Beginner Tips for Recording Video on Your Cell Phone

Pocket Camera

Filming on your cell phone, no matter the brand, is popular amongst the burgeoning, palm-obsessed cell phones users. As smart phones like the Blackberry and iPhone begin integrating more complex video production modules into their technical mini-landscape the idea of cell phone filmmaking is coming with a less than critical applause. The functionality of these video machines is limited and unique to the format; therefore there are different and parallel principles that should be followed. Here are some tips for effectively recording video on your cell phone.

Small Size

Light weight cameras have had an issue with stability – this is just something that comes along with their small and versatile size. This concept is made exceptional with the cell phone as its size is that of an object originally intended just to speak into. The video ends up being much shakier then you would get from a 35 MM film camera (which no one without studio funding can afford).

To combat this you are going to have to be overly stable in your phone positioning. Position yourself against walls, lower the camera’s position out of sight often, and try to stabilize on external objects. To date there is still no tripod for a cell phone, but you can try and write a few companies. Or build one of your own!

No Zoom

In an effort to even further combat the shakiness of the final frame you are going to have to avoid digital zoom, as well as physical zoom if your space age device lodges this. Zooming into an object on your cell phone is only going to decrease image clarity and increase the shakiness on the borders of the image. It is better to just get closer when possible and same the zoom for object that are far away and cannot be made closer.  In almost every case the zoom that is possible is not going to be an actual lens based zoom, but instead a digital zoom that just zooms into the image.  This means that the image is not really made closer, but instead just blown up.  This heavily degrades the image in all cases, and on a cell phone it will usually make it unusable.

Uploading Video

Transferring the video off of your camera can be difficult, and the iPhone 3Gs even gives you functions to alter it right on the phone. You are going to need to figure out how to load the video clips from your phone to your computer immediately so you can then integrate them into a video editing project. Without the ability to edit your videos the entire process has no merit.


Never expect the audio to be good when it is recorded with the video on your cell phone. Some phones will allow outside microphones, and if not try to just use the video from your clip.  What is a great option is to try to match the video with a portable audio recording device like a Zoom recorder, or even utilize an audio specific recording program on your smart phone separate from the video.

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Video Editing

It is really only a recent development to find that video editing is actually possible on a cell phone, and really only practical on the iPhone.  Now with the development of the iMovie iPhone app you have the ability to do full service video editing for your cell phone developed files, even plugging directly into social networking tools for upload.  This iPhone video editing is a nice addition for your projects, but if you want the kind of features that you are allocated on a professional non-linear video editing system you will need to actually sync these files over to your computer for proper post-production.  iPhone video editing is, however, a great way to reduce long videos to short ones when you still need an immediate video upload period.

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