This article is an updated guide to shooting videos with your iPhone. We will cover everything step by step, so you will learn exactly how to film professional videos with iPhone. We will go through all the latest camera settings and tools. Also, we will share iPhone video tips to get awesome results and take your filming to the next level.
This guide will run you through a 12-step process to filming amazing videos with your iPhone. Use this guide like a checklist and you can’t go wrong!
Throughout the guide, you’ll see references to some basic equipment; tools to take your results from great to AMAZING. None of these are absolutely required, so by all means go ahead and get started without them. We’ve even included some tips on how you can piece together workarounds where possible!
After you’ve gone through this guide a few times and seen just how quickly the steps alone improve your results, we’ll highly recommend trying the process with this equipment.
Before we jump into the process, let’s start off by running through a list of this equipment that will be handy to film professional videos with an iPhone.
- A small tripod and mount to hold your phone while you film.
- A quality microphone to capture the best audio.
1. Prepare your content for filming
It sounds pretty obvious when you hear it but proper preparation helps you to create an amazing video much more easily instead of just trying to wing it or figure it all out while you are in front of the camera.
Draft some bullet points (or a complete script, whatever works better for you) summarizing the key items to cover in your video.
2. Find a suitable location
The location for your video needs to tie in with the content or theme of your video so selecting a location is important! When choosing a backdrop, remember to AVOID:
- Too much background noise.
- Bright lights or the sun facing the camera.
- An overly dark scene without sufficient ambient light.
- An overly active or ‘busy’ background, which may distract viewers.
- the best background for videos best background for videos
- You also want to find a place that matches the overall feel or vibe of what you are going in for your videos.
For example, it would not really make sense to have a cooking video filmed in a gym. You want to make sure that the content is congruent with what you are saying and where you are actually shooting it. The most ideal location would ideally be something where you can just set everything up and leave it set up.
Generally, phone cameras aren’t great in low light so make sure your location is well lit. Also, don’t forget that a lot of your background will be in focus (unlike when you shoot with a DSLR).
3. Choose the front or rear camera
There are pros and cons to each. If you want the highest quality video recording out of your iPhone, then use the primary camera on the back of the device. However, it will make it pretty hard for you to shoot videos by yourself in this way. You will need to make sure you are in focus and you’re actually recording since the iPhone screen will be facing the other way.
The front-facing camera is easier to shoot with because you can see yourself, however, it’s typically lower quality than the camera on the back of your iPhone. When recording the video this way make sure you are making eye contact with the camera lens instead of the phone screen.
If you have a new recent phone you can still get great results with either.
4. Clean the camera lens
It might be obvious to most people. But a lot of people do not do it. Remember you are using your phone. Clean the camera lens on your phone to remove any fingerprints or smudges, makeup preferably with a microfibre cloth. In order to film professional videos with iPhone, the camera lens should be clean.
5. Stabilize and position your camera for filming
Decide where you will be positioning your iPhone and set up the tripod (or another mounting) in position for filming.
Unless you are after that shaky “Blair Witch” style footage, then ideally you should try to get your phone out of your hands whenever possible. Just holding your phone in your hands is one of the most unstable places that you can put it. Even using something like a selfie stick will give you much better results at taking some of that shake out.
6. Set up lighting
The goal with lighting is to make sure that the subject of your video is well-lit so it remains in the focus for your viewers. Position your lights to light up the subject first, then if you have additional lights, you can use them to light up the background or the rest of the shot.
If you don’t have any dedicated filming lights, you can use whatever you have access to. This could be a desk or floor lamp or you can sit by a window to use some natural light from outside.
If the lighting is unbalanced and you’re noticing harsh shadows in the shot, position a light source so it brightens up the darker areas to create a more even light.
7. Connect a microphone
Did you know that audio is actually more important than the video itself? That’s because if you have great audio but something goes wrong with your video, you can still use the audio and drop in some B-roll or photos to create a video.
Ideally, you should be using an additional microphone to get the best quality audio into your phone for your videos.
Depending on your phone, you may need to use a headphone jack adaptor to be able to connect your microphone.
Don’t have a microphone? Don’t let that stop you! The built-in microphone will still work fine as long as you’re in a quiet environment without much background noise.
8. Prepare phone for filming
Make sure that everything is correct and ready to go before you start shooting.
To prepare your phone for filming, you’ll need to:
- Make sure there’s enough free storage space. The amount of storage space required will vary, but you should try to allow around 3.5GB per 10 mins of footage. While it differs for most devices, you can generally check the available space under: Settings > General > iPhone Storage.
- If you don’t have sufficient space, backup some photos/videos/files to your laptop or another device and remove them from your phone.
- Check video quality settings and make sure that the video size is set to 1080p or 4k.
- For most videos, 1080p will be great. 4k is not really necessary and it will take up a lot more storage space, but it’s up to you to decide what’s best for you.
- Check your battery level and plug it into a USB charger to avoid it going flat whilst filming.
- Switch on airplane mode / Do not disturb mode.
- Switch on Airplane Mode or Do Not Disturb Mode to prevent any calls or interruptions while filming. The location of these settings differs for each device, but you can generally find it under Settings > Select ‘Airplane Mode’.
10. Lockdown camera settings
Most phone cameras will auto-adjust exposure (brightness) settings while filming whenever lighting changes, or whenever there is a movement within a shot. This is great for outdoor environments or where the camera is being moved around, but for a controlled environment (like the one you’ve just set up) this means any slight movement you make could trigger the phone to alter the brightness of your shot.
To keep the lighting consistent, you can turn this off by switching on ‘Auto-Exposure Lock’ (i.e.‘Manual Exposure’). To do this, with the camera app open, tap, and hold the spot on the screen that you would like the iPhone to use as a reference to auto-configure the exposure (generally this will be your face). Keep holding until ‘AE/AF-Lock’ appears after a few seconds, indicating ‘Auto-Exposure Lock’ is enabled.
11. Record a test video
Hit the ‘Record’ button and complete a quick test video. Play it back to make sure you’re happy with the shot and the audio is working fine.
Tip: If you have a microphone plugged in, you will have to remove it to hear playback.
12. Record the video
- Finally, time to start filming! Just remember the following tips and you’ll do just fine.
- Re-confirm that ‘Auto-Exposure Lock’ is still on.
- Yep, it sometimes switches itself back off again after completing a video… Repeat Step 10!
- Be aware of any light changes in between shots.
- Changes in light due to clouds, lights switching on/off, etc. can impact your results during editing later as you start cutting between shots.