Tips for Taking Video using Your Cell Phone

Often our clients have captured their own video or wish to capture their own video using their cell phones. It can be a huge cost savings as hiring a professional camera person or team will cost $500 and up per day. You can do a great job with a professional look with just a few inexpensive tools and techniques, using the cell phone you carry every day.

Basic Gear

  • Tripod with cell phone holder adapter – you may need to purchase these separately. You want a tripod that extends to at least 50”. (available for under $30)
  • Lavaliere microphone for cell phones – to use with cell phones the plug needs to have 3 black strips, instead of 2 as you see on stereo mics. (available for under $20)

That’s it! Those two tools can help you collect more professional video.


Phone settings:
Standard HD is 1920×1080. Most new phones can also record Ultra HD, commonly known as 4K, which is a much higher resolution. If you plan to post and edit video yourself, you will likely use standard HD. If you plan to collect the video then have a professional editor create your program, ask if they would prefer UHD or 4K. Most will be very happy to have the higher resolution because it allows them to reframe the video to match other framing or add motion. One caution – UHD or 4k files are much larger, so you’ll need plenty of storage.

Shooting tips:

  • Turn your camera sideways – widescreen.
  • Use the tripod.
  • When collecting interviews or speaking, always use the microphone. In these cases, the audio is equally or more important than the video!

For interviews:

  • Set the camera to their eye level, then sit beside the camera. Encourage them to talk to you.  Imagine the screen cut into thirds. Their eye level should be on the upper third line (leaving some headroom above.) If you are on the right of the camera, center the interviewee off center to the left.  Reverse framing if you are on the left of the camera.
  • Choose a well-lit area with a window or harsh light in the background.  A window or light behind your subject will cause your subject to be dark.
  • Surroundings can help tell your story. Books on the shelf, items in view, the scenery, can create a feeling or mood as can how the person is dressed.

These simple tips can help make your video easier watch. It’s the content you want the audience to remember. If they can clearly hear the message and it’s visually pleasing to watch, you’ll be more successful.

Guidelines for Cell Phone Video Capture

Written by Blog Contributor: Linda S. Henderson

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