How to: Shoot Better Videos on Your iPhone

BY Tris Hussey

Published 18 Nov 2012

If you watched my last photo/video related how to—How to: Taking Better Pictures with your iPhone—you’ve already got a lot of the basics down for shooting better videos with your iPhone. In this companion post, I have a few video tips for you that will help get you to the next level of video.

The first thing is stability. You already know how light the iPhone is, this makes video challenging. Why? Since your phone is light, it’s harder to keep it steady, it’s also harder to keep from moving quickly and panning too fast. Heavier cameras take more effort to move so you’re more conscious of how you’re moving and holding them. With lighter cameras, well, we know what that looks like.

You can try the auto-stabilization tools in iMovie, but really the best thing is to just slow down and try to keep the camera as still as possible.

Speaking of still, try using a tripod. Of course to get your iPhone onto a tripod you’re going to need a gadget to make all the connections. Check out these for options:

For something a little different, but I’ve had a lot of success with, the iKlip series from iRig lets you connect your iPhone or iPad to a mic stand…which can do a great job at holding your phone!

With your iPhone more stable, you can focus on light and composition. Light can be hard, but light taking still pictures, natural light is best and try to keep the light behind you to evenly illuminate your subject. For composition, the rule of thirds applies (of course), but also watch for object in the background too (this is a good photography tip in general). There’s one thing that iPhone videographers often mess up—they hold their iPhone wrong! Videos look better if you hold your iPhone in landscape mode so it’s closer to the 4:3 or 16:9 ration. If you hold your iPhone in portrait orientation…well you’ll see in the example video how odd that looks. Yes, there are times when portrait is the right orientation, but most of the time, landscape is best (even the Flip cam shot in 16:9 although you held it in “portrait” orientation). Last composition tip, and you’ve probably already noticed it yourself, is that when you switch to video mode on your iPhone you (effectively) zoom in. This changes how close you can be to your subject and still have everything in the shot. See the images below…

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Here’s a video I shot with some of these tips and an example of holding your iPhone for the right look:

That’s it! Like I said in the video, it’s practice that will help the most! Finally a couple other extras that you might like and help:

The mic works with any app, but the remote, only with Belkin’s app (which is a big drawback I think).

If you have any other tips to share…let me know in the comments!