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Producing Video From Home Like a Pro (With Your Smartphone)

Hotwire Global

With events canceling left and right and social distancing in full effect globally, marketers and business leaders have turned to digital methods of communication and producing videos at home. However, recording video from home shouldn’t feel like a big lift or equal low-quality/production. Instead, it should be thought about as an additional tool in our arsenal to stay connected with our customers, partners, and employees in a relevant, authentic and meaningful way.

The good news is if you’ve purchased a smartphone in the last three years, you’re well on your way to producing quality video straight from your home.

Smartphone innovation has blurred the lines between professional and smartphone cameras, making high quality video attainable to most, especially with proper prep and planning and a little editing help in post-production.

To get you started, we’ve compiled best practices to record video from home with your smartphone:

Quality audio is becoming more crucial than ever—some even argue it’s more important than picture quality. In the age where attention spans are less than 8 seconds, your audience should be able to clearly understand your key messages even without picture. Poor audio will cause your audience to lose attention and react negatively to your video.

  • Most built-in laptop microphones do not capture the best audio quality, so use your phone’s microphone instead as it’s been built for that purpose.
  • Look for or create a small and quiet space, furnished with carpets, curtains or any soft furniture/accessories to absorb sound and prevent echoes.
  • When recording, make sure your subject is close to the microphone to maximize the quality of their voice while minimizing the amount of background or ambient noise.
  • Alternatively, if the location inadequate for audio, consider recording a voice-over separately in a quieter location. Voice-overs are great for instructional videos or instances where a script needs to be followed and/or inserted over b-roll.

Optional: Invest in a wireless microphone – it makes recording more convenient and allows your subject to move more freely during a shoot.

Good lighting directs the viewer on where to look and helps your camera stay focused and sharp on the subject.

  • Natural light should be an essential part of your set and it’s free! Get to know when and where natural lighting is best throughout the day and make sure your subject is facing it for the best results.
  • If you’re recording outside, look for cloudy weather or an overcast day — it creates a huge soft-box effect, helping diffuse light evenly on your subject.
  • Avoid harsh lighting environments such as direct sunlight or overhead lights, unless it’s used intentionally for an artistic effect. These types of lighting can create over-exposure, hard lines, shadows and grain/noise, making it tricky to edit during post.
  • If you’re still experiencing issues with lighting, toggle the brightness setting on your smartphone’s camera app to manually control the phone’s exposure.

Optional: Experiment with a secondary light (such as a desk or table lamp) to help soften any harsh lighting created by the primary lighting solution.

Stable videos allow viewers to focus on an actual subject whereas shaky footage is often distracting and causes the camera to lose focus, leaving your audience feeling queasy.

  • The simplest best at-home solution for stabilizing your footage is utilizing objects in your household to prop up your smartphone—from shelves to paperweights, books more.
  • Unless you’re recording a vlog in selfie-mode with one hand, always record with both hands, keeping them close to your body and planting your arms on a steady surface when appropriate in case they fatigue.
  • Enable grid lines on your smartphone to ensure your composition is leveled and that the rule-of-thirds are used correctly.
  • Keep your settings in-between shots to maintain consistency. That means remembering the position you recorded from (how far away from the subject and at what angle), lighting (time-of-day or camera brightness) and even clothing if you’re recording on different days.

Optional: Invest in a tripod and/or a Bluetooth shutter remote – they are the ultimate tools to keep your camera steady and level by eliminating the smallest amount of jitter caused by interacting with your phone.

Remember, recording footage is just one component of producing a video. Make sure you allow yourself enough time to edit your content to tell the optimal story, giving it a beginning, middle and end.

  • Use supporting visuals such as graphics, animations and overlays to add color, making it easier to emphasize and follow key points.
  • Weave brand elements through your video to tie them to campaigns and initiatives.
  • If multiple footages were combined into one, make sure they’re consistent and cohesive by color-correcting if shot throughout different parts of the day and enhancing the audio if recorded at different locations.
  • At minimum, add an intro, outro and subtitles to put your video above others.

Optional: Source some royalty-free music for your video to set the tone and bring your video to life.

Want more? Here are nine tips on delivering virtual keynotes and video presentations.

Now that you’ve become a pro at recording your own videos remotely, see how we can help you formulate a strategy, develop a story and script or provide art direction to deliver your message to the right audience. Drop us a line at