If you're thinking about buying a top-of-the-line camera for your content creation needs, let us be the first to tell you that's not necessary. If you already own a smartphone device (chances are you do), start there. After all, getting started and building a habit of creating great content will help you the most throughout your journey—not spending tons of money on equipment you may find difficult to use.
If you're looking for the best ways to start recording high-quality video on your smartphone today, check out this list of simple yet effective ways to enhance your content without breaking the bank.
Record in the Proper Orientation
While many may say that recording in horizontal/landscape orientation is the best way to shoot high-quality video from your phone, the truth is it depends. With so many platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube demanding vertical orientation for video (specifically short-form video), you should record content with the primary platform you plan to post to in mind. This will ensure you don't disrupt the viewer experience with stretched video or awkward black spaces. Melon even supports mobile friendly layouts for streaming to social media sites. If you need to use the footage on multiple platforms with varying orientations, try using a tool such as Crossclip to quickly turn landscape video to portrait orientation.
Check Your Settings
Although your smartphone camera may not be as advanced as, say, a DSLR or mirrorless camera, you do have some ability to adjust your camera settings for higher quality. On an iPhone, for example. You can head over to "Settings" and then "Camera" to tweak things such as formats, pixels, and frames per second. While it may be tempting to record in 4K, keep in mind that these types of videos tend to have substantial file sizes that may be too CPU intensive and end up choppy while you're editing due to the high frame rate.
In the case of recording streams, it would be wise to check your recording settings to ensure that you're getting the best quality possible. For example, if you're using Melon as your streaming platform, you can tweak your settings to record in HD with local recording (read more about it here).
When you can't get close to your subject, it may be tempting to zoom in on it (after all, it can be done with the swipe of your thumb, so why not, right?). However, the more you zoom in, the more you compromise the quality of your video footage. Use your zoom feature sparingly and get up close and personal with your subject when it permits.
Improve Your Lighting
Have you ever gone out in the sun and taken the most beautiful, well-lit video ever? If so, you know how much of a difference good lighting can make. Good light is one of the best ways to upgrade your video quality in a flash, even if it's just the natural lighting coming from a window. Not sure where to begin with adding lighting to your mobile filming setup? You can check out our lighting guide to learn more about what makes for good lighting on-screen.
Get a Tripod
Speaking of minor equipment upgrades, a tripod is a must-have item if you're serious about recording high-quality video on your smartphone. A tripod not only ensures that the subject stays in the frame, it also helps eliminate shaky video that can disrupt the viewer's experience. Check out our favorite tripods for recommendations for some of the best tripods you can add to your setup. Note: we recommended these tripods for streaming but they honestly work for anything your little creative heart desires.
Don't Forget About Audio Quality
When you're focused on capturing great video on your smartphone, it can be pretty easy to forget audio quality. Furthermore, you may mistakenly block your mic and distort the audio altogether. Consider investing in a small mic from Amazon that can connect directly to your smartphone and pick up audio similar to a pro camera.
Generally speaking, smartphones have pretty good cameras that only take minor tweaks to get the best video quality possible. Instead of throwing thousands of dollars at a hard-to-use professional camera, try using the tips we listed here the next time you film using your smartphone!