Shoot Better Video With Your Phone: Best Practices

No one has to be a Spielberg when it comes to shooting high-quality videos these days.

Creating a video or going live on social media with a smartphone or tablet can look just as good as a professional recording. Here are some key tips to keep in mind.

Horizontal Works Best

Holding the device sideways allows filming in standard 16:9 format, making aesthetically viewable on all screens including TV and computer monitors.

The first instinct for most smartphone and tablet users is to hold their device upright instead of on its side. By turning the device horizontally instead of vertically, the video is optimized for all screens rather than just mobile devices. In other words, viewers can watch the video or live broadcast on a computer monitor, laptop or TV screen, just as they would a TV show or movie.

Smooth and Steady Wins Viewers

There are few things more frustrating to viewers than trying to watch a shaky video. Smartphones and tablets are small and light, which makes smooth video difficult to shoot. Mounting the device on a tripod is ideal (see links below for options). If no tripod is available, recruit a family member or friend to help. The videographer should lock their elbows into their body for added stability. If all else fails, prop the device against some books on a hard, flat surface.

Take Advantage of Natural Light

Shooting video requires a lot more light than most people might think. The key is making it work for the scene. One of the best tricks is to use sunlight coming through a window. With the blinds pulled up and the curtain open, place the camera between the window and the subject to maintain an evenly-lit scene while recording (see photo below).

Another thing to consider when thinking about light is to set manual exposure on the smartphone or tablet. Doing this will ensure that the camera does not automatically alter the light settings during the recording.

Composition 101

World-class cinematographers don’t achieve their dynamic scenes by simply shooting subjects head-on. Shots that draw viewers in and maintain their attention likely utilize a classic photography principle known as the Rule of Thirds. To help set a scene, most default camera apps have a grid setting that can be activated to assist with composition. Placing something of interest where the gridlines intersect is ideal. If recording a person, position their head over one of these points.

Audio Quality is Equal to Video

Poor audio can ruin a great piece of video and distract from the overall message. It’s also recommended to use an external microphone rather than the device’s mic (click this link for a clip-on mic and click this link for a shotgun mic). If external audio is unavailable, setting the subject close to the smartphone or tablet in a very quiet room with the air conditioner turned off can yield usable audio.


While crafting a good video doesn’t stop with the filming process, these tips are a great way to ensure projects are off to a great start. In addition to capturing video, there is editing, light adjustment, sound mixing, etc., but these are all things we at LEVO Healthcare Marketing are happy to assist our clients with. The full-service media team at LEVO is dedicated to helping clients through the creative process from start to finish. To learn more about how LEVO Health can assist your organization, request a one-on-one consultation with our team.

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