2 min read

4 Tips For Shooting Quality Video On Your Smartphone

Image of Photogene app by Daniel Bell on ePhotozine

You know the struggle — day after day, lugging around heavy gear for shoots and assignments. Could mobile journalism, or “Mojo” as it’s fondly called, be the answer to your achy shoulders and sweaty back? Now that publishers are commissioning stories shot with mobile phones — like the video below produced through Storyhunter for AJ+ — Mojo is no longer the new kid in journalism school, limited solely to short-form content, and it’s time to jump in the fray.

Here are four tips for producing videos so stunning, no one would ever think they were shot on your phone:

1. Assemble a mobile journalism kit.

You never know where or when that next assignment is going to be, so stay prepared! Assemble a mobile kit with your most important accessories to power your storytelling. Here’s what Glen Mulcahy, a freelance mobile journalist, keeps in his mobile journalism kit:

(1.) LED light; (2.) Micro Pro (short shotgun); ( 3.) Extension lead; (4.) Microphone; (5.) MiCon 5 XLR Plug and extension lead; (6. ) iRig Pre; (7.) Rode SC6; (8.) Power bank; (9.) iPhone 5; (10.) GripTight Mount for smartphone and small GorillaPod; (11.) iPhone tripod adapter; (12.) Headphones; (13.) Tripod and small ball head.

2. Use a stabilizer for great lighting.

Proper lighting makes a big difference in video quality. Most smartphones are built with small image sensors and lenses that poorly reflect light, resulting in low-quality images and one-dimensional framing of your subjects. So make sure to adjust and stabilize your camera along with the lighting in your environment. To stabilize your camera, hold it with both hands and keep it close to your chest or use a stabilizer like a tripod.

3. Don’t discount sound quality: audio matters.

Sound can make or break your video storytelling, and without clear audio you will have half the story. Environmental noise can be hard to edit out, so your best bet is shooting in a quiet place and covering the sides of your phone to block outside noise. You could also purchase an external recording device or a directional microphone. This will strengthen your audio quality.

4. Download a video editing app.

A number of video editing apps are available for both iOS and Android. Whether you want to add graphics or send your videos straight to a newsroom, there’s an app for that! Here are the top apps we recommend for mobile journalists:

What will you be adding to your mobile journalism kit? Tell us in the comments below!