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14 Easy Steps To Creating Professional Looking Videos With Your Smartphone 2021

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Download the eBook version of this great blog, so you can refer to it while shooting videos in the field.

Before You Start!

This blog will run you through my 14 step process on how to create amazing videos on your smartphone that everyone will think you hired a professional to make for you.

I have intentionally kept this blog short and to the point and with very little technical jargon to keep it as clean and as simple as I can. And I hope you will bookmark this page and come back to it often to help remind you of the steps needed to make a great video. I will also include a downloadable eBook version of this blog, so you can print it and use it every time you start to make a video.

Throughout this blog I will recommend various different pieces of equipment that will help take your videos to the next level. Some will improve quality, and some will improve ease of use of the video gear, either way each item will increase your overall quality of your videos.

NONE of the equipment other than your smartphone is required to make great videos, and the small amount of equipment I do recommend will only enhance what you can already do with a smartphone. Do not feel obligated to run out and spend money on items if you don’t have the money to spend, and certainly do not let it stop you from creating your videos and your dream business.

Recommended Equipment

Remember you do not need any gear other than your smartphone to get started, these few items recommended here are just enhance the experience and can be purchased some time down the road.

Phone Tripod, UBeesize Portable and Adjustable Camera Stand Holder with Wireless Remote and Universal Clip, Compatible with Cellphones, Sports Camera

Phone Tripod Mount with Remote 360 Rotation Smartphone Holder Adapter Compatible with iPhone 11 Pro Xs Max XR X 8 7 6 6s Plus Samsung Nexus

Microphone Professional for iPhone Lavalier Lapel Omnidirectional Condenser Easy Clip-on Lavalier Mic for Youtube, Conference for iPhone/iPad/iPod(IOS 6.6ft)

For more information on inexpensive video recording equipment check out my blog called Ridiculously Inexpensive Online Course Creation Gear list For Beginners”

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Being Prepared

Do any research that is needed for this video and create a bullet point list summarizing the key point to cover in your video or create a complete script if that works better for you.

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Location Scouting

I like to say “location scouting” because that is what the big movie companies say, but this is just figuring out where you are going to create your videos. This could be your living room, office, back yard or some other location. Here are some guidelines to picking a location.

  • Pick a place with Lots of natural light, since we are trying to do these videos on a budget.
  • No identifying items such as address if you are at yours or someone’s home or office.
  • Appealing background with no distracting features or motions.
  • Ask permission and get it in WRITING to CYA in case of some issue (and they always do)
  • Once you have picked a location close your eyes and listen for noise.
  • If there are noises you can control turn them off (TV, Radio, Washing Machine) and listen again.
  • If the location is quite enough once you turn things off, then this is your location.
  • If you can’t control the noise such as street noise, then this is NOT your location.
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Charge Your Phone

OK this one sounds really stupid, but the other day I was going to record at the park, and for some reason my phone did not charge while sleeping that night. I got all the way to the park I was going to video in and my phone was on 1% (UGGGG). Lucky for me I had my work backpack in the car and in there was my remote phone charger. So, the moral of the story is make sure your phone is charged and that you bring a remote phone charger with you just in case.

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Switch on Airplane Mode

This is another I use to forget all the time, and it never fails, I would forget and be in the middle of my best take EVER!!!! And BAM a telemarketer calls and my recording stops and so goes my best take ever. funny thing is I never felt like I got a good take of that video the rest of the day. So make sure your smartphone is in AIRPLANE MODE.

Check out this quick video on how to turn airplane mode on and off on your iPhone and why you would want to use this feature for other reasons then flying on an airplane.

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Prep Phone Storage

What is worse than not turning on airplane mode and a telemarketer calling you in the middle of your best take, well your phone stopping 20 minutes into a 40 minute recording and again your best take ever because your phone ran out of storage. And guess what happens if your phone runs out of storage in the middle of a recording, yep you guessed it you lose your entire recording up to that point, and in my case 20 minutes of recording. So make sure you clean the storage on your phone, and make sure you do this long for the time of your video shoot, because moving and deleting files takes a long time.

Check out this quick video on how to move files from your iPhone to your computer.

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Video Quality Settings

This step kind of goes along with the last step because the quality setting on your phone also determines how big the video output file will be and conversely how much storage space it will take. Many devices can support 1080p and higher resolutions and the higher the resolution the more storage space each video file will take. Of course ,the higher the resolution the better quality the video will be so you will have to decide the balance between quality and storage space.

Check out this quick video on how to configure the quality settings for your camera on an iPhone.

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Assemble Your Equipment

ARE WE HAVING FUN YOU? This is where the fun begins because this is where we start the actual video process, you’re on location and it is time to start videoing. In this step you will assemble your equipment and get everything just perfect for recording.

REMEMBER: it is not mandatory that you buy lights, tripods, or mounts they are just luxuries that are nice to have and do increase the easy of videoing and the quality of the output but very optional.

Check Out this video on assembling the Movi iVlogger Kit to learn more.

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Clean Your Camera Lens

It seems dumb that I even have to include this step, but we are talking about our smartphones here that we use day in and day out. We eat our greasy French Fries while we read the latest news or watch the latest viral cat video, so that leaves your cameras and your monitor on our phones pretty smudged up most of the time. So, make sure you clean the lenses and screen with a soft cloth and cleaner that is made for electronics. If you have a cloth and a bottle of spray from your eye doctor that will do, and if not check out the link below.

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Plug-in & Place The Microphone

(Optional) Again since it is not required to have anything more than your smartphone to make great videos this step is optional. With that said if you only buy one thing, I would buy a very inexpensive  lavalier microphone. Unless you are recording very close in a very small room with zero echo the built-in microphone is usually not good enough to get crystal clear audio. Nothing will make a viewer turn off a video quicker than bad audio. So, if you have one plug the microphone into your phone and get it clipped on to your shirt in a place no one will see it so it is not distracting. 

I usually mount the microphone on me first and if it is cold wear two shirts so I can clip it on under my shirt up as close to my mouth as I can. if it is warm and I only have one shirt I will usually tape it to my chest under my shirt as close to my mouth as I can without it being seen. If your shirt it tight it will make a lump so make sure you look in the mirror to make sure it does not look dumb. You will be surprised how great the microphone will pick up even under a shirt.

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Frame The Shot

Framing the shot is placing things where they go in the shot, so basically aiming the camera to line things up in the shot.

 
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Setup Lighting

(Optional) Remember lights are optional but great to have if you plan on doing lots of videos. If your lighting is too dark and you don’t have lights you can do one of two things.

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Manual Lock Focus & Exposure

By default, your smartphone camera will be set to auto focus and exposure to make things simple for most people. If you leave these settings and take enough videos you will notice that you will go in and out of focus and the lighting will change as the exposure is auto updated. This does not look professional to have either of these happen during a video, and once you have taken the video there is no way to remove those from the video short of editing that section out of the video.

On your smartphone while you are in camera or video mode if you hold your finger on the part of the screen you want to focus on or set your lighting to (long press with most newer smartphones OS) it will set to manual and will not change again till you stop recording. So that means you will have to long press the screen (usually your face) before you start recording each video, it does not stay set to manual between shots. There should be a indicator on the screen that lets you know that AF/AE are locked.

 
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Record Test Video

If you skip this step because you are in a rush then don’t come crying to me when you flew across the country to interview Taylor Swift and you get home and your shot looks really bad or the audio sucks.

 
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Record The Next Viral Video

OMG YOU MADE IT – TIME FOR A NAP. I know that was a lot so take your time and review it each time you are about to go on a video shoot, and don’t forget to print and use the check list when on location.

So first off sit down for five minutes and take a deep breath or freshen your make up before starting your video recording.

Remember to just relax and have fun. I find that I’m stressed at the beginning of the video shot day, and by the end I’m loose and making much better videos and wish I could go back and shoot the first videos over while I’m warmed up. But if I take a few min to just relax before I start that goes a long way in improving my performance on the first few videos.

Final tips before you start recording.

Pre-Recording Check List

Be Prepared

Do your research and create a bullet list or full script of what you want to say in your videos. Create one per video.

Location Scouting

Find a location for your video shoot, this could be your living room, office, or anywhere. Make sure to listen for noise and background distractions. Pay close attention to make sure you have good natural light in this location if you have no lights.

Charge Your Phone

Make sure your phone is fully charged before you go on location to video. Carry a portable charger with you in case you need more juice.

Switch Your Phone To Airplane Mode

To keep phone calls and messages from interrupting your video session, make sure air plane mode is on.

Prep Phone Storage

Make sure you have enough storage on your phone for your upcoming video shoot, and clean the storage if needed.

Video Quality Settings

Make sure the video settings are at the correct setting for your desired quality. Don't forget the selfie camera shoots at a lower quality then the main camera.

Assemble Your Equipment

This is where the fun begins! You are on location and ready to assemble and place your gear where needed.

Clean Your Camera Lens

This assumes you brought the cleaning supplies with you. Make sure you clean the lens on the phone you will be using.

Plug-in & Place The Microphone

Remember external microphones are optional but if you have one, make sure you set it up and plug it into the phone.

Frame The Shot

This is where you line everything up in the shot. Make sure everything looks good and is placed in the right place of the screen. Pay close attention to details and lighting.

Setup Lighting

This is optional, and only needs to be done if you have lights to setup. If you do have lights set them up and check the framing again to make sure everything still looks good.

Lock Auto Focus & Exposure

On Iphone or Android a long press on the camera screen will lock the AF/AE settings. Remember to reset this before each time you start to record, since it unlocks every time you stop recording.

Record A Test Video

Do your research and create a bullet list or full script of what you want to say in your videos. Create one per video.

Be Prepared

Make sure to take 5 min to relax, take some deep breaths after setup. Remember to enjoy the process, and don't forget to watch a few seconds of each video as you finish to make sure they are recording properly. ENJOY!

Q&A | Share Your Experience

If you have any questions please leave them in the comments below, or in our Facebook group and we will answer them ASAP.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE leave us links in the comments below to your videos so we can share in the great videos everyone is creating. Would be fun to see the type of video quality you had before and after this blog and how it helped you improve your videos.

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