12 tips for shooting better video on Android
We’re now able to shoot better video with our smartphones than ever before. With to 4K resolution, video image stabilization and high-dynamic-range, we have a wealth of cool features to capture the best footage possible. But a lot of what makes a good video lies with the person behind the camera. Today we’ll share 12 simple tips for shooting better video on Android.
1. Clean the lens
It sounds ridiculous, but you’d never take photos on your DSLR with the amount of dirt and fat found on the average smartphone camera lens. So give yours a wipe with a lens or glasses cleaning cloth, or just use your shirt.
2. Don’t cover the microphone
Pay attention to where the microphone is and make sure you’re not covering it up when you shoot video. There’s nothing worse than getting that great video of an alien landing only to muffle its intergalactic greeting with your chubby paws.
3. Use both hands
Two hands are often better than one, and shooting nice smooth and stable video with your smartphone is one of those times. Nothing makes a video look worse than awkward jerks and jumps that could have easily been avoided if you’d only been able to hold your phone steadier.
4. Keep it horizontal
Never shoot vertical video. Once you’re in landscape orientation, try to find a horizontal line and keep it level in the frame. Use the horizon or the line of a building as a reference to try to maintain a level angle. There’s nothing worse than making people seasick when you show them your festival videos.
5. Watch out for high contrast areas
Be careful when you have areas of super bright sunlight or artificial illumination and dark shadowy areas. Your smartphone will struggle to balance out these areas and you’ll be left with blown-out lights and inky blacks with no definition. Try to position yourself somewhere where contrast won’t be so high.
6. Charge your battery
Shooting video, especially 4K video, consumes a lot of battery life, so before you set out to capture some unforgettable moments make sure you have enough battery power to actually record them. If you have a spare, removable battery or an external battery pack, take that with you.
7. Clear up some memory
4K video also fills up memory extremely quickly. If your phone has a microSD card slot make sure you’re recording your video to the microSD card and not the internal storage. If it doesn’t, try to free up as much internal memory as possible before you start shooting. Running out of storage at the critical moment is not an option!
8. Avoid moving from dark to light areas
If you’re tracking a subject from a dark to a light area you’ll get some crazy white balance when the subject moves from shadows into light. The same goes if you’re moving from light areas to dark or vice versa.
9. Don’t use digital zoom
Digital zoom sucks, we all know it. So instead of messing up your beautifully framed shot with it, use your feet to zoom instead. Just keep your phone as still as possible and slowly approach your subject. This may take a little while to perfect, but it sure beats crappy digital zooming.
10. Be fluid with your movements
Try to find a nice rhythm to your movements so you maintain a constant speed when panning. Try not to jerkily tilt up or down – this is jarring in the final video.
11. Shoot in HDR
If your phone has a high-dynamic-range (HDR) video setting, you should try it. HDR videos produce greater contrast than standard shots and this can really bring outdoor scenes to life.
12. Slow it down
One of the biggest dividers of good smartphone videos and bad smartphone videos is the speed at which the camera moves. Try it for yourself: record a simple panning shot around a room. Move your camera fast for one, and slowly for the other. Which looks better, hmm?