That won't cost you any money
So you want to promote your business through video, but the only camera you have is a smartphone? Smartphones are amazing for creating social media videos or informal updates. Here are some simple ways you can create better smartphone videos.
Natural light looks beautiful and is free! However there are some things to consider.
If you're filming outside on a sunny day at midday you are going to get harsh shadows, unwanted contrast and people squinting. So look for places with open shade (open shade is a place that is shaded from direct sunlight but is illuminated by reflected light.) Examples of open shade are under trees and between buildings.
A cloudy or overcast day gives you diffused light which is much softer than on a sunny day, no more harsh shadows and squinting. So if you need to shoot something outside and you see it's a cloudy day, get out of your home, studio, office quickly! If you think the visuals are too flat you can always add a bit of contrast when you are editing.
Window Light (This is also a way you can light an interview if you don’t have lights)
Why not shoot indoors and use window light. You can have your subject facing towards the window light and it will create a kind of spot light look. You can also use side light from the window, this would be having your subject parallel to the window, which will create a more dramatic look as it creates more contrast, if you are finding that there is too much contrast, try using a reflector to bounce the light back onto your subject (creating a fill light). Finally back lighting this can be tricky with smartphones and you will probably have to do it at golden hour (see below) hide the sun behind the subject and you may even get amazing lens flare.
Golden hour / magic hour is the hour before and after sunrise and sunset. During this time the light is soft, directional and warm. You might have to get out of bed quite early, but once you look at the footage you've got you will be happy! One of the best ways to use golden hour light is as backlighting.
Consider these things when composing your shots
Leading lines are the key compositional element that carries our eye through the photograph. They can be used to emphasise the subject, create depth and create a visual journey from one place to another. Examples include roads, fences, rivers and the shoreline. A leading line creates an easy path for the eye to follow through the visual you have created.
Rule of Thirds
You've probably heard of this, but incase you haven't. The rule of thirds suggests dividing your image into thirds and placing the subject on one of those sides, instead of in the center. Like other rules in composition the rule of thirds is meant only as a guideline, as placing your subject in the centre can also make for a beautiful composition. However more often than not, the rule of thirdes helps create stronger images.
Using framing is another way you can emphasize the subject you are filming. Whether it's a very literal frame, like a window or a door or something in nature like tree branches, you can even frame with light or a lack of light.
Another way to improve your filming is to look at other peoples films and photography or even paintings that you love and analyse how they have created such beautiful imagery.
Think about where your phone's mic is located, it's usually on the bottom. Next, make sure that no cases, fingers or anything else are covering it. When they are clear point the mic to the sound you're wanting to capture. I have also seen people using the mic on their headphones that comes with the iphone, just clip it somewhere near your mouth, so your collar or strap of your top. If you can record your audio separately, hold the phone about 3-6 inches from your mouth.
Find a quiet place
Improve your audio by amplifying the sounds you want to capture and dampening those that you don't. Put your phone on Airplane Mode to avoid beeps. Don't record in rooms where anything buzzes or hums, fridge and fans can make a big difference in the quality of your audio recording. Shut the windows and doors to avoid the noise of traffic or people chatting next door. Also avoid wind at all costs it sounds horrendous. A room with carpet is great and ideally lots of stuff in the room to limit or prevent echo. If you can record your audio separately another trick is to put a blanket over your head whilst sitting on a couch or a bed — this keeps the sound in and prevents echo.
Getting closer to your subject can make your audio sound so much better than it would at a distance. Finally if you have an iphone on iOS, the built-in Voice Memo app can capture perfectly fine audio, and you can improve it even further by heading to Settings - Voice Memos - Audio Quality and changing the quality to Lossless.
Buy a mic
Ok this is not free, but if you want to spend money on something this would be the one thing I'd recommend. A simple lav is pretty cheap and will make a massive difference to your audio, I would recommend the rode smart lav which you can just plug straight into your phone.