How to Get the Best Videos Out of Your Smartphone

Chances are, you have a high-definition camera sitting right next to you. The ubiquity of smartphones coupled with social media’s embrace of video sharing has created an influx of video content online. Hence, our Global Discovery Vacations Coolest Customer contest.

As great as smartphones are for capturing footage, a tool is only as good as its user. Luckily, we have some tips for beginners whether you’re looking to win a cooler or if you just want to record some of your exciting travels!

Turn Your Phone Sideways

Almost any time you record a video, make sure you are recording in landscape orientation (hold your phone sideways). When you film with your phone straight up, you trade scenery for black bars, like this:

If you’re recording landscape on vacation, for example, don’t you want to have as much in the shot as possible?

Find Good Natural Lighting

Two things can ruin a good video: obscuring darkness and the eerie red eye/white skin effect caused by your phone’s LED light. The best way to combat both of these is to film in a setting that has good lighting to begin with. Just make sure you’re not filming directly into the light source or your video will have a distracting glare.

Have Enough Phone Storage

Have you ever tried to film a perfect moment only to have it ruined by the dreaded “You don’t have enough storage space” warning? Keep in mind that videos take up quite a bit of phone memory, so check your storage if you know you have to film something important. I have my phone’s photos and videos go straight to my SD card, which I would highly recommend.

Film Close

Get as close as you can to your subject when you’re shooting. You don’t want to use your camera’s zoom feature for videos as it will severely lower the image quality.

Allow for Errors

Keep the camera rolling before and after whatever you’re recording. Various apps and software make videos easier to crop into an appropriate length, so you can always cut out the extra fluff and anything that doesn’t belong. But it’s better to keep recording in case you strike gold.

Upgrade Your Accessories (optional)

If you want to go the extra mile, there are a number of devices out there that will help you on your videography quest. There are lens attachments for higher quality visuals, tripods for steadiness, external microphones for better sound and more. Think about what you want to accomplish, and chances are there is a gadget that can help.

You won’t have perfect conditions, so just do the best you can with what you have and your videos will turn out great! Be sure to enter to enter your video in our Coolest Customer Video contest!

Are you great at shooting videos with your phone? Give us your tips and app recommendations in the comments below.

Corey is a writer from Overland Park, KS, and has been with Global Discovery Vacations since September 2013. Once a sportswriter, he traveled the country and became proficient in airport security line etiquette and leaving items in hotel rooms.