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Shooting on wheels: A guide to smartphone video

25 September, 2020

Get better results when you’re using your phone to shoot video, by following a few easy tips.

Smartphone video guide

AQA video volunteer Richard Balsille has been helping people in communities like ours to tell stories for the past 18 years.

Recognising that a lot of us use smartphones to shoot video, he’s created a guide to good practice.

The short guide brings you a few tips that go a long way - most of which are also relevant for taking photos.

If you’re an experienced user, you might find that it fills in some gaps. If you’re not, it might help you get in the game.

Here’s a taste of the low-hanging fruit on offer:

  • Stability’s the word. Wheelchairs are a boon here, but if you’re not in one, and there’s no other stabilizing option, hold the phone with both hands, elbows wedged by your side, then rotate from the hips for a pan shot, or bow for a tilt.

  • Horizontal framing almost always beats vertical. It’s the way our eyes are aligned, and there’s generally more to see horizontally than vertically.

Stability’s the word. Wheelchairs are a boon here.

  • Use the rule of thirds for framing: place the main part of your subject a third of the screen from one side, and a third from the top or bottom.

  • If you’re in a noisy environment, put your body between your subject and the source of the noise - it’s surprisingly effective at minimising the interference.
Smartphone video guide

For more detail, more tips, and to learn how bulldog clips and bags of salt are the lance and bow of the intrepid amateur, download Richard’s guide and check it out.

Author Dan Nathan is a content developer with AQA/Spire.

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