10 steps to get you filming stories with your mobile

By Veronica Gordon

1. Rethink your views about video

Stop visualising making a flashy video. You’ve been busy serving your community, not working as a videographer. No-one, not even you, should expect you to create a top quality video. That fear will stop you from giving it a go and prevent you from telling your stories.

So grab your mobile, let’s go!

2. Fully charge your phone

Every been out and your phone battery ran out? Now imagine you’re filming your story, capturing the action, recording your project’s impact on your community, and that happens. Fully charge your phone before filming. Take your charger or a portable charger too.

3. Put your phone on airplane mode

This will stop calls, texts and alerts coming through while you’re filming. If you don’t and a call comes through while you’re filming, you’ll kick yourself for not following this tip.

4. Film steadily and in landscape

You’ll want to share your video on your Facebook page or website, so film in landscape. Hold your phone steadily and film for at least 10 second each time. Slowly sweep from left to right, or right to left, to capture the scene and the activity. Linger for a few seconds at the start and end of each shot. That will make editing your final video easier.

5. Don’t zoom – use your feet

You’ll need to film close-ups as well as wide shots. Do not use your camera’s zoom feature. Instead, do this by standing near to, or walking closer to, what or who you’re filming. For wide shots, stand further away.

6. Don’t lose focus

You wrote a press release praising your work or project. That’s just your opinion, and that’s bound to be positive. You need to include a “case study”, the voice of someone impacted by your work or project. Add their story and statement.

Better still, have a case study who is happy to be interviewed by a journalist and note that in the press release too.

7. Check lighting

Be aware of lighting. Check your location isn’t too dark or bright. Also check your positioning. Don’t film into light or someone positioned in front of a window that has light coming through. You’ll end up with their silhouette.

Similarly, when filming outside in sunshine, position yourself so people don’t have shadows across their faces or have to squint when they look at the camera.

8. Check sound

Mobile phones record sound well so will work fine for your videos. They can capture an event’s atmosphere, and also record voice well – like a conversation, interaction or an interview. However, they fail when recording voice in the midst of activity. The phone’s mic will pick up background noise, making it difficult to hear the voice during playback. Record interviewees in a quiet place or buy a mic that can plug into your mobile.

9. Practice filming

Practice filming at home or while out and about in the community. That way you’ll get to learn more about how your phone’s camera features work. You’ll also get to know what shots you like, what works and what doesn’t. Plus you can make mistakes and learn from them, which will give your skills a boost, making it easier when you start filming your stories.

10. Enjoy making videos

Go on, make that first video. Enjoy filming it, enjoy telling the story, and feel happy when you share it. You did that! Next, look out for opportunities to film more stories. Your skills will get better with each video you make. You might even find yourself getting more creative with your shots.