While I’ll admit I’m not an expert at smartphone video, there are guidelines to shooting better video that I’d like to share. I’ll concentrate on shooting video with the iphone, although most of the principles apply to shooting video with anything. We like to keep the length of videos here at The Press to less than two minutes. That is said to he the length of time someone will watch a video before losing interest. Of course, longer videos can be more compelling with the right subject matter and editing. But here’s some tips that are helpful: 1- Fill the frame. This is really referring to composition. Make sure you’re close to your subjects and everything around the subject is not distracting. Move in close, and then move in closer. You’ll be amazed how much better the clips will look. 2- Focus. Tap the screen on the iPhone to focus in on the subject before shooting. That tap will also set the exposure for your subject. 3- Steady cam – Hold the camera as steady as possible. Better yet, try and lean the camera against something solid or set it on top of a table or pile of books. Shaky video is annoying, and will lose an audience in seconds. There are grips or mounts that cradle the phone and make it easier to hold. It’s up to you how serious you are about video. 4- Shoot lots of short clips and combine them into one video using one of the many apps available. I use the iMovie app, which is relatively easy to use. One long clip had better have something really compelling. 5- Try unusual angles. A good rule of thumb is to shoot at least eye level to the subject. If you’re shooting video of children or animals this means dropping to your knees or lower. Also try the super-high and super-low angle. 6- Audio – Whenever you can, use the microphone that is part of the ear buds when someone is talking. It really cuts down on ambient noise, like the wind, and will give you a cleaner sound. When you’re shooting without a mic, one trick is to use your hand to cup the microphone at the end of the camera. It captures sound better and cuts down on some of the distracting, ambient noise. 7- Think horizontal – Don’t hold the camera like a phone, Video looks so much better when shot in a horizontal or landscape position. 8- Lighting – Smartphones can do amazing things. But they don’t handle photos or video in poor light. Make sure there’s enough light to see the subject. Move them closer to the light source or bring the light closer, move near a window, but not in front of a window. Good rule of thumb is keeping the light at your back or from the side. Let me know what your secrets to better video are and I’ll share them.
Using an iPhone, filmmaker Devan Blackwell, of Mays Landing, films a scene in downtown Atlantic City for 'The Speak Project,' a feature length film about bullying.