5 Tips to Shoot Better Video on your iPhone

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We all know that getting that perfect shot is not always as always as easy as wiping out your iPhone and pressing record. It takes some skill and a little insight into how your phone works to understand how to get a great looking video. In order to help you improve your iPhone videos abilities, here are 5 tips and tricks to make your footage look better, as well as gain a better response from your audience.

Composing Your Shot

Composition, the most important aspect of your shot! Getting a great video means composing the video scene like an artist might compose a painting.

Composing your shot means making sure the objects in your scene are placed correcting and in an appealing way. In general, great composition is achieved when shooting with the Rule of Thirds. What’s the Rule of Thirds? Below is an example of a shot that is framed using the Rule of Thirds.

The idea is to place the subject of your shot close to one of the four corners created by the grid lines. Arranging your scene in this way gives your users an easy way to understand the context of your shot, and is much more appealing to the eye.

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If your having a hard time remember how to use the rule of thirds or exactly where your subject should line up in your scene, no worries! The iPhone’s got your back! Head over to your phone’s settings and scroll down to camera. Toggle on the “Grid” option. Then, exit the settings app and click into your camera. You should now see a grid overlay on your camera screen (this should look like the image above). This grid, like the image above, will help you line up your subjects using the Rule of Thirds.

Lighting your Scene

One of the most important aspects of your scene is the lighting. And, while lighting can be a very complex process if your trying to be exact, most likely you’re just trying to fill your subject and background with a proper amount of light. To do this, try turning your subject so that they are facing the light source.

The iPhone calculates the exposure of the shot automatically, so shooting with the light at your back with help you to have even light coverage across your scene, making it easier for the camera to know how bright to expose your shot. If your scene is too bright try tapping on the scene where it’s too bright, and then, placing your finger back on the screen, raise and lower your finger to manually set the expose level until it looks best.

Good lighting is crucial to taking a great video. If your still having trouble with your lighting, try moving to another location or using something semi-transparent, like a sheet, to cover up part of the light source. While this might not always be a good option when trying to take a quick video with friends, this technique can come in handy for videos that deserve a little more effort.

Camera Orientation/Knowing your Audience

Depending on who/how you intend to show your video to/with should influence the orientation on your video. It’s become a common myth recently that people don’t like watching videos that are shot in a vertical format (Shot the way you naturally hold your phone).

Most professional tech bloggers will tell you that vertical video is less appealing and harder for people to watch. This is why I added “Knowing your Audience” to the title of this section; knowing who will be watching this video, and most importantly, how they’ll be watching the video should help you choose how to shoot. For example, statistically, videos shot horizontally are more appealing and as such, viewed more, when watched on a computer or tv. This is because the video can use up the full width of the screen giving the viewer a better experience. On the same note, videos that are shot vertically have better engagement with a mobile audience. Mobile viewers like that they can enjoy a full screen experience without having to orientate their phones in a direction that is less natural to hold. YouTube has realized this and has began allowing viewers to upload videos shot vertically. Most likely some of your favorite YouTubers have even began uploading vertical videos, or at least experimenting with it.

It’s important to pick the correct orientation for your intended audience. Start by deciding who you will be sharing your video with and then decide how they will prefer to view that video.

Stabilizing Your Shot

Nobody wants to watch a shaky video that looks like you were taking your yearly jog while shooting. Thankfully the iPhone is made to help with this. If you have a new-ish iPhone you will most likely have a camera on the back that contains something called optical stabilization. The linked gif below shows an example of how this feature works. When the camera lens is touched by the tool the camera moves slightly. This is how your camera stabilizes itself while you’re shooting. When the phone sense that your moving your hand in a particular direction the camera moves the opposite direction, making up for the movements you are making. If you’re wondering why this is necessary, try doing a little experiment.

Grab your phone, while holding it point the iPhone camera to your left or right, so that the edge of the phone is facing you. Close one eye and watch your phone closely. Do you see those tiny micro movements? Without the camera stabilization all those tiny movements would be very noticeable in your footage.

See how the iPhone Stabilizer works here —> i.imgur.com/yIivFnG.gif

If you notice that your video is still shaking, even with the assistance of the image stabilizer, try holding your phone with 2 hands. While holding the phone place your elbows against your body, using your whole body to make your intended movements while shooting. This will keep the phone from making unintentional movement.

If you’re STILL getting a shaky shot, you might want to invest in a mobile gimbal. A gimble makes similar to the image stabilizer in the phone, but on a larger scale. The DJI Osmo Mobile is a great stabilizer for your mobile phone that doesn’t cost a fortune. It works great and will help give you the shot you’re looking for.

Click the image below to learn more about the DJI Osmo Mobile


Add Motion to Your Shots

Great video is more than just making sure you have the proper settings, subjects, and scenery. Adding a little motion to your shot, whether that be moving side to side, panning up and down, or making stylistic choices in your movements, the idea is the same. Adding motion to your shot allows your viewer to see a wider view of your environment, and allows them to understand what’s going on in your shot. Allow your subject to roam in your scene. Sometimes it’s good to have your subject in the middle of the frame, but most of the time it’s better to allow your subject to move more freely within the view of your frame, while keeping in mind the rule of thirds.

Finally, while motion can add a lot to your shot, don’t over do it. Keep your shot stable, as mentioned above, and make sure that your foreground (the parts of the scene that are the furthest from you) don’t move to quickly. AKA - If you’re in a train and you point your phone out the window is the foreground close to you and moving very quickly, or are you looking at some mountains in the distance that are moving slowly. Slow, smooth, and intentional motion is the key to making your shots look amazing!

Well that’s it! 5 tips to make you better at shooting video on your iPhone. Go out and shoot some amazing footable. The world is waiting for you, go capture it!