If you’re looking to get a better looking – and sounding – video from your phone, then read on.
You’re going to learn:
- how to light your videos at home
- why audio is more important than picture quality and how to dramatically improve this with a $25 microphone
- how to record outside for better quality videos
- and what I recommend if you want to upgrade
This is for online teachers, content creators, and for anyone who wants to improve their video output.
Watch the video below and/or read the article. I filmed this on an iPhone 7+.
Note: use my affiliate link to check out the tools that I mentioned in the video and know that the links below are affiliate links too. I recommend filming a video or two first and then getting what you need based on the results.
Quick Tips: Film Better Videos on Your Phone Inside
Sit in front of a window if you don’t have a lighting setup
My office window is south facing. It’s the perfect lighting situation for the morning and the early afternoon.
Sit in front of the window and know that the closer you are to it, the better the lighting.
But be careful of the audio quality if you place your phone on a window ledge.
If the sun beams in through the window, it can cause harsh shadows. And you can end up squinting in a way that isn’t good for you or the viewer.
If you want to control your lighting or you don’t have a good window to use, then consider getting a simple ring light or another light from my list below:
We’ll talk about outside lighting later.
How to Frame Your Video and Position Yourself Correctly
The above is taken from a lesson I gave on my channel for English learners.
I positioned the camera so that it was at eye-level. I filmed the frame with my face. And I gave enough room to bring in my whiteboard.
Note: the glare from a whiteboard is tough to manage, especially with a lighting setup. Do a few tests first.
To achieve the correct framing, I used the following tripod:
This is placed on my desk and is adjusted accordingly.
Try out various angles and positions and go with what looks best.
How to Get Better Audio
Audio is arguably more important than the video quality.
The internal microphone on phones isn’t great. If you add that to an echoey room then you won’t get good results.
Here’s what you can do:
- get an external microphone
- improve the acoustics in the room
- record outside
Here’s a quick test I did that highlights the difference between an internal and external microphone:
The above is the microphone I use.
You can improve the acoustics of your room by using panels or anything that will absorb sound.
Here’s something to try: record in your closet (if you can!).
If you can get a tripod and lighting setup – and your background looks good too – it’s the best place for acoustics.
If you’re just recording audio, then definitely try it out.
Filming outside gives the best audio quality but there is a caveat. More on that later.
Here is an article that talks about recording audio in closets and a pillow hack.
Avoiding Background Noise (Good Luck!)
This is what frustrates anyone who tries to record a video.
You’re in the middle of recording something and your neighbor decides to start drilling. Or your children start screaming. Or the postman knocks on the door triggering your dog.
This isn’t easy to fix but here are some quick tips:
- Negotiate specific recording times with people you live with
- Record somewhere that limits background noise
- Know that you edit the video if you make a mistake or get interrupted
Here is what to do if you want to make some quick edits to your video and how to easily spot where you need to edit:
Know that you’re going to get frustrated trying to eliminate background noise.
But if you do find yourself recording during a peaceful time, batch some extra videos and take advantage of it.
Let’s Talk About Recording Outside
In the video above, I recorded in two locations outside:
- On the back deck (in full sun)
- On the front porch (in the shade)
Did you notice the audio difference? It’s much better outside. But it’s more difficult to control background noise.
The best lighting conditions are facing the sun but with cloud cover. This is like using nature’s softbox.
If it’s raining, cold, or too hot, then this will dictate if you can record outside in a comfortable way.
Other Filming Tips
- do a test before you record all your videos
- once you get comfortable, batch videos (do more a few at one time)
- you’ll get used to the sound of your own voice
- give it a little more enthusiasm than you think you need
Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks for reading!