Seven pitfalls for shooting corporate video with a smartphone

December 13, 2021

Even if you have a budget for an agency to create your commercial, sometimes the expensive service decreases the return on investment. In our hands, we all carry devices often good enough to accomplish our precise corporate video wishes. The beauty of some commercials is that they are filmed with a phone. Among the advantages of this approach is the feeling of a higher authenticity and the closeness to reality and people. It is also convenient, relatively easy, and very probably – faster. However, capturing video with a phone does not necessarily make it cheaper. Look, for example, at the final captions of the movie “The Bucket”, shot only with iPhone XSH. You will find that quite a big budget is allocated for lighting, sound record, a director of photography, casting director, sound engineer, hairdresser and makeup artist, music composer, assistant director, camera assistant, editor, colourist, and even VFX composer.

With a smartphone, you can shoot corporate video, which is extremely suitable for social networks and internal use in the company, for example as part of a strategy for communication and motivation of a team. And with these tips, you will get an even more effective visualization.

  1. Gimmick frame of the composition – One of the most popular framing approaches is called “rule of the thirds”. Activate a grid on your camera and pay attention to where the four lines cross. The rule assumes that these intersections are the best places to place the most crucial elements of your composition. The subject does not have to be at a crossing point straight but close to it. 
  2. Avoid zooming in – Professional photographers know that digital zoom is annoying. If your mobile device does not have optical zoom, you will need to physically get closer to the subject. Because smartphones typically use digital instead of optical zoom, they will digitally resize the image and its pixelation. As a result, a lot of digital noise in the visual appears, which kills its aesthetic value.
  3. Pay attention to the light – The smartphone cameras have smaller lenses and image sensors. Therefore, unless the goal is to make the movie appear darker and more dramatic, shoot in more luminous places. Avoid pointing the camera directly at bright light sources. When shooting in the open, make it quick and avoid the middle of the day when the shadows are stronger. Be careful when using the flash, as it may illuminate the subject inappropriate. For evening photos, choose the night mode on your phone, but keep in mind that few phones out there shoot great footage in low light. You can buy extra lights, some of them at very affordable prices. 
  4. Make the image steady – To avoid distorted or blurred visualization, you need to keep your phone stable during recording. Stabilizers and tripods are a reasonable answer, but if you cannot allow even them, place the smartphone on a table, shelf, or chair.
  5. Shoot from different angles – Depending on the spot type, you can shoot short pieces of 10 to 15 seconds from different perspectives. After creating the master shot, focus on small details and capture medium or close-ups. The video will become more dynamic. It is crucial to combine and fix all the rims and edit them to look like and feel a whole. You can also use the transition effect. All you have to do is, for example, install a suitable program like InShot, and choose the white icon you see on your timeline, where one video ends and another begins. Once you click on it, transitions will appear.
  6. Focus manually – Press and hold on one part of the screen to activate the AE (auto exposure) / AF (autofocus) lock function. That will adjust the exposure and focus on a specific screen part. It gives a good expression and focuses on the whole frame. More about the settings and manual focusing see here:  
  7. Record quality audio – The sound of the video is just as important as the image. It gives emotion, credibility, and atmosphere to make it impressive and spectacular. The smartphone’s microphones are usually not of good quality. So you can invest in an external microphone or record the sound with a second smartphone near the audio source, use the authentic noise or add music with clear copyrights. 

Several types of videos are perfectly suitable for phone shooting – like demonstrations and product utilization, packaging – all that could profit from close-ups. Also appropriated are funny commercials, video invitations and announcements for an upcoming event or its coverage, fun and casual spots, as well as ads that stand out with raw video.

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