Vertical or Horizontal
Under normal circumstances, you would always shoot horizontally as TVs are wider and have more space for your video to cover. Shooting vertically will have two black bars on each side of the screen and is not very pleasing to look at. Shooting horizontally gives you more room to stage the scene as needed and is more aesthetically pleasing. This is great for making interviews, tutorials, TV shows and movies.
With that said, now that social media allows you to upload videos straight from your phone, including OnlyFans, it is recommended to shoot vertically. The simple reason is that smartphones are held vertically when scrolling through social media apps. It’s far more beneficial to record vertically if you intend on uploading your videos to social media. This saves the viewer from rotating their phone which can be a minor annoyance. Portrait videos are great for live streams as it gives you a free hand to express yourself to your viewers with body language.
It boils down to what content you intend on filming. If you want to be a YouTuber doing tutorials, shooting horizontally is the way to go. If you want to focus on live streams or short videos for social media, then shooting vertically is more practical.
Use the back camera
For the best image quality, always use the back camera when possible. This is because the back camera has a higher resolution than the camera on the front, creating a more flattering image. Front cameras should only be used for live streams as you may need to see yourself when performing in front of your audience.
Lighting is key
As mentioned in our 10 Tips for Making Videos blog post, lighting is a key element when it comes to good-looking videos. Like DSLR cameras, smartphones come with a pre-installed flash. But just like DSLR cameras, they’re cheap and unflattering. It’s always better to use another light source, be it the light from the sun outside or a lighting kit. Using lighting kits allows you to position as many light sources as you want and will improve the overall image quality of your video.
Lock your exposure and focus settings
By default, your phone will automatically set your exposure and focus settings on the fly. This is great for short videos but a nuisance for longer videos that require panning movements. Oftentimes, the phone can be out of focus momentarily as it’s constantly calculating what to bring into focus. This is especially aggravating when filming an interview when you’re talking and the video becomes blurry for no reason.
The best way to prevent this problem is to tap your finger on the screen where you want the camera to be focused on. By doing this you have locked the focal point and the phone will no longer keep trying to adjust your settings. Some smartphones also have a professional mode where you can manually adjust all of your settings, allowing you to be in full control of what your footage looks like.
Don’t zoom in
The main drawback of smartphones is the ability to zoom in. While this is possible and has its uses, it’s not flattering when it comes to filming videos. Because the zoom function is digital, the more you zoom in, the more pixelated your footage will be. Quite often the best solution is the simple one and just move in a little closer.
Top-tier phones have counteracted this issue though by having multiple lenses with different functions. Most top-tier phones now have a standard lens, a macro lens for close-up shots, and a wide-angle lens. It’s also possible to buy clip-on lenses which attach to your phone. Clip-on lenses are extremely affordable and there are many variants for different purposes.