Avoid the default camera app.   

Although we’d all agree the default camera apps are starting to get much better on smartphones, they’re still focused on providing a solution that most people can just pick up, point, shoot and get a good result.

For video however, I find they don’t give you the best control when it comes to exposure, focus and lighting, which other downloadable apps can. What you want to be able to do;

Lock exposure – Picture this – you’re conducting an interview style video, the subject moves slightly, which changes the light balance in the image, and videoas a result, on the fly, the camera tries to make an adjustment to accommodate and the color and light balance changes in the video. Logically, you know there’s not really any need to change the exposure settings, but the camera does it for you anyway. This can kill color and light consistency in the end video, and look really unprofessional. The solution? Using your app, you can lock the exposure once you have it set the first time. So if you’re subject moves, or the camera does, you’re not going to get big compensations in exposure made by the camera automatically. Your result will be far more consistent and professional looking.

Control focus – You know those really cool shots where the focus will move from the background to the subject or vice versa? Just at the right time. With your downloaded app, you should have a setting that allows you to manually choose what’s focused on, allowing you to quickly and easily change focus from a target in the background, to the subject in the foreground. These are super cool filler shots that help frame the story and provide a bit of texture in your videos.

FYI, my choice of app for my Android is a free app called ‘Open Camera’.

Turn on Airplane mode

Simple. But don’t forget. Some moments you only get one chance the catch on camera, and you don’t want that interrupted by an email, sms or phone call coming in.

Get your hands off the phone

If you can, mount the phone on selfie stick, tripod or some other device that’ll get your hands off it. The further your hands are from the phone, the steadier the final footage will appear.

Avoid shooting in direct sunlight

Direct sunlight will mess with exposure, and particularly with a phone, its prone to making footage look blown out. If you have control over the filming (e.g. interviewing a subject) whilst outdoors, aim to have them in shadow or wait for cloud cover if you can. Else, head indoors where you can control the light.

Make sure your subject is facing the light source

While we’re talking about light…  where possible make sure your subject is facing the light so
rce. If you have multiple light sources, try to use them against each other to create balance on the subject (as in both sides of the face are lit).

If you’re shooting outside and can’t avoid the sun, make sure it’s behind the camera. Its better if the subject is squinting and well lit, than if the subject is a mere silhouette.

Know what you’re trying to achieve

Don’t even start shooting until you know and have planned these 4 things;

  • Have the story thought through. What are the beginning, middle and end? How will you transition from one phase to another. How will it end? What do you want the audience to do when it does?
  • Know your brand and stay true to it.
  • Know your audience. This should set the tempo, the mood, the language used, the graphics, transitions etc. Does it need to be serious? Upbeat? Moody? So on.
  • What is your objective? Why are you doing the video and what do you want your audience to do when they watch it? How do you want them to feel? What emotion are your trying to reach which will move them to take the action your want them to?

Any combination of those quick tips, I guarantee you’ll create better quality, more interesting video content for your brand or business.



Tim Davies, Director, Hyper Social

A Geelong local, Tim is a serial SME business leader with a proven record in digital marketing and business growth.

Tim’s experience includes taking an Australian company to triple digit annual growth worthy of a place on BRW’s fastest 100 growing private companies list (2007-2009). He holds a Bachelor of Technology, has marketing agency experience and a deep passion for business growth.

Most recently, Tim helped local investors create and open one of Australia’s biggest indoor trampoline and climbing parks. The park has quickly established itself into one of the must-do tourist experiences in the Geelong & Bellarine region.