If you're like most people, you keep your smartphone by your side. From checking emails to tweets, and making social updates, it's hard not to be tethered to your device.

Mobile devices are great for taking photos and videos, but have you ever thought about creating a vlog with your smartphone or even your tablet?

5 Secrets to Creating A Better Vlog With Your Smartphone
5 Secrets to Creating A Better Vlog With Your Smartphone

“A vlog?” you ask. But of course! Your mobile device probably captures high quality HD video, so why are you using it to only capture family moments?

More and more people are interested in using their smartphones to create quality content that can be shared socially, and it's a more affordable and accessible video production solution and is always with you.

What is a Vlog?

A vlog simply is a blog with video, and you can easily turn your blog into a vlog by embedding a video within a post.

All you need is an account on a video streaming site like YouTube and you're good to go. Video is one of the most compelling and engaging types of media. It can help you establish authority, build your influence, and raise the engagement level on your site.

Types of Vlogs

  • Talking head vlog
    Talking head vlog

    Talking Head: A talking head vlog is just that, you sit in front of the camera and talk about a certain topic or shares some information (see video below).

  • How-To: A how-to vlog teaches the audience how to do something by demonstrating the action or activity.
  • Adventure/Reality: You go on an adventure or activity outside of the studio and take the camera along to record what you see and hear.

The Equipment

To create a high quality vlog, you should use the same equipment that is used with professional video productions. You'll need: a camera or your mobile device, a tripod, lights, a microphone, and a cable or two. Let's assume that you have a mobile device that captures video, so the camera is covered.

Tripod

smartphone-tripod-video-wide
Samsung Galaxy III with Tripod & Universal Tripod Adaptor

A tripod is a three-legged stabilization mount that ensures the shot is still and steady. Entry-level tripods cost around $30, and most electronic stores that sell cameras also sell tripods.

To create really smooth movements, a fluid tripod is needed. But wait!  You probably noticed that there's no way to connect a tripod to a smartphone.

You'll also need a tripod adaptor like the Glif (iPhone only) or this universal tripod adaptor that works with both Android devices and iPhones.

If you have an iPhone and want the flexibility of adding additional lenses, there is a device called the Phocus which in addition to having a tripod attachment, it has a wide angle, macro and telephoto lens that can give you some creative flexibility while shooting.

Light

If you're just starting with video, light can be more challenging especially if you're indoors, but you should always use some kind of light source because it will improve the quality of the image.  Use lamps or lights that you already have.

Consider replacing your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs).  CFLs are either balanced for daylight (5000K) which will be a whiter or bluer light, or will be orange-ish which is a characteristic of artificial light (3200K).

You'll probably need a minimum of at least two lights if you're lighting a person.  The main light will create general illumination and the second light should be placed opposite the main light to fill in the shadows.

Microphones/Audio

Rode iXY (left) Electro-Voice 635a (Right)
iPhone Rode iXY (left) and Other Mics

Audio is very important which is why you should connect a microphone to your mobile device.

If you're shooting a talking head vlog, a lavaliere or clip on lapel mic will work just fine.  But, be sure to use a TRRS (4-pin) cable to connect the mic to your device's headphone/mic jack.

A great site for TRRS cables is KVConnection.com, and  many TRRS cables also allow you to connect headphones so that you can monitor the audio after it has been recorded.

Many pros also recommend the iRig Pre to connect a mic to an iOS or Android.  There are also a number of mics that are designed for mobile devices like the iRig, smartLav, and iXY.


Check out this master list for all of the gear that is referenced above and more.

5 Mobile Video Production Tips

So, now that you're geared up, you're just about ready to shoot your video.  Here are 5 tips to help you create a high quality vlog.

#1 Shoot in airplane mode.

If you don't, a phone call, or notification will interrupt your recording.

ac_imovie_application
iMovie Application

#2 Orient your phone horizontally.

Most people hold their phone vertically when shooting video. Unless you want black bars on the side of your video, hold it horizontally.

#3 Record test footage especially if you're self shooting.

Shoot 5 – 10 seconds of video and check the shot to make sure it looks as you desire. Once you are happy with the shot, you're ready to record.

#4 Frame your shots using the rule of thirds.

The rule of thirds is a composition rule that uses a tic-tac-toe like grid as a guide to frame your subject.  Place the subject along the guide lines and your shot should look more professional.

#5 Edit on your smarthphone.

iOS devices especially have great video apps, and if you have a new iPhone 5s or 5C, it comes with a great app called iMovie. You can edit clips together, add text, narration and music with a few swipes of a finger.

Oh, here's a bonus tip – be creative and have fun!

Video production takes a bit of work no matter how easy you think it is. Your first video will be the most challenging, but like anything, the more you do it, the better you will get.

And if you're looking for an easy video editor to edit your videos, check out the Canva Video Editor.

So, what is your biggest challenge when it comes to creating professional looking videos?

Infographic

5 Secrets to Creating a Better Blog with your Smartphone
5 Secrets to Creating a Better Blog with your Smartphone

About the Author Amani Channel


Amani Channel, MA, is a former broadcast journalist, an award-winning video producer, and an adjunct professor. He is also a mobile storytelling evangelist. To learn more about mobile video production, check out his free guide and course at webvideochefs.com/mobile.

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