Part of the age we live in is a new found power to create professional looking videos from equipment you can fit easily into a pocket or rucksack. It’s amazing that a once complicated and expensive art form is now open to pretty much anybody, but having the tools isn’t quite the same as being able to use them. So here at Techscheme we’ve put together a little guide to help you bring out your inner Tarantino, we probably won’t swear as much though.
Before You Start
Okay, so you want to make a video but it’s not just a case of running out and pointing your device at something, you need to make sure you’re set up.
Start by charging your device fully, and packing your charger before you leave the house. It’s the easiest thing to forget to do, but shooting and editing video can be seriously hard on the battery. For that matter, make sure you’ve got space on your device, clear out what you don’t need and maybe do a little Google search for how much memory your phone or tablet needs for certain amounts of video footage. Remember, you may want to keep more than one take if you’re editing afterward.
Next, if you know what you want to capture, storyboard it out first, give yourself an idea of what shots you need so you can save time later. Think about where you want to shoot, perhaps do a little bit of rudimentary location scouting around your local area first and find out when places are quiet. There’s nothing worse than having the perfect spot before finding out that the local footy team has practice there the day you want to go, or that at 5 o’clock that house across the road blocks the sun.
Once you’re prepared, and have a decent idea of what you’re shooting, head on out to capture what you need for your project.Always make sure you’ve got your light source in front of whatever you’re shooting. Whether that’s natural light or something you’ve brought with you doesn’t matter, just don’t head out at midnight and expect that the street lights are going to cut it.
Make sure your device is level and steady (unless you’re really into Blair Witch directorial methods). For that, you can pick up a bunch of handheld gadgets or tripods relatively cheap, or you can make something yourself. Make sure you’re in landscape and compose your shot: think about something called the ‘rule of thirds’, it’s a basic concept that says that the viewing area is comprised of vertical and horizontal thirds, centring your shots on one of the nine frames within that should make for a nicer shot.
Think about what’s happening with the audio, if you’re filming outside then you’ll likely not be able to get clear background and foreground audio from a mobile mic. You can pick up pretty cheap lapel mics, or small directed mics if you really need to, but you can always just shoot with background sound and add audio over the top later.
Editing is a tough one to explain, as there are a ton of different editing apps out there, which might have slight differences in features, technique or even terminology. For Apple devices, we’d say that iMovie is great for more casual users, but anybody wanting to splash out on something a bit more professional should take a look at Pinnacle Pro. On Android, it would be hard to go wrong with PowerDirector.
All these programs have help functions and you’ll find numerous tutorials online of how to master the finer points of editing from a mobile device. In simple terms, you’ll be able to clip footage down to size, play with the speed, stitch in other footage, add title cards, effects and transitions between scenes. You’ll be able to eliminate any remaining wobbliness from filming (within reason) and overdub music or other audio.
To create any more speech audio you want in the video, perhaps a narrator or to cover some parts that weren’t caught during filming, you should be able to use your device. As long as you’re in a quiet room and you’re only recording one or two voices at a time the quality should be plenty clear enough from a mobile or tablet’s mic.
Those are some tips to get you on your way to becoming a mobile video master, at Techscheme we stock great tech products, all available with impressive discounts thanks to our Employee benefits. If your employer hasn’t signed up to Techscheme then you (nor they) can take advantage, so send them our way.