Shooting An Amazing Smartphone Video

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Forgive me Father for I have binged! I sat down for an extended amount of time (for I will not disclose) and watched YouTube. One video leads to another, which leads to another and before you know it you’re asking yourself what you started out doing before you started in on the binge. You spend hours and hours laughing at the videos that people have posted. You ask, “What was he thinking?” Sometimes you’re blown away or pleasantly surprised by the talent or quality.

Here at Froot Group we see videos of all kind. One of the top things that stop a worship leader from proceeding along in our process or even landing a job, is the lack or quality of their video. We can’t stress enough how important your introduction and worship leading videos are. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video may be worth a thousand pictures.

Almost all of us have a smartphone these days or know someone who does. I wanted to provide you just a few suggestions to help improve the quality of your video.

Most important, turn your phone sideways: By using the “landscape” (horizontal) orientation when shooting video, you get more of the worship center and musicians in the shot. Another reason is that you don’t want your viewers to see those black bars on each side of the video when it’s played back on social media, or viewed on a computer desktop or widescreen television.

Hold your phone steady: You can position yourself and try to be as still as possible but your best option would be to pick up a monopod or selfie stick at your local dollar store. If you have access to one, it would be even better to get ahold of a collapsible tripod. Having a still video will ensure your viewers don’t get turned off by a shakey video.

Composition rule: Sometimes you only got one chance to capture a great worship experience. If you want your videos to look professional, consider the “rule of thirds”. Break up the phones viewer screen into two vertical lines and two horizontal lines, and place your subject wherever the four lines intersect. Think of it like a Tic-Tac-Toe board; our eyes naturally look at one of these intersection points.

Lighting is important: Pay attention to the light around you, and take advantage of it. Good lighting – be it natural or artificial — can make or break a video. Play with the angles until you like what you see. Don’t shoot subjects near a window or with their back to the sun, as they’ll look like a silhouette. Even though you might be tempted to chose the auto feature on your phone, it’s ok to revert and play with the other features. This will allow you to make up for any differences that you may have for natural lighting.

Sound advice: Don’t underestimate the importance of good sound. This is one of the most important features of a great video. Your best option would be to have a professional microphone but if you can’t, try to get as close as possible to capture the clearest audio. You’ll be surprised how good your smartphone’s mic can be. If you’re too far away, you’ll get some of those ambient noises in your recording. Although you’re not going to avoid everything (sneezing, baby crying, etc) in a worship service, it will at least be better if you’re closer to the person you’re capturing.

Edit away: Video can live forever so you might as well make it as good as it can be. Tweak it on your phone – or better yet, on a computer with its larger screen to assess your work. This includes cutting, cropping, adjusting color and brightness, adding transitions, special effects, music, narration, captions, and more. Always keep the original just in case, but spice up your videos a bit before giving it to the world.

If you stumble upon someone to shoot a professional grade video for you definitely jump on the opportunity. Just remember though that if a church is investing enough in you to bring you out for a visit to their church, you should invest in them by having a great video.

Written by: Meggan Jacobus. Meggan is the Staffing Manager at Froot Group, a worship staffing & consulting company.

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