If you have a smart phone, you have a pretty powerful video camera at the ready. Now you can just push a button and film everything from your dog singing along with sirens to a conversation with an expert in your field.  And while the camera does a lot of the work for you, ultimately the camera operator controls the quality of the video.  Here are 3 tips from the pros that will take your phone video to the next level.

Turn The Phone Sideways. Yep, every time if possible.  Video screens and windows are wider than they are tall, so you want your video to be wider than tall as well.  If you turn your phone sideways, it will be.  Otherwise you will have black bars on the sides when you try to put your video into a standard YouTube (or Vimeo, or other) window, and your video will be squished in the middle. Easy fix!

Do Not Shoot Into The Light. If you are outside and about to film, locate the sun in the sky.  Then position yourself so that your back is to the sun.  If you do that, then you will have a giant light source illuminating your subject.  If you are filming a soccer game, and your side of the field is facing the sun, you will have to go to the other team’s side to film! The same principal applies if you are inside near a window or a lamp.

Eliminate Bad Audio.  If your video has bad audio, people will think it has a bad picture, too.  Also, bad sound is annoying and can make people click away from your video.  Here are some examples of bad sound: You can’t hear what the subject is saying because they are too far from the camera; the background noise is too loud, such as a crowded room, wind, or music; the camera person is talking while they shoot, which is very loud in the final video because they are so close to the mic. Try to avoid these circumstances, if possible. To catch an interview with someone at a trade show, pull them off the trade show floor and into a quiet hall.

There is a lot more to say on sound and lighting, and we will get there.  But for now, just these three easy tips will improve your video and make you look more like a pro.