This week we cover best ways to improve your mobile phone video quality. As phone cameras close the gap on professional ones, producing high-quality video is becoming cheaper and easier than ever. To ensure the best final product, here are tips and tools to remember:

1) STABILIZATION

The best way to improve the quality of these videos is to stabilize them. The newest iPhone includes technology that helps to remove shakiness that occurs naturally when you hold it with your hand. But even this technology leaves room for improvement.

First, attach the device to a tripod. This will produce perfectly still videos and an immediately noticeable difference in quality. Make sure the camera is level and the subjects are in focus. This works best if movement is limited.

If your subject will be moving, consider attaching the device on a gimbal that can be held in your hand and used to track a moving subject. This will give your video smooth movement as you pan or tilt. We suggest looking at SkyLab 3-Axis Gimbal.

SkyLab 3-Axis GimbalPhoto credit: Amazon.com

2) LIGHTING

Lighting for mobile video start before anyone shows up for the shoot. Walk around the area where you plan to shoot and determine generally where your shot will take place. See whether enough ambient (naturally occurring) light is present or whether additional lighting is needed. Taking a couple of test shots as a friend stands in for the talent is recommended. If those look good, you may be able to use just the natural light of the environment.

If you need to manipulate the light, go with flat lighting for a business video. This removes shadows on the subject’s face. While it wouldn’t be used for fashion videos, it’s vital that your subject move very little. This is the preferred setup for a single person addressing the video in a professional setting.

Achieve flat lighting by setting a key light and a fill light at 45-degree angles to the subject and placing the camera between the lights. Here’s an image for reference:

flat lightingPhoto credit: Dave Davis Photography

Note that there’s no overhead light or any other light source. The lights are angled, and the camera is centered with the subject facing the lens.

If you have a backdrop, consider adding a light to accent that, too. Illuminating the backdrop will help highlight the environment around the subject.

Make sure to use is soft white light instead of direct harsh light. This softens your subject’s skin and produces a very flattering shot. To set the best light levels, use Pocket Light Meter, an app that measures light accuracy.

3) AUDIO

Clear audio signifies professional video. Mics on today’s mobile devices work very well, and certain apps can ensure that audio you capture is exactly what you want. Get great audio with Voice Record Pro. While you record video on the camera, place another mobile device closer to the subject for clear audio. Using this app allows you to edit, share audio files and work quickly with recorded content. It also allows fast sharing with collaborators and importing into editing environments.

For great quality audio, attach lavalier mics to mobile devices. Attach the Movo Deluxe Lapel Mic to the audio input to capture sound directly into a mobile device. For professional quality audio, use this with Voice Record Pro.

 

For all video production needs, Twice Media Productions has a list of mobile apps that help with many aspects of video production with a mobile device. Included are:

Video Pro Camera

This lets you lock focus and exposure, independently or simultaneously, lock white balance and control frame rate, zoom and resolution. You can monitor audio levels in real time, time elapsed, time or memory remaining, and battery status. It includes front and back camera controls, is compatible only with iOS (iPhone, iPad and iPod touch) and requires iOS 6.0 or later.

FilMic Pro

One of the most popular mobile video shooting apps, this allows you to control frame rate, exposure and resolution. It includes standard, manual and hybrid shooting modes, portrait and landscape shooting orientations, variable speed zoom with zoom presets and an action slider for live shooting adjustments. Adjust video settings such as exposure, contrast, saturation, tint and color temperature after capture. It’s compatible with iOS and Android devices.

Cinema FV5

This offers full control of exposure and ISO settings. It includes light metering mode (matrix/center/spot), focus mode and white balance. Live RGB and luminance histogram are available during recording. For your video, monitor audio levels and use any audio input source — built-in microphone, external (wired) microphone or wireless (Bluetooth) headset. Compatible with iOS and Android.

Adobe Premiere Clip

This makes editing mobile videos easy. You can drag and drop clips and photos to your timeline, trim what you don’t want and alter pro features such as lighting, transitions and slow-motion effects. For even more control, add music, adjust audio levels between clips and export to Premiere Pro.

iMovie

Edit directly from your mobile device. This app lets you drag and drop video and photo clips to your timeline, edit multiple video and audio tracks, add music, effects and titles, and lower thirds. You can also export to iMovie’s desktop app or directly to favorite social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

KineMaster

This free video editor for Android supports multiple layers of video, images and text. Cut and trim clips, add multiple audio tracks, control volume, use color LUT filters, 3-D transitions and much more.

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