smartphone video / how to make videos / video equipment

Lights, smartphone, sound, action! How to use equipment to enhance lighting and sound

. 4 min read . Written by Vanshika Goenka
Lights, smartphone, sound, action! How to use equipment to enhance lighting and sound

Everyone has a powerful video camera in their pocket: a smartphone.

Not all of us have the luxury of stocking up the latest shooting gadgets and equipment. But thanks to technology, today’s smartphones are as good as DSLRs.

Most content creators on social media and YouTube have switched to shooting videos on their phones, not only because it is cost-effective, but also because it is a lighter and effortless gadget to move around with.

And this is exactly what our course on ‘Become A Mobile Video Content Creator’ highlights. Sign up for it on PowerPass and learn how to ace mobile videography, types of videos, equipment that aids you while shooting, camera movements, storytelling through videos and so much more.

Through this content, we want to ease out the process of shooting videos on a smartphone, for you. Read to know more.

Table of contents:

  1. Hacks to shoot killer videos on your smartphone
  2. Tricks to record great audio through your smartphone
  3. 4 video lighting tips to shoot better video content  

Here are some hacks to shoot killer videos on your smartphone:

  1. Shoot in landscape (16:9 ratio) mode for YouTube & Facebook
  2. Shoot in vertical (9:16 ratio) mode for Instagram & Snapchat
  3. Set up a good frame by using gridlines
  4. Avoid zooming in and out
  5. Shoot during daylight, and avoid flash
  6. Clean your phone camera’s lens often
  7. Try to stabilise your hand, or get a budget-friendly tripod
  8. Make use of timelapse & slow-motion shooting features
  9. Take multiple footage of different shots, rather than shooting a single video.

Keep these tricks handy for the next time you plan to shoot videos on your smartphone.

Now that you know how to shoot videos, it’s time to focus on Light and Sound.

(Hey, not the show, the technicalities of light and sound for shooting a video!)

Nothing spoils a great video like lousy sound quality does.

Here are some tricks to record great audio through your smartphone:

  • Get close to the source:
    When you’re far away from the person whose sound you are recording, the camera mic doesn’t pick up a good, clean audio take. But you don’t need a microphone and boom to solve this problem. Grab your smartphone, hit record, and then set it just out of frame, close to your subject, and start recording.
  • Cut down the distortion:
    Distortion becomes a problem when you’re shooting your content in places like a party or a concert, or even a crowded market. Given most smartphones aren’t so flexible with setting custom gain (and distort easily at high volumes), there’s not always a great solution in your phone’s software. But Scotch tape does wonders!

    Just place a small piece of tape over the microphone hole(s) on your phone and it will reduce the amount of sound that’s able to enter the mic, often giving you a much better result.
  • Use airplane mode
    Okay, so you’re all prepared to shoot. The red light is switched on, everything’s going well… when a text message or call noisily arrives, messing up your recording.
    Avoid these embarrassing audio gaffes by always setting your phone to Airplane Mode (which silences its cellular, Bluetooth, and WiFi connections) and muting its volume when on location, so that you don’t ruin an otherwise perfect take.
  • Use microphones:
    One of the easiest ways to cut down background noise is to use a microphone. JBL microphones work the best for smartphones, but Amazon has tons of affordable options for you.

    P.S: If you’re shooting indoors, switch the fan and the A/C off.

4 video lighting tips to shoot better video content

Finding the best lighting for your videos can be a challenging task.

Maybe your shot isn’t bright enough. Or it’s too bright. Sometimes the colour temperature isn’t right, or the shadows are so harsh that you can barely decipher what is what.

Knowing how to get good lighting for videos will make your content look sharp and professional. And you don’t need all the fancy lighting equipment you’ll see in a professional shoot for this. Here are some tricks:

  1. Use windows during the day for best indoor video lighting
    Windows are your best friend when finding the best lighting for videos indoors during the daytime. And they should ideally be in the shadows to give you a soft, diffused light.
    Make sure the window is generally in front of you when filming. This will give you the balanced lighting you’re looking for.
  2. Turn on a lamp at night for the perfect lighting indoors
    The best lighting while filming indoors at night will come from a lamp. It should be bright but also diffused. Your lamp doesn’t need to be a professional one. It can even be a simple, inexpensive desktop one. But ensuring it gives off a diffused light is key. This will give you the soft video lighting you need with minimal shadows.

Bonus tip: If you’re filming personal videos with your phone, a ring light is a great piece of video lighting equipment. It’ll give you the perfect lighting that really accents your face in a balanced way.

3. Seek shade when filming outdoors in the sun for the best video lighting
When recording videos outdoors in the sun, it’s important to avoid harsh lighting. Look for spots in the shade to shoot your videos. Steer clear of direct sunlight that will cause overwhelming shadows on your face and squinting. This will not be an issue on cloudy days, as you’ll have great, diffused video lighting to work with.

4. Avoid mixed video lighting
It’s a good idea to try and avoid an overwhelming amount of mixed video lighting. This is when you have competing colour temperatures in your shot. So, if you have a lamp producing a warm tungsten light, while also receiving cooler light from a window- you’re going to get an odd light combination on your face. Avoid mixed lighting at all costs.

Light and sound play a very important role in filming videos. Without them, a video is practically a flop show. Now that you have these tips with you, make sure you have your light and audio in place before filming videos on your smartphone!