Hardware

How to shoot professional video on an iPhone: 3 tips

Today's smartphones can shoot high-quality, professional videos—if you know the right tools and techniques. Here are three tips (plus a bonus tip) on how to pull it off with an iPhone.

There's a common misconception that shooting high quality video depends on the quality of your camera. We're going to give you three tips on how to shoot professional quality videos using an iPhone—even one that's a couple years old.

The truth is that image quality is not one of your top concerns when you're posting video on the web or social media, because most video files are compressed when you upload them to places like YouTube and Facebook, and so the picture quality is going to be limited anyway.

Instead, it's intangibles like audio quality and lighting that play a much bigger role in your audience perceiving a video as high quality. And, there inexpensive tips, techniques, and tools that can help you pull off a professional-looking video.

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1. Make your audio sing

If your audio sounds distant, echo-y, or static-y, people will perceive your video as low-quality—even if the images looks great. Whenever possible, use a wired microphone that plugs into your headphone jack (or headphone adapter). You can get a good one with a long cord for $20 to $30. Or, if your video is full of b-roll images and clips, then record the audio separately using a high quality microphone, and then it after the fact in your video editing software.

2. Pay close attention to lighting

The other thing that can quickly make your video look amateur and low-quality is poor lighting. But, you don't need an expensive lighting rig to fix the problem, you just need to understand a few tips. Don't shoot with a person in front of a window or other bright light. That will put the person in shadow. Instead, position the shot so that the bright light is coming from behind the camera or with the person perpendicular to the window or light source. If you're shooting inside, position the subject underneath a broad, overhead light source so that the lighting is even.

3. Don't use the built-in camera app

For recording professional quality video on your iPhone, avoid the built-in camera app. Instead, download the app ProCamera. This gives you several key benefits. First, it shows the audio level of your recording. Second, it allows you to separate the exposure and the focus of your shot. And third, it has a manual exposure feature that allows you to compensate for whatever lighting conditions you encounter.

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Image: TechRepublic


One last bonus tip: also consider getting a camera grip to help hold the iPhone more steadily. The one we recommend is the OlloClip Pivot.

If you follow these tips, you'll find that you can take some very professional-looking videos, even with just an iPhone.

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About Jason Hiner

Jason Hiner is Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.

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