Mobile Phone Video
Recently we were involved in the post production of a mobile phone video using print graphics and motion graphics. The original footage supplied was shot on a mobile phone that was not so new but was capable of recording both video and audio in a semi-reasonable resolution. They wisely used a cable fed clip-on microphone that was plugged directly into the mobile phone and it produced a surprisingly good result.
Audio, so important!
Digital pre-press operators used to get print files made in a way that was below resolution for print or used cheap, corrupted fonts, hence the term.
If you don’t have a clip-on mic then make sure you frame the footage in such a way that you still get good audio. It’s important to keep the mobile camera steady and in range, and even better, on a tripod.
This is also true of video quality. You can pass digital filters over compromised footage and get to a level of acceptance but it comes at a cost. Some filters and requirements can be so time consuming and costly it’s cheaper to reshoot the footage. With video quality also begs the question of what video goes where.
What Video Goes Where
From experience, the better quality videos you produce with support graphics should go onto your YouTube channel or Vimeo which will then be streamed through your website also. Hand held videos or videos below professional grade can be used on other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. These platforms work best with immediate, spontaneous and even live broadcasting video formats.
If you can, use a mobile phone camera with the highest resolution because this footage will eventually be mixed with graphics for HD output to YouTube, Facebook, Titter and your website. If your resolution is below HD 1980 x 1040px, then there may be only limited ways to use the footage for HD output.
Using a split screen is one good option. One half being the original video, shot in portrait mode “vertical” and then using motion graphics on the other side. This is a magazine or editorial style commonly used in news broadcasts. It’s also good for selling products or for explainer videos where there may be animation as well as motion graphics.
Shoot Landscape HD
Ultimately, for designers, getting mobile footage that is in HD landscape, shot using a tripod with good audio using clip on mics for audio is best. Source footage in this format allows the freedom to design whatever is required for professional results.
Use different shots, such as a full shot, to emphasise points if narrating a scene.
Use a half shot as your default view when narrating a scene’s main content, and use long and full shots as cutaways to other points or different articles.
No Rules But Continuity Is A Must
Determining a video style of shooting will produce a more professional result and audience will be able to follow the flow of each article easier. Using a basic script with the types of shots required for section of an article will make this easier. Preparation is key to a good presentation.
Lighting in another critical area that needs to be right to achieve a higher level of production. In the simplest form, using two side lights and a back light with diffusers can achieve an excellent result. Setting a balance in contrast and colour with your lighting will be one of the more technical challenges. If you’re using a green screen to composite graphics or a background onto, ensure the lighting is as even as possible across the green screen.
Otherwise shoot outside in very light shade where there are no cast shadows on the subjects. Use a tripod and position the phone at a distance where the audio recording is still good. This will provide good colour and contrast to your mobile video footage ensuring the audio is useable.
Formats commonly used are .mov and .mp4. Transferring large files, we recommend the free to use wetransfer.com.