Have you wondered how you can get better iPhone video when you are filming yourself, or for content for your brand or nonprofit? Even though I am an advocate for using the best gear, sometimes we don't have access to anything beyond a phone. In that case, I want to help you with 7 tips on how you can get better video next time you are filming:
1. Film in landscape mode - Portrait mode is the go-to when are using the phone and taking pictures. However, because of the crop (you will see two black boxes on either side of your video in portrait mode) I recommend filming in landscape mode. This will be much more native to video formats and you can use the footage with much more ease on platforms like Youtube and Facebook.
2. Lock in your settings - By pressing and holding the center button, a yellow box will signal to you that you have locked in your focus as well as your brightness. You can adjust the sun on the right side of the box up or down in adjusting the brightness. By doing this, the iPhone will not have the focus bounce from the foreground to background and will be much more appealing to our eyes. It will also greater control of the image as well so you will expose the video properly the first time.
3. Audio - I see audio as 50% of any video production. Therefore, if your iPhone films incredible video quality, it still lacks behind in audio capture. It's important to invest in a microphone for your phone. They are not bulky and can be used anywhere that may be a challenge to get quality audio such as outdoors in the wind with a deadcat on the microphone to prevent wind noise. You can also pick up a lavalier microphone that comes with two mics for interview style video recordings.
Rode iXY Stereo Microphone (All around audio and outdoor audio capture): https://www.adorama.com/rdixyla.html
Rode SC6-L Lav Microphone Kit (Great for interviews, podcasts): https://www.adorama.com/rdsc6lmik.html
4. Apps - Apps is where the iPhone really excels. You can take up your video abilities with a couple apps that give you even more control over your camera settings. Editing is where many people get hung up but iMovie is a free app in the app store which is very accessible. If you are familiar with iMovie and want even more control and capabilities but with a bit of a learning curve, Davinci Resolve Lite is available for free: https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/davinciresolve/
Filmic Pro ($14.99): This app is the best out there right now for getting the most control for video from your iPhone. From being able to shoot in Log to manual white balance, zebra stripes, and even false color, your ability to control the video and ensure the best settings for each clip is unparalleled. A bonus app that I use for planning out shoots is PhotoPills ($9.99) which shows you where the sun will be at any exact time using the iPhone's camera and augmented reality. You can easily see if you will be filming from a location that will either benefit from the sun or need additional planning.
5. Lighting - The LED light you see me setting up in the video is this one here: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1482731-REG/neewer_90095562_led_bc_vid_2_light.html While it's a great light because of the portability, I have found the output to be limiting. I would recommend this light to anyone that wants something small and packable with portability in mind because it can be used with batteries. I would also recommend diffusing the light because LED's tend to be a bit harsh on skin without any softening.
6. Use A Tripod - This tip is essential if you are planning to film yourself on a regular basis. Videos can be difficult to watch for several minutes if they are handheld. The tripod will allow you to get exactly the right angle for filming without having to jury rigging your phone. I personally love the Manfrotto Element, it's an incredible lightweight and packable tripod that fits into a backpack and has an adjustable ball head: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1352255-REG/manfrotto_mkeles5gy_bh_element_traveller_tripod_small.html You will also need an iPhone Tripod Mount which there are several here: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/smartphone-tripods/ci/38588
7. Plan Your Video - Many times we love iPhone videos because they are raw and relatable content without a large-scale production. While, off the cuff can be beneficial once you have developed a knack for being on-camera, I highly recommend planning out your shots if you are starting. This will make sure you cover the topics you want to without forgetting, and also think of anything you may need to mention. It will help with the flow of the video and make you more comfortable which will translate through the video to the viewer. No app here, just good 'ol fashioned pen and paper.