the sunshine is simply balanced on a roll of paper towel!

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

6. Enhance the audio

In case your video will embody individuals speaking to the digicam — maybe your baby thanking Grandma for the current — you may need to ensure your telephone can seize that audio clearly. For the very best outcomes, contemplate shopping for a small exterior microphone just like the Rode VideoMicro, which plugs into your telephone’s headphone jack (or the ability port, by way of an adapter) and can dramatically enhance the sound high quality.

In the event you do not need to put money into further gear there’s nonetheless rather a lot you are able to do to assist. Turning off or not less than decreasing background music or closing the doorways to drown out kitchen appliances will make an enormous distinction in how clear these voices may be captured.

7. Experiment with sluggish movement and time lapses

Most up-to-date telephones have modes for taking sluggish movement video and for time lapses and each may be nice instruments in your video. After all, it must make sense to make use of them — sluggish movement to decelerate fast-paced motion, and time lapse to hurry up a protracted sequence.

In my mulled cider video, I used sluggish movement when lighting the range to present a cinematic high quality to the flames erupting, and I additionally slowed down the footage of me throwing ginger into the pot to get a terrific slow-mo impact on the cider splashing up. As it is a quick sequence it did not make quite a lot of sense to do a time lapse, however if you wish to seize the entire course of of creating dinner, for instance, a time lapse from excessive up in your kitchen, videoing you shifting round over possibly a few hours could be a neat addition to a vacation movie.


I arrange a stage for the ultimate shot: some festive orange pine cone decorations in entrance of my Christmas tree. A bit of further effort like this on the filming stage makes an enormous distinction within the completed video.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

8. Edit your video

After you have your video clips it is time to piece them collectively. This may be probably the most difficult half, particularly for these of you who’re completely new to video manufacturing. Fortunately, there are straightforward methods of doing issues. 

Some telephones, just like the iPhones ($599 at Apple), in addition to current Samsung Galaxy telephones, have built-in auto video makers that help you choose some clips and mechanically reduce them collectively into a movie, full with background music and transitions between clips. They are not all the time probably the most elegant of productions, however they’re price protecting in thoughts in the event you’re a complete newbie. 

Alternatively, look in the direction of apps like Quik by GoPro. It is free and likewise helps you to drop a number of video clips right into a challenge for the app to mechanically flip right into a completed movie. iPhone customers may even be capable to use Apple’s iMovie without cost, which is an especially easy-to-use video editor, with quite a lot of presets and kinds accessible. Adobe Premiere Rush has all kinds of modifying instruments and is constructed to be cell pleasant. It is a terrific app, nevertheless it does value $10 (£9, AU$15) a month, so it is solely price contemplating in the event you assume you may need to do extra video manufacturing.

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