Some musings on using phone footage in video productions

Posted in: General Blog,

Let me state right at the outset that we have included phone and tablet shot videos into productions in the past.  This type of footage can add a certain dramatic effect when telling particular types of stories, documentaries or market research pieces especially. I wouldn’t in hindsight have replaced or removed any of these shots

My question is around solely phone sourced productions of the type that we often get asked to ‘sort out’. Though the quality can be fine for some applications, sometimes the desired result leaves, shall we be polite and say a little to be desired?

The comment we then get is often ‘I wish we’d talked to you first’ or even ‘I Wish you’d come and shot this’

Which then begs the question why didn’t they?

Is the barrier to using a professional service such as ours cost? convenience? Maybe it’s a time issue? – the event is only going to happen at that one of moment and there was no time to get the pro in on time or the event is perceived as not been important enough to warrant a pro video shoot.

Perhaps, but if the video is going to appear on your website or social media under your company’s banner then surely you want to obtain the best possible results and so create a favourable impression?

Let’s deal with each of the objections first

- Cost. Need a couple of shots of a machine doing its thing or a process rolling through a plant? A speech from the MD?
I can guarantee that the pictures from our cameras will knock spots of the latest smart phone (excellent though they are now) we can control light levels, obtain clearer high qwaulity audio and then edit the piece up (on site if required) to get the master branded and uploaded in double quick time all for less than the cost of a tank of diesel though obviously if you live in the Orkney’s it will cost a little more.

- Convenience. Life’s never easy, we all spend time putting out fires dealing with problems as they crop up and we are no different. ‘There wouldn’t have been time to brief you’ without blowing our own trumpet, I’d like to think we can follow instructions and understand people’s requirements quite quickly and besides a picture tells a thousand words, so a moving image tells ….

-Time. Okay this is difficult to knock. ‘Things’ do happen or just occur, and our phones are always in our pockets so it’s a simple matter of whipping them out and starting to record but you never know it may be worth a call. We could just be drinking tea or typing a blog.

I would like to think that after reading the above you are adding me to your speed dials or favoured contacts ready to summon us rather than reach for the phones camera app but I life in the real world. Phones and tablets will continue to make their presence felt in the video world. You see news footage on the BBC every night shot of someone’s phone!

So, if using your phone following a few simple guidelines will help you achieve better results

Press record before you start speaking if you want to capture your voice. A mental count of 1, 2, 3 after you’ve started recording will give us something to edit with. The same applies at the end, record a few seconds extra before stopping the recording.
Hold the phone steady, using smooth pans and movements. Shaky unsteady shots make for uncomfortable viewing.

Sound the mics on phones aren’t the best so get close enough to the subject or sound source and try and eliminate external unwanted sounds.

Work with the available light. a person shot against a bright window will appear in silhouette, the eyes are the key, if you can see the eyes you can see the persons soul!


If you are shooting a series of shots to demonstrate a new piece of kit then think about the story you want to tell. A wide shot of the whole piece of kit will help establish the scene with additional close up shots will help demonstrate its features.
Turn the camera on its side so it shoots in landscape rather portrait mode. Trust me the resulting image will look better on your TV or computer screen.


Download and send me the footage along with your director’s notes and we’ll send you something pro looking back in no time at all.
Happy shooting!

Please use Wetransfer, Dropbox or Paul@ktvcvp.co.uk to send the footage.