DSLR cameras and even smartphones are more capable of producing cinema-quality video than ever – so much so that videography is becoming a great niche for many photographers. If you're exploring the possibilities of creating video with your smartphone or digital camera, you'll find that it's very much like photography in one respect: You'll need to do more than just record things to make your movies interesting. We're going to offer a few tips for that in this article.
Add high-quality audio.
Your phone has a built-in microphone and chances are your DSLR does, too, so capturing audio along with your movies doesn't require anything extra. Unfortunately, most of these built-ins fall short when it comes to quality. Straining to hear the sound track for your video isn't going to keep your audience riveted.
Unidirectional (aka directional) microphones are available at a reasonable cost for both smartphones and digital cameras. These help eliminate unwanted background noise and boost the audio in the direction of the subject. You'll appreciate the difference in sound quality and so will your viewers. Click the image above for a good example for your smartphone. DSLR users, check out this one.
If you're interested in recording all the sounds around you, for instance the bird songs and such in an outdoor video, you'll want to go with an omnidirectional microphone. Take a look at these examples: DSLR mic or smartphone mic.
Interact with your subjects.
In the right situation, you can make your video more interesting by speaking with or otherwise interacting with the subject you're recording. Interviews, of course, are a good example, but that's generally more a matter of necessity. How about things like playing with your new baby or tossing a ball for your pet? I'm sure you can think of your own scenarios.
Having a hand free to do that is an obvious advantage. I suggest taking a look at HandlePod for a great and inexpensive way to free up one hand while keeping the camera or phone stable with the other. In fact, you should check out their blog article on the subject.
Try a different point of view.
Like still images, videos shot from an eye-level point of view can be boring. Get into the habit of exploring all the angles before you start recording. You can add a new sense of dynamics simply by finding the right vantage point to put your viewers in the scene for sports videos. A video or time-lapse sequence of a beautiful woodland scene might be even more exciting from a low (or high) perspective. Always be conscious of the possibilities and try to avoid the mundane view.
The aspect ratio of your video can make a tremendous difference. Widescreen movies were created to immerse viewers in the experience and that's one of the reasons that high-end recording devices have the 16:9 option available.
If your phone or camera gives you this option, select it when you're going to shoot video. The difference when it's played back on a wide-screen television or computer monitor will be amazing.
The simple tactics above will make an immediate difference in the way viewers connect with your videos. It's also important to remember that the bet way to help your viewers enjoy the experience is to enjoy it yourself. Creativity is all about passion, so record what reflects yours!