Let’s dive into to shooting professional-looking YouTube videos with your smartphone.
I’m going to cover the settings on your phone that you need to have as well as ways to consider your staging and even how to create some great audio, plus at the very end, I’m gonna throw in a couple extra bonuses that really are gonna make it easy for you, so stick around.
Will Your Camera Work?
If you’re using a smartphone that has come out within the last several years, you’ll probably be able to record high quality, professional videos with it. You just want to make sure that your phone has a capability to record in 1920 by 1080 which is basic HD. It doesn’t have to do 4K or Ultra HD or anything like that, Simply regular HD is just fine.
Regardless of which type of cell phone you have- an iPhone or Android- all of the smartphones released over the last several years have this capability – which is great news! You can start creating YouTube videos without having to go out and buy an expensive DSLR camera!
Which Camera Lens Should You Use?
Even though it is easier to shoot videos in selfie mode with your forward facing camera on your phone since it enables you to easily see where you sit in the frame, you’re typically going to get better video quality using the back facing camera as the back cameras are usually higher quality.
So yes, when I record myself with my cell phone, I will use the camera on the back of my cell. It can be a little annoying as I do take a few shots just to ensure I’m centered in the frame, which takes a bit of time to set up and test, but I know it will produce a better, higher quality video for publishing.
You need to make sure to wipe off your lens before you record your video. Just give it a little polish before you get started. You’ll be amazed at the difference. It picks up all kinds of stuff, finger prints, skin off your face, makeup, even just what gets left behind when you clean it with baby wipes. All of these things will leave a film on your lens, and it shows when you record your video. Just take a second to wipe your lens so you have a crisp, professional video.
A huge mistake that I see a lot of people make when they’re first getting started is they hold their phone vertically to record their videos. Vertical videos happen when you hold your camera the wrong way, your video will end up looking pretty trashy.
Vertical video only works on IGTV, Instagram live, and TikTok.
If you’re making videos for those platforms, that’s great… but if you’re created a video for YouTube, it’s super unprofessional to record vertically. Your video will look amateur because you’re going to get those big wide black bars on the side of your video because YouTube videos are meant to be in horizontal mode.
So when you shoot your video with your cell phone, make sure that you hold your phone horizontally, and record it that way, otherwise, you’ll look like an amateur. You want to look like a professional when you’re creating videos on YouTube, so just hold it horizontally.
If you make the mistake of starting a video vertical, and have to switch it to horizontal, just stop your recording, delete it, and then start over so you can create a better final product.
Now, when it comes to staging, the very first thing that you need to think about is lighting. You don’t need a professional light kit. The most important thing for you is to be aware of where the best natural lighting is around where you are shooting, and face it.
You can set yourself up in front of a glass door or a window and use the light from outside to shine nicely on your face. If you’re facing a window, you get all the beautiful natural light on your face.
You don’t actually have to use natural lighting itself if you have LED light bulbs at your house that have the color range of 5,000 to 6,000K (kelvin). That’s the same color signature as natural daylight. If you have lights like this, then you can basically set them up so that you’re facing a lamp or whatever lightsource you have using the LED lights with this wattage. You just want to make sure you don’t have a lot of shadows on your face. Have your face well lit, so you get natural tones showing. The old fashioned light bulbs have a kind of golden-yellow tone to it that doesn’t look great and won’t work as well.
In addition to considering your lighting, you also need to record your videos with your background in mind. Frankly, this is why you will only ever see me doing videos in the same room… I have a locked door and my children can’t go in and mess it up. Because the rest of my house is a mess, I don’t ever shoot videos anywhere else. So think about what’s in the background where you are shooting your video, and try and keep it from distracting viewers from the focus of your video.
If you’re shooting without any equipment at all, then you’ll want to think about how you can prop up your cell phone while you record your video. There are several creative ways you can do this, like stacking up books and propping the phone against them, use rubber bands to stick onto whatever can keep that phone in place, or even just use a selfie stick if you have one. Just find a way to get your phone to stay still and make sure it’s secure because it’s really annoying to be in the middle of your video and then have your phone flop over. So secure your phone, and prop it up to give you a good angle.
Audio is crazy important. If you mess up your audio, it’s really best to scrap the whole video and start over because people will not watch your video if the audio is hard to listen to.
Unfortunately, I’ve been there myself, where I’ve had necklaces that were clicking against my mic or earrings making noise or fidgeting with my hair that made scratching and annoying noise where I had to reshoot a WHOLE video.
But here’s the thing. People will actually put up with bad visual quality over bad audio quality. If you have really good value that you’re giving in the content of your videos, people are going to put up with bad lighting or other less-than-ideal visual elements in your videos. However, people’s ears are actually much more sensitive than our eyes and people cannot deal with a bunch of clicking or wind noises and different things like that. It’ll drive them crazy and they will more likely than not just leave your video. So it’s very important to pay particular attention to the audio in your video.
If you don’t have a microphone, and you’re only shooting with your cell phone, you need to keep this in mind when you set yourself up for the recording. You want to make sure that you are inside in a quiet room of your house where the cell phone can pick your voice as clearly as possible. It’s great to shoot outside but there are a lot of variables that are outside your control like the wind and environmental noise that will just tank a video. The external noises will compete for your audience’s attention and ultimately drive them crazy. So don’t shoot outside if you don’t have any additional equipment, any microphone to use.
If you have tile or hardwood floors in an open space and maybe it’s not a very furnished room, you might find yourself having the echo effect. An easy way to resolve this is to grab some blankets and throw them down on the floor; that will help to absorb some of your sound, dampen it, and remove the echo.
Something else that is important to keep in mind when it comes to the quality of your audio with your cellphone is the proximity of yourself to your phone. You need to be close to your phone, since you are just using it’s internal microphone.
You may be creating a fancy scene where you are wanting drama and intrigue, but if you put your body too far away from the camera, the sound quality will suffer. Your cellphone isn’t going to pick up great audio from you sitting far away from your phone. So make sure that you set up close to your cell phone so that the internal microphone will work just fine for you.
And on that note, project your voice and don’t mumble! Make sure you project your voice so your words can be understood and heard.
Now, we’ve got two little bonus tips for you.
Like I said before, your audio is actually the most important part of your video, so the first piece of equipment that you should invest in will be a microphone. If you’re wondering if buying a mic is actually worth it, well, it is! And they aren’t that expensive at all for the quality that they provide to your videos.
My lavalier mic is very inexpensive, under $20. You can see which one I use HERE.
The lav mic will pick up your voice crystal clear, really producing a much more professional sound and allow you more flexibility and distance from your phone.
Now, the second piece of equipment that I would recommend that you grab is a basic ring light and stand for your phone. You can see the one I use HERE.
So you don’t need to go out and invest in a big DSLR camera or expensive light kit, that’s certainly not necessary for you to create high quality videos for YouTube. This basic ring light and stand combo will help you shoot professional looking videos in multiple locations, keeping your phone nice and secure, with a light source that will keep you looking crisp and clear. You can find these on Amazon for less than $25 bucks, and it’s a great tool to use when you’re ready for that second investment.
If this article has been helpful and you are really looking to get started with shooting your professional videos so that you can share your content on YouTube, you definitely want to watch THIS VIDEO where I share with you how you can easily edit your video on your phone create high quality YouTube videos.