Shooting Video Content on a Smartphone

taking instagram video with phone
Nigel Rodgers
Nigel Rodgers
October 21, 2015
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If you’re running an independent hotel, chances are you don’t have a huge budget to film professional video content. Fortunately, if you’re one of the 77% of American adults who own a smartphone (2017), then you have a powerful camera at the tip of your fingers. Smartphone camera technology has become so advanced that it’s possible to shoot professional looking videos without spending thousands on a DSLR digital camera. All you need is a smartphone and some video editing software to make a basic video. If you want to take your videography to the next level, there are plenty of useful accessories for your smartphone cameras. Below are some ways to shoot great videos for your hotel, using only your phone and necessary peripherals.

taking instagram video with phone

One of the most important aspects of filming from your smartphone is getting the best picture quality. The first rule to remember is to always hold your camera horizontally when filming. Holding the camera vertically will make your footage narrow and does not transfer well to most viewing platforms. Most modern phones like the new iPhone's and many other flagship phones come with high resolution cameras. Even though these cameras can deliver beautiful shots, there are great add-ons and apps to improve the quality of your footage. Apps like Vizzywig ($30) (iPhone) and Camera ICS (Free) (Android) offer great features like stabilization and autofocus to help get you the best looking frames possible. There are also small lens attachments like the Photojojo Lenses ($100) (Apple & Android) that can provide you with a wide range of lens types that will allow you to get more creative with the videos you film at your hotel.

Another important factor for picture quality is lighting. Lighting can make or break a great shot. Sometimes the room you’re trying to film in is too dark or there’s an unappealing shadow over the subject in front of your camera. Lights can make a shot feel more vibrant as well as affect the mood of your video. Natural light is usually the best light but sometimes it isn’t always available. One of the best lighting accessories is the Pocket Spotlight ($30). This light is compatible with both Android and Apple phones and comes with a number of color filters that allow you to affect the ambiance of your video when you shoot.

Sometimes, like when filming digital tours, you’ll need to film and move at the same time. This may cause the camera to jolt with every step you step. There are also those who don’t have steady hands, causing the camera to shake slightly while you film. To create more stable shots, using a tripod or a stabilizer is key. If you want to walk and film, something like the Joby GorillaPod Hybrid ($39.95) is a great choice. This flexible tripod can bend and twist at the perfect angle to ensure you get a great stable shot. If you plan to walk while you film, avoid the movement caused by taking steps by using the Fly-X3 Phone Stabilizer ($269.99). This motorized handheld accessory allows you to walk, twirl, jump and run while keeping your footage smooth and steady.

As mentioned above, picture is important towards the quality of your film. Though the resolution quality of smartphone cameras is constantly improving, the phones still lack high-quality audio. Poor sound quality can instantly separate the professionals from the amateurs.  If you’re standing far away from your subject or you’re in a noisy area, your audio quality will not come out great. The TASCAM iM2 ($29.95) is a great audio recording attachment for your Apple devices. You can adjust the spectrum of reception with this microphone and it is built with a pre amp to enhance low volume recording. The iM2 works with just about any audio app to enhance sounds that are recorded.

As you can see, you don’t need a large budget to get professional quality videos for your hotel. If the prices of the items from above are added up, everything will total about $500 which is still less than your standard hi-res DSLR camera. Since video content is so important, hoteliers should definitely take advantage of how easy it is to get high-quality footage.  

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