Shooting awesome videos with an iPhone

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Shooting a video with your phone has come a long way since those grainy clips you used to share on Yahoo Messenger back in the day. Focusing on the iPhone here, the video components in the latest models comprise a handsome amount of technology, including optical image stabilisation, which all help in giving you the ability to shoot stunning 4K footage.

There are many of us out there that haven’t realised the iPhone’s capability to shoot a video that doesn’t look anyway amateurish. The rise in the iPhone videographer should show you that with the right amount of creativity and a few extra add-ons (e.g. tripod, lenses etc), you can produce something Oscar-worthy in a matter of minutes.

As we’ve said before, videos are more relevant now than they ever were. “Just look at social media. The most popular mobile social networks are video and photo-oriented. Brands are making increasing use of Instagram and Snapchat’s feed features in order to share a wide range of original content with a wide range of followers. Snapchat in particular is now considered to be the most important social media platform of them all; it is certainly the most popular among teens. What these types of social media have done for brands in particular is to give them an easily accessible platform—and audience—for marketing strategies that previously would have been very time-consuming and may not have even reached the right viewers at all.”

In relation to social media, a beautifully produced iPhone video has the ability to grab the attention of potential customers.

 An iPhone 7 on a desk

Essential Gear

The first tool you should invest in is a camera tripod - there are many models available now that are well equipped to use with iPhones. A tripod adds that element of professionalism, so if you need to record solo videos, you won’t be struggling to find a place to balance your phone.

Far from being a rarity, iPhone lenses inspired by those used on professional DSLR’s can be found almost everywhere now. They include everything from macro and wide angle to tele lenses. The Wire Cutter offers a superb list of iPhone lenses on the market today.

Despite technological advancements, iPhones (as with any phone) still produce poorly with limited lighting, so purchasing some professional lighting will be the best thing to do. Professional lighting doesn’t have to be expensive either. As Michael Miguel says: “a good place to start with lighting (on a budget) is to look into Continuous Fluorescent Lighting kits that use compact fluorescent bulbs. These kits are excellent low-cost options that output very low heat and deliver a proper amount of lighting. Most of these kits are designed around a multi-light-head fixture holding anywhere from 4 to 7 bulbs and come in a softbox. By the way, if you’re going to use fluorescent bulbs in a DIY project, only use bulbs that are daylight balanced with a 90 or greater CRI rating. Avoid using regular fluorescent bulbs.”

Finally, investing in a mic will banish any fears of dodgy audio. The one major irritation for anyone watching a video is when the audio is either distorted or non-existent.

The Essentials

There are some final things to sort out to make your video as fantastic as possible. First, set the white balance - doing this will get your video looking natural and bring out the colours correctly. Second use the grid to make sure what your shooting is correctly aligned. Thirdly, set and lock the AE/AF and finally always shoot horizontally. One of the other off-putting things is seeing a video that’s shot vertically. By keeping it horizontal, you’re on the way to getting your video looking big screen worthy.