Shooting video on a smartphone: The dos and don’ts

A smartphone is a viable substitute for a real digital video camera when an impromptu shoot presents itself, expert Paolo Tosolini says, but the devices have their limitations.

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So says enterprise social video consultant Paolo Tosolini. And the one type of camera more and more people are carrying around, pretty much all the time, are smartphones. A smartphone can be a good substitute for a Flip camera or other digital cameras. Indeed, many communicators are using them for their corporate videos.

But shooting video is simply not a phone’s primary function. Communicators need to be aware of what they can and can’t do, he says. It’s worthwhile to invest in some add-ons to make the quality of your smartphone videos better, Tosolini advises.

The rig

Last week, Tosolini posted a video to YouTube demonstrating how a fairly basic rig—a $12 bracket, a $15 to $18 tripod mount, a $24 microphone and $24 connector cable, and a $46 light panel—can vastly improve the quality of videos shot with smartphones.

“The rig shows the potential of capturing good video,” Tosolini says. “All the pieces of the rig respond to a particular need.”

With that in mind, he notes, you don’t always need every piece. For instance, the light panel is required only in places where the lighting is dim. One piece is almost always essential, however.

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