Use your cellphone to make pro-looking residence movies: eight suggestions for filming and modifying

Use your cellphone to make pro-looking residence movies: eight suggestions for filming and modifying


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Creating a stunning brief movie at residence may very well be an important factor to ship to these relations you are lacking this yr, who would little doubt like to really feel related with the nice occasions they’re lacking out on. And the good factor is that with superior cameras and even nice modifying software program constructed proper into your cellphone, it is by no means been simpler to shoot a pleasant video to share with family members, whether or not you’ve got received the brand-new iPhone 12 Professional Max ($1,099 at Amazon), the Galaxy S21 Extremely or an older-generation Android cellphone.

Right here, then, are my prime suggestions you must take note when making your personal video at residence this yr.

Think about what you need your video to be 

Earlier than you begin, you must give a little bit of thought to what you need your video to incorporate. It may simply be a full movie of every little thing that occurs over your kid’s upcoming lockdown birthday however take into account making it a bit extra particular. Maybe a video all concerning the video games you play collectively, or them opening their presents. 

Having a particular story to inform — even a primary one — will provide help to take into account what photographs you will have to get, and it will provide help to shoot and edit solely what you want, relatively than having infinite hours of footage to sift via. 


For my video, I made an inventory of photographs I knew I wanted, and likewise made a tough storyboard to assist develop my concepts for angles.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

For my very own festive video (embedded above), I made a decision to indicate how I make my very own scorching mulled cider. By retaining it to a particular subject I used to be capable of decide precisely the photographs I wanted and in what order, and even sketched out a storyboard of photographs forward of time. You do not have to go that far, however having a tough concept in thoughts will assist an important deal.

Set your cellphone up correctly 

Nearly all current smartphones can take nice video, but it surely’s value trying out the settings to ensure you’re able to go. Your decision settings are as much as you, however full HD (1080p) might be place to begin, because it’ll look good however will not replenish your cellphone’s storage too shortly. You possibly can ramp it as much as 4K in case your cellphone permits, and even drop it to 720p when you’re on an older machine that will not deal with modifying as nicely.

Maintain your video clips brief and candy

Whereas it is simple to face and movie a five-minute clip of somebody peeling potatoes for dinner, the fact is that whenever you watch that again, you will notice it is manner too lengthy to stay attention-grabbing. As a substitute, take into account retaining every clip to round 15-20 seconds in size. You is perhaps shocked at how lengthy 15 seconds of video truly looks like whenever you watch it again, and having numerous shorter clips minimize collectively will give the video a extra partaking, extra skilled really feel.


Do not overshoot — I solely wanted about 5 seconds of this overhead shot within the completed video, so taking pictures a minute or extra of footage would have been pointless and time-consuming.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Stabilize your cellphone

There’s nothing that may destroy a video fairly as simply as shaky hand-held footage. In case your cellphone has a stabilized video mode, ensure it is turned on. If not, think about using a small tripod to maintain your cellphone regular. This after all additionally permits you, the filmmaker, to be concerned within the motion as nicely, which is nice when you’re the one doing the cooking, or handing out presents. 

Get artistic with angles

An effective way to enhance the cinematic qualities in your movie is to experiment with completely different angles. Say you are capturing the second your youngster takes a gift from beneath the tree at Christmas — do not simply movie them out of your standing place close by, however as an alternative take into account how one can seize that second in a extra thrilling manner. Even perhaps put the cellphone contained in the tree, among the many presents, so that you see your youngster reaching towards the digital camera to retrieve their present.

There isn’t any finish to the methods you’ll be able to play along with your angles, so have a take into consideration how one can shake issues up. You possibly can at all times attempt to reshoot sure issues from a number of angles (or arrange a spare cellphone or digital camera for one more angle) after which minimize them collectively in your video editor afterwards. In my video, for instance, I wished to indicate the cinnamon and ginger being thrown into the pot, so I used two angles: one from a first-person perspective wanting into the pot, and one other the place I would positioned my cellphone behind the pot to indicate me throwing the substances in. It is little parts like this that may make an enormous distinction general.


I used a tripod to get this overhead shot, and used a small LED gentle to brighten up the cider within the pan. It isn’t a sublime setup — the sunshine is simply balanced on a roll of paper towel!

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Enhance the audio

In case your video will embrace folks speaking to the digital camera — maybe your youngster thanking Grandma for the current — you will wish to ensure your cellphone can seize that audio clearly. For the most effective outcomes, take into account shopping for a small exterior microphone just like the Rode VideoMicro, which plugs into your cellphone’s headphone jack (or the ability port, by way of an adapter) and can dramatically enhance the sound high quality.

Should you do not wish to spend money on additional gear there’s nonetheless quite a bit you are able to do to assist. Turning off or no less than reducing background music or closing the doorways to drown out kitchen home equipment will make an enormous distinction in how clear these voices might be captured.

Experiment with sluggish movement and time lapses

Most up-to-date telephones have modes for taking sluggish movement video and for time lapses and each might be nice instruments on your video. After all, it must make sense to make use of them — sluggish movement to decelerate fast-paced motion, and time lapse to hurry up an extended sequence.

In my mulled cider video, I used sluggish movement when lighting the range to offer a cinematic high quality to the flames erupting, and I additionally slowed down the footage of me throwing ginger into the pot to get an important slow-mo impact on the cider splashing up. As it is a brief sequence it did not make plenty of sense to do a time lapse, however if you wish to seize the entire course of of constructing dinner, for instance, a time lapse from excessive up in your kitchen, videoing you transferring round over possibly a few hours could be a neat addition to a vacation movie.


I arrange a stage for the ultimate shot: some festive orange pine cone decorations in entrance of my Christmas tree. A bit additional effort like this on the filming stage makes an enormous distinction within the completed video.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Edit your video

Upon getting your video clips it is time to piece them collectively. This may be essentially the most difficult half, particularly for these of you who’re completely new to video manufacturing. Fortunately, there are straightforward methods of doing issues. 

Some telephones, just like the iPhones ($599 at Apple), in addition to current Samsung Galaxy telephones, have built-in auto video makers that let you choose some clips and robotically minimize them collectively into a movie, full with background music and transitions between clips. They don’t seem to be at all times essentially the most elegant of productions, however they’re value retaining in thoughts when you’re a complete newbie. 

Alternatively, look in direction of apps like Quik by GoPro. It is free and likewise allows you to drop a number of video clips right into a venture for the app to robotically flip right into a completed movie. iPhone customers can even be capable to use Apple’s iMovie totally free, which is a particularly easy-to-use video editor, with quite a lot of presets and types accessible. Adobe Premiere Rush has all kinds of modifying instruments and is constructed to be cellular pleasant. It is an important app, but it surely does value $10 (£9, AU$15) a month, so it is solely value contemplating when you assume you will wish to do extra video manufacturing.

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