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Great Phone Videos - The Basics

Lights, phone...action! Yes, you heard that right. Renowned film director Steven Soderbergh just shot his most recent project, "Unsane," using only his smart sidekick. So, what do you need to start creating Hollywood-quality videos with your phone? We're glad you asked. Here are a few basic tips that will help take your phone videos to epic new heights.

Select The Right Settings

Ensure that you crisply capture the visual component of your project by adjusting your resolution settings and your frames per second. We suggest a resolution of 1080k, which is the industry standard. Newer phones can also record in 4K. But keep in mind, the higher the resolution, the larger your video's file will be. Next, adjust your frames per second, or "fps." Which fps you choose to shoot your video will dramatically affect how your viewer visually experiences your cut. Hollywood-style movies are usually shot at 24fps to create a very realistic, "cinematic" look whereas videos with a lot of motion, like sporting events, are shot at a higher fps. Shooting at 30 to 60 fps will keep your motion smooth and details sharp.

Compose Your Shots

Once you've decided what you want to shoot, arrange the elements in each of your shots deliberately. You need to set the stage for your video by selecting interesting props, choosing the appropriate backdrop and carefully positioning your characters. Remember to consider the point of view that each of your scene's elements will be shot from. Will your phone's LCD face towards your protagonist selfie-style? Or, perhaps from a side angle? Maybe from the floor? How you compose and shoot each of your scenes will speak volumes when telling your visual story.

Nail The Lighting

Lighting helps set the tone for your video's scenes and can dramatically affect how your audience engages with your cut. Award-winning director Martin Scorsese once said, "light is at the core of who we are and how we understand ourselves." For example, sunlight and clear skies at noon can result in unflattering shadows on your character's face, whereas an overcast and cloudy day can lend itself to producing soft, more aesthetically appealing light. Another good rule of thumb is to avoid backlighting whenever possible, where the light is shining directly from behind your character and towards your phone's lens. This novice mistake can make the focus of your shot appear blacked-out-cut!

Record Quality Audio

Sound plays a major role in creating a piece that resonates with your audience. What would the hit movie "Saving Private Ryan" be without the chillingly accurate sounds of the beaches at Normandy? A number of smartphones are already more than capable of picking up sound with high-fidelity, but, if you want to take the quality of your audio to the next level, you can always sync a Bluetooth microphone to your device.

Play With Special Effects

Special effects can make your video look and feel more like a blockbuster hit. Slowing down or speeding up the pace can make a significant impact. Imagine using slow-mo to enhance the tragic moment where your actor screams "nooooo!" Oh yea, that's the stuff!

Now that you've got a basic understanding of how to shoot incredible videos with your smartphone, it's time to put your skills to the test. Stop into Experimax. Our friendly techs can help you find a phone that will help you unlock your Oscar-worthy potential from iPhone® to Android®. Happy filming!