How to shoot video on your smartphone

Whether it is videos we watch at work or streaming in bed when we get home - videos are essential to our everyday lives. The growth of videos keeps on going - so we figured we should share a guide into how to get started with your video and storytelling. 

Why video?

Whether it is videos we watch at work or streaming in bed when we get home - videos are essential to our everyday lives. The growth of videos keeps on going. Looking at these stats - one might wonder what the reason is not to be making videos. 

  • Hubspot found that people spend 1.5 hours watching videos everyday (LINK:
  • 100 million of hours are watched every day on Facebook (
  • When posed the question “Would you drop whatever you’re doing when a new video is published from your favorite YouTube channel” - half of all YouTube subscribers between the ages 18 and 34 said yes (

In other words, if you are not currently producing videos - perhaps it is about time to re-think. Video content is how you can reach out to the audience. It is also where you connect to the audience. Because when you think of it - no other art form has the ability to capture so many various elements; moving visuals, sound and narratives. However, it is easy to create such art can get overwhelming. So here is a guide into how to get started with your video and storytelling.

To make things easy for your scrolling - here is what we will be covering in this guide: 

  • How to build up a video story
  • Smartphone videos
  • Social media and videos

How to build up a video story script

First things first, before diving into video techniques and backdrops - you need to work out the storyline of your video. A well worked out, emotive storytelling is the heart of any successful video. 

Decide for a topic - whether that is…

  • What is a common question you answer almost every day?
  • What are you the most passionate about?
  • If you’re a business, what is the most common point of confusion about your business?

Write down your ideas - preferably through a list of 20-30 video ideas that first come to your mind. From that list, try to narrow down to the topics that are the most exciting for you and your target audience. Once you are down to one or two ideas - it is time to write them down in greater detail. Try to organise your storyline into chunks and make sure you have a beginning, a middle and an end to your story. Read it out loud and see if it makes sense. 

The internet is cluttered with videos and other content - which is both good and bad. Good in the sense that you can find a lot of inspiration - bad because in order for you to get people to actually watch and engage with your content, you need to grab their attention immediately. Otherwise they’ll move on to the next one. So if you would like your content to make it through the clutter - then a good starting point is to see what videos are trending out there in that specific genre. Perhaps you can find some common traits, find someone to collaborate with or what not to do - if you would like to create something that doesn’t exist yet. 

When researching video content, you will be surprised how many videos remind of each other. Because when you think about it - most good videos have certain things in common (Link to: The secrets behind every good video). It may sound boring - but it does serve some purpose. It helps us, for example, avoid making the most common mistakes like having different amount of water in a glass from one shot to another without the subject drinking anything (Link to: X common video mistakes). 

Ready, shoot, action!

Lightning will be key to your video’s success - maybe even more so than a fancy camera! Depending if you’re shooting indoors or outside - there are some lightning issues you may want to be aware of. 


  • Not enough light (especially during nights)
  • Overexposure (“too sunny” - whether or not this is everywhere or just for parts of your shoot)
  • Harsh shadows
  • Lens flare

The location and time of the day will help you combat these lightning challenges. Make sure that you roll up to the scene well prepared - so that you don’t miss out on the light window you have. 

Keep in mind where the sun is and let it be behind your camera. You may risk having your subject getting direct sunlight in their eyes so perhaps investing some money into a diffusion panel is a good idea. In that way, you keep your actors/actresses happy and also improves the color of your image. If you rather save those bucks, then check out this page to find out how you can do a DIY diffusion solution.


Shooting indoors can sometimes be a bit tricky - since the lightning options are often limited and rather artificial. If you are shooting in an office environment you may want to make use of the window light. However, in order to make this gracefully, you might want to consider getting one or more of these following lightning equipment: 

  • Light bounce
  • Light kit 
  • Overhead lights

It is almost impossible not to mention the rule of the thirds when it comes to video composition. The rule of thirds is basically a 3x3 grid on top of any image or video. Your main subjects in the image should fall within the intersections of these lines or along and within the lines. Perhaps this image does a better job at describing it: 


What the rule of thirds does is that it makes the visuals more aesthetically pleasing. Once you start thinking of the rule - you will quickly realize that the majority of photos and videos out there follow this guidance. 

To really amp up your video - switch up your shots and angles! Vary between very wide shots to close ups to over the shoulder shots. If you need more inspiration of how that could look like head over here

You also have a bunch of different angles to choose from - eye level, dutch, low or high angle are just some of them. What they all have in common is that they each have their own way of communicating something. Take a high angle for example (a shot that “looks down” on the subject) will communicate a power difference and that the person is not in control. A side view will make the viewer feel like an observer. If this feels overwhelming to think of - starting a shot list might make things feel a bit manageable. 

Smartphone videos - because sometimes, the best camera is the one you have with you

As mentioned earlier in this guide - what makes a good video is the actual story behind it. That means that there is not always need for fancy equipment - your smartphone works just fine to be create videos that move people. For more in-depth tricks to how to nail smartphone videography - check out this post (Link to existing post: 5 tips for shooting video..)

Video editing can also be easily arranged from just the tip of your finger on a smartphone. Vimeo made a great job collecting a bunch of free video editing apps (link: As with other forms editing - the less is better, especially when it comes to journalism! 

Social media and videos


As much as 85% of videos on Facebook are watched without any sound on - something worth keeping in mind when creating content for which platform. To succeed with videos on Facebook - make sure your content

Hot tips: 

Put in some extra effort into creating really good thumbnails - meaning upload your own and don’t just settle for whatever Facebook gives you. By doing this, you can capture people’s attention as they scroll through their feed. 


Instagram makes a great platform for video content. One reason being that most people’s feed are covered by photos - so moving videos can work as a good disruption. We listed some best practices (Link to: How to make a video for instagram). 

Hot tips: 

Record a video for your Instagram Stories completely hands-free! Swipe right in the app to open the Instagram Stories camera. When you swipe through the options in the bottom of the screen - select “Hands-free” and push the record button. Once you are done recording - simply tap the record button again. Done! 


YouTube is the second largest search engine - after Google Search. Every minute 300 hours of videos ( are uploaded - making the platform very diverse and a great place for people to search for information and entertainment. 

Hot tips: 

Make sure all your videos are shareable - so that they reach their full potential!


For what has been seen as a strictly professional and rather conservative platform for very long - LinkedIn is slowly breaking through to a more relaxed social media. Many companies and organisations are now getting more into videos and professionals are receptive for it now. You can upload videos either via other video platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo etc or directly from LinkedIn. 

Hot tips: 

There are three places you can share videos on Linkedin; your profile, LinkedIn Publisher and updates (the general feed). Publishing videos on your profile makes a great way of showing people what you are good at - instead of just telling them. LinkedIn video can really make your profile stand out - something worth noting when applying for jobs! 

Last editing touches

Computer & software

Video editing does not have to be complicated but it will require you to have a computer with enough storage and memory capacity for you to run video editing programs smoothly. 

There are tons of editing software out there. iMovie, Premiere Pro, Shotcut, Final Cut Pro - and that is just to mention a few. However, there is no need to run off to install fancier video editing programs such as Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro unless you are comfortable with video editing. Up until then - the free programs work just fine!

There are heaps different shortcuts out there which can help your editing work tremendously. Therefore, it might be worth googling some helpful shortcuts specific for the software you use. 

Edit for storytelling

When editing remember to go back to your storytelling days. Double-check so that all the content contributes to the story you wish to convey. 

Another thing worth mentioning is that less is more often when it comes to video effects. With all the video transitions and other effects that the different programs are offering - it is easy to get carried away. However, too much editing work can easily make a video look rather unprofessional. Instead, take a break from your editing and come back to it with fresh eyes. 

Color correction

Colors can be a very powerful tool when it comes to highlighting certain aspects of your video. Just like with photos, there are a lot color corrections that can be done in post-production. 

Keep in mind to maintain color consistency throughout your video to make sure your different scenes look as realistic as possible. You can also use colors to separate between time - for example using sepia as representing present and monochrome to symbolize something that took place in the past. 


Most of the work when it comes to stabilizing your footage should take place in the production, however there are ways you can get around it. If you’re using Adobe Premiere or Adobe After Effects, check out Warp Stabilizer. For those of you who use Final Cut X - you will find SmoothCam to be your saving hero. 


Now it is time to decide the music for your vide Really cool visuals need to be paired with great music. Depending on the type of video you are making - the right kind of instrumental can really emphasize what you are trying to convey. Therefore, base your background music choice on what kind of message you want to deliver. Also, alter the volume so that it does not overpower the voice over. 

To avoid any possible complaints when it comes to music licenses - make sure you choose royalty free audio. Some sites worth checking out are: Marmoset, The Music Bed and Tunefruit. 

Copy and graphics

Regardless if you choose to add subtitles to your video - you might want to include a title, an opening/closing and credits. Adobe After Effects does a good job at creating motion graphics, if you feel like venturing outside just a simple text copy.  


Depending on what the end goal with your video is - different platforms requires its own unique format. You can often find the various formats as a preset in your video editing program. Therefore, make sure not to just export your file at the largest video resolution possible - but rather specific for the platform you have in mind. 

In the end of the day, your aim should be to save it to the highest quality as possible without making it too big for sharing and viewing online. 

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