6 Tips for Smartphone Video

Video Content is good for you

‘Content is king’ in the digital marketing world. If that holds true then video content is definitely King Kong. You only have to look as far as the recent announcement by Instagram, IGTV. IGTV is a new stand alone app from Instagram. It will allow users to upload up to sixty minutes of video. Unlike Instagram, users will also be able to upload from PCs. The videos will be vertical/portrait and use similar filters, hashtags, and stickers that stories offer users. Basically, it’s extended stories. But more importantly, it is a sign that the major platforms are fully aware of the awesome power of video. Video is proving extremely popular with young people.

85% of American teens say they use the video sharing site YouTube. This makes it the most popular platform amongst today’s youth. It may take more time and resources than text but when used correctly can prove invaluable to your brand. It is important that your business, regardless of size, does not miss out. You need to maximise the great benefits this medium can provide. Video can drive organic traffic to your website. Having a YouTube channel will increase the chance you’ll appear on the much coveted first page of Google.

Video will retain users on your site for longer. Additionally, it increases the likelihood of conversions amongst your users. 72% of consumers would watch a video about your product rather than read about it. It is also great for social media, increasing engagement. Users are also more likely to share video content with others. However, if your business is not in the position to invest in a professional set up. Fear not.

That smartphone you more than likely have in your hand or pocket. Yes, that one. It has democratised video. Irish businesses no longer have an excuse that they can’t match up with the big international companies’ content marketing. With some time and effort sprinkled with the great advice in this blog, you can use video to your advantage. As you can see, I’m a fan of video. So before you go rushing out the door to start filming. I thought I’d share 6 helpful tips to ensure you can make the most out of your smartphone’s video.

1. Record in Landscape (most of the time)  

This tip used to be a simple no-brainer. Do not record in portrait (vertical). Viewing a portrait video on a widescreen, like a laptop, is heartbreaking. All that wasted space! Yet portrait videos do have a place. IGTV, Stories and Live Streaming on social networks are times when this is acceptable. However, when your video content is going to be viewed on widescreens. Please record in landscape/horizontal, PLEASE!!

2. Buy a tripod and use it when possible

Tripods for your phone are extremely cheap. Some can be found for as little as 2 euro. Shaky footage is not pleasant. If you don’t have a tripod on you when filming and need steady footage, use what you can to secure the phone on a flat surface. Or failing that, use your body as a tripod pinning your elbows to your torso or inside your legs for low shots. You may look weird doing it but steady footage really does make a big improvement to the quality of the video. While some adjustments can be made to reduce shaky footage in post-production. It isn’t advised to rely on it and it usually results in cropping out some of the video.

This gif is really off-putting (just like shaky footage).

3. Know your smartphone 

Before you go on your filming adventure be sure you know the camera specific functions of your smartphone.

Smartphones come in a range of different shapes and sizes. A few have useful functions that can aid you in your quest for great footage. Learn them before you set off, and if necessary shoot some practice footage.

4. Plan in advance 

Try and think of some of the footage you need to get before the shoot (if possible). This will decrease the time wasted on thinking of ideas during your filming. Additionally, it will reduce the amount of wasted footage you’re likely to record. Having a plan will also allow you to think more creatively, allowing you to express yourself while recording. While this can be viewed as a tip for more general filming practice. It is important that you aim to get the best footage possible. Don’t let the fact that you are using your smartphone limit you. Also be sure you have all your necessary equipment with you. This will be anything you might need. Did you bring that trusty tripod that you bought because I advised you to? Or the charger for your phone so it doesn’t die right as you’re about to capture the best footage of your life.

5. Don’t Zoom 

Unfortunately, the digital zoom has not yet caught up to analogue zoom. This means that when you zoom in on a subject the quality of the footage is sacrificed. If you need to get a closer angle of the subject matter, move the camera closer. If this is impossible, use the zoom to set up the shot and avoid zooming mid-recording, unless it is for artistic reasons…

6. Short and sweet

Users are exposed to massive amounts of information and other content on a regular basis. This means it’s harder and harder to keep their attention for very long. As a result, their engagement quickly drops off the longer the video.

 The optimal length can vary depending on the topic and the platform your video is on. A good rule of thumb is to keep the video short. Anywhere between 30 secs to 5 mins long depending. Anything after that may be best suited for the likes of an explainer video.

I hope these tips help you with your next video outing. But more importantly, I hope this list will encourage you to use video more frequently and creatively. We are visual learners. We retain far more information when it’s visually presented over just simply reading it. Don’t be afraid to experiment, use video in content like Facebook ads or emails. You can even use gifs as a form of video, like how I wonderfully used them in this blog.