The video cameras in mobile devices these days are quite amazing and easily result in high-quality footage that can be used in short web-friendly pieces.

Just take a look at this film, shot by a professional, on an iPhone:

[video_youtube youtubeid=”h5UVI-I-fGU” width=”480″ height=”320″]

What are some of the tricks to help you shoot like that?

Tech tricks

Some of it is easy, just ‘technical’ considerations:

  • Always hold the phone in landscape mode, not portrait.
  • Try to hold the phone as still as you can.
  • Hold each shot for at least 10 seconds, even if nothing’s happening, so you have enough footage to use when you’re editing.
  • Choose exactly where you’ll shoot from and don’t move the phone; instead, let the action occur in front of you.
  • Mix things up: get wide shots, medium shots and close-ups.
  • You can’t zoom once recording starts, so if you want a close-up, get right in close.
  • Choose interesting angles, such as when the phone in the video above is at the same height as the coffee cup rather than filming from the height of the person’s eye.

Content is key

Some of it is more complicated, and relates to framing in ways that make sense on small screens, taking “establishing shots” that give you a sense of where the film is taking place but aren’t so wide that the tiny little figures on the smaller screen lose their meaning, planning your storyline so that you film enough of what you need so that you’re not missing important pieces later. It’s this sort of material that is harder to learn on your own.

After that you need good editing software and a keen eye for pace and tempo. Professional editors study for years to achieve polished effects.

The maddening crowd

One new approach to making video online is crowd-sourcing the footage. One of the more famous examples is Radiohead’s “Live in Praha” where 50 fans filmed the concert from a variety of angles. After the footage is created, it was edited together by a professional editor to make a feature length film that is available online for free (article here | full YouTube playlist here).

Others include well-known “life in the day” projects which are user-generated don’t specify that they must use phones for filming. Again, the footage is amateur but the editors are professionals.

For example, Ridley Scott and Kevin McDonald’s Life in a Day project (also see the YouTube channel) and the 11/11/11 project.

tinderspark is currently involved in producing a crowd-sourced documentary for HubSydney. If you want to be involved, come along to any of the HubSydney events.

We’ll also be running a “how to film brilliantly on your mobile phone” workshop on Saturday December 1 from 1.30–5.30pm. The class will be $150 per person with a discount for HubSydney participants.

Please contact us if you’re interested in attending or you need the link to the Google Drive for uploading your video to the project.

[Image credit: ChrisDag]