• Lo Sheng Hong

7 Tips to Improve Your Smartphone Video Recordings

Just to be clear, achieving professional-looking videos require substantial equipment which can be quite costly. However, smartphones today can provide you decent video quality with the right conditions. Here we share with you 7 tips to make the best out of your smartphone camera.

1. Landscape Mode

Let's start with a simple tip to follow!

Portrait videos are fine only when viewed on phones. However, the moment they are played on televisions, tablets or laptops, the vertical orientation immediately gives an amateurish impression and should be avoided mostly!

2. Lighting

The importance of lighting cannot be overstated. Dark or underexposed images can be brightened via editing software, but only to a limited extent and might introduce "noisy" footage.

Make sure that you or the subject are illuminated sufficiently using either artificial lighting such as ceiling lights or lamps or good old sunlight from your window.

The light source should ideally be behind the camera and not in the background of the subject (try not to have windows behind the subject when recording in the day). This will help maintain the exposure of the subject.

3. Physical Zoom

Recently, smartphone manufacturers have been engaging in a "zoom war", competing who can achieve the farthest zoom while still maintaining decent quality. However, most smartphones utilise digital zoom, compensated with crazy image processing. Optical zoom on the other hand doesn't affect image quality noticeably but requires changes in focal length, which means bulkier and heavier lenses not suitable for smartphones.

Here, we introduce a new term called "Physical Zoom". It can achieve close-up images while still maintaining the same video quality. You guessed it, just move closer to your subject to achieve closed up shots! You won't regret it!

4. Framing the Subject

A simple rule to follow when shooting people is to position the eyes 2/3 up your framing (See rule of thirds). Having too much headroom (area between the subject's head the top of the video frame) would make the subject look awkward and small while too little headroom would give the impression that the forehead is chopped off.

In general, understanding the focus of the image is vital in achieving a good frame composition. For example, a violinist looking to record a home performance might want to frame only his/her upper body while a cellist might require a full body shot.

5. Wardrobe Choices

Try to avoid high-contrast colours and patterns like white stripes on a black shirt or bright red/orange clothing. Full black or white coloured clothing should be avoided too.

In general, solid colours like blue, gray or green work well.

6. Stabalising the Image

Most smartphones should have in-built image stabalisers but most of the time, they are insufficient. Invest in a cheap tripod with a smartphone mount or a gimbal if you require some movement. Even two paper clips can serve as a useful stabaliser!

You will be amazed at the significant improvement in quality with a simple purchase.

7. Audio recording

All smartphones have an in-built microphone so you might think that audio recording solves itself. However, recording both video and audio using the same devices often leads to poor audio quality.

Ensure that your environment is as quiet as possible by closing the windows and switching off all noisy appliances like fans and air conditioners. Record at night when it is quieter if required.

Invest in a good microphone and place it as close as possible to you. A lapel/lavalier microphone might be useful if your content generally consists of you or a subject talking.

Having crisp and clear audio in your video will definitely take it to the next level. Poco Productions has helped many musicians and content creators achieve professional audio quality for their videos and productions.

Contact us at for a free consultation!

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