How to Take Great Video with Your Smartphone or Mobile Device

You can shoot great video on your mobile phone without a video crew or a studio full of equipment and still get professional quality video. Sure, a crew of video professionals and high-quality gear can help, but fear not! These aren’t necessary to shoot great videos. In fact, capturing footage on your phone is not only efficient (anywhere, anytime… ) but can also lend an authentic feel that really resonates with potential clients through your video marketing efforts.

Here are 6 VERY simple tips to shoot fantastic videos on your phone or other mobile devices.


Obviously, your videos should be worth watching, so be prepared for the message you want to get across but not to the point where you’ll be deemed “slick”, fake or disingenuous. Remember, customers want to do business with people they like and trust – so don’t be afraid to show them who you are, “warts and all.”


The #1 mistake I see those new to video marketing or those who are struggling to see a return on their investment is that they are way too long. Seriously, unless you are trying to explain a complicated concept or sequence of events, try to keep your videos to about 30 seconds.

Have a lot to say about your business or product? No problem! Break your message down into topic-specific bite-sized and make more videos!


Until not long ago, “vertical videos” drove me absolutely insane, but with the development of live-streaming video via mobile devices, phones, and tablets, many social media platforms are moving towards square videos or vertically-oriented videos that fill the entire screens of their audience who are overwhelmingly watching them on their phones now. Increasingly, I am watching brand videos on Instagram that is being shot in an aspect ratio more like 9:16 (width vs. height) than the traditional 16:9 aspect ratio we’ve come to use most often on high definition displays, televisions and laptop computers. Quite frankly, I like how these larger format vertical videos completely fill the screen of my phone and, in the context of video marketing, this orientation makes total sense for several reasons – namely taking full advantage of the entire screen and realizing that most people hold and use their phones vertically.

I read an article not long ago that Facebook tested video formats and found that their users preferred a square video aspect ratio, meaning that the video frame is as tall as it is wide. So considering Facebook’s user numbers and influence, there’s that to take into consideration now, too.

I still prefer watching videos with a horizontal aspect ratio but my new recommendation is to consider your viewer’s preferences and where the video will be uploaded when making pre-production and video editing decisions.


The colors, contrast, focus, and quality of your video all depend upon getting your lighting right. I don’t care what the manufacturer of your mobile device says about the low light performance of your built-in camera – you are shooting with a photosensor the size of a pea. Without getting into the technical aspects, what the super small sensor essentially means to a novice videographer is that you need a lot more light than you think you do.


I’ve gone on and on about this super-important aspect of video production for years now and almost every professional I know completely agrees with me. I’ve written detailed articles about both why audio is important and how to get the best audio quality from your phone as well but the basic takeaway should be this: your phone or tablet’s microphone seriously sucks for video making, so you have to do something about it. You’ve got three options:

  • Good: Film somewhere where you can control the ambient, unintended noise.
  • Better: Get the onboard mic REALLY, REALLY close to the intended source of your audio.
  • Best: Use a microphone or an audio recorder.

Getting great sound will save a bad image quality; this much has been studied and proven and then agreed upon. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive either.


You can easily increase your video’s perceived production value by making a few edits, including your logo at the bottom and maybe even adding a quick video introduction clip at the beginning or end. Again, this doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. There are many free video recording and editing apps for both iOS and Android devices that can help you get the job done simply and without much of a learning curve.

Author: lscottharrell

L Scott Harrell is a startup founder and CEO of InnerJam, Inc. His work is focused on developing online projects involving personal development, community building and destination marketing.