How to make a business video on your smartphone

Did you know that you have everything you need to make a short video for your business in your pocket? I’m sure you’ve seen the increase in video on social media whilst scrolling through your feed – but did you know how easy it is to get involved yourself?

 

Here’s a few tips from the pros on how to make a short film look professional, so that you can create your own marketing video on a budget:

 

TIP 1: Use an external microphone

(and do a quick test before you start, to make sure it's working.)

Even the smartest technology needs some help. The microphones you find on smartphones aren't yet top quality. Sure they're fine for everyday videos to show your Nan after your holiday, but not when filming an interview that needs to be professional.

Microphone jacks or USB recorders are both great options. Hook one of these up to your smartphone to make a your sound crystal clear.

 

TIP 2: Don’t hold the phone!

Rest the phone on something rather than hand-holding it, or if you must hand-hold, be conscious to keep things very steady.

I don’t know about you, but the first thing I notice when watching a home video is the shakiness. So how can you make a short video with no budget and have it dead still? Easy. Put your phone up against a wall, use a thick phone case to balance it, or (my personal favourite) attach a flip case to your phone and use it to place your phone on the top of your laptop screen. If you want to get real professional and creative, challenge yourself and MacGuyver a DIY phone stand!

 

TIP 3: Look off-screen

Have the speaker look to the side of the phone, as if talking to an interviewer off-camera, rather than looking directly into the lens.

This is a CLASSIC mistake when filming an interview, and it just creates awkwardness! When the interviewee has a focus point off the camera it does three things:

  1. It makes the viewer believe the interviewee is being interviewed by someone
  2. It lowers the intimidation the interviewee feels when staring at the camera, making them act more natural
  3. It eliminates the ‘creepiness’ viewers feel when they are being stared at through the television

So even though it may feel weird, it's even weirder looking at the camera. Trust us.

 

TIP 4: Watch the sun

Stand in a place with bright but indirect light (the best place for this is indoors, near large windows).

Avoid standing directly under ceiling lights (they cast unflattering shadows on the face), and avoid having bright sun in the speaker's face. If you must record outdoors, turn around until the sun hits the speaker's back.

Lighting is hard to master, but not impossible! When it’s done wrong, it can really lower the quality of the footage. So make sure you get it right for that seriously good professional feel. If all else fails, attach a Pocket Spotlight to your phone – you’ll be surprised at the benefits they can provide.

 

TIP 5: LOL.

Tell the speaker to be happy / proud / enthusiastic before each take. A great trick for this is to laugh immediately before a take (it puts a warm smile on your face).

Why not tell a cheeky joke moments before hitting record? Or if all else fails, forcing a laugh can make genuine laughter happen of its own accord. It might be hard to believe, but you can really feel the difference in an interviewee's manner when they've laughed right before the "record" button was hit. Their words are warmer, and they become more personable and easy to relate to.

 

TIP 6: Ask each question multiple times

The answers will get better with practice, and having multiple options will help you later with editing.

Try, fail, try, fail, try, fail… it’s what we as humans do. But give yourself enough chances and one of those ‘tries’ will be the winner. After all, practice makes perfect. If you keep asking the same question and the interviewee isn’t getting it right, take a break and go back to tip 5 to loosen things up. If you're still fighting the nerves, try some of the tips we created to master body language – maybe they’ll make the difference!


 

These tips are a great start to get you up and running creating videos for a range of marketing activities for your business. If you're finding it a bit tricky to achieve the result you're after, that’s OK – there’s always those professionals with reflectors, microphones, cameras, colour cards, editing tools and experience on the other end of an enquiry form.

Check out other projects we’ve been busy with over on our case studies page!