Before starting to shoot video with a mobile phone it is important to understand the limitations that you must try and work within. The chip that records the image on a phone is by necessity very small. The lenses can still have large apertures and the pixel count high but optically there are two things a small chip can not do well.
The first is low light. The new full sized DSLR’s like the Nikon D800 and the Canon 5D have very large chips that will allow them to shoot images in incredibly low light situations. When shooting with a mobile you need to re-think what is and is not possible and try to avoid low light or add some of your own light wherever possible. Beware that the phone may still show you an image on the back of the small screen, but when you view the recording on a larger screen you see it has a lot of digital noise making it look mushy.
The second limitation of the chip is that optically it is hard to create a shallow depth of focus. This means everything in the frame is likely to be in focus. This is fine when you are shooting wide landscapes in bright light, but not so good when you are taking a portrait or doing an interview when you want to put the background out of focus.
Work within these limitations and you should still be able to produce good quality videos.
Shooting video on a mobile
In the second video D J Clark explains how to work within the limitations of a phone when shooting video. Keeping things simple will bring the best results.
Successful mobile phone videos are made when the user keeps things very simple. Try and think about how your story will unfold and shoot a variety (wide, mid and close-ups) of B-Roll to help illustrate what you will say on the voice over. For interviews keep the questions simple and look for short concise responses. Remember you won’t be able to put B-Roll over the top of the interview if you edit on the phone.
Continue to the next section: Going Mobile: Mobile video editing