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How to Shoot Video from a Smartphone Like a Pro

These days, carrying around a full video rig is the last thing a journalist wants to do when in the middle of important breaking news. Thankfully, the smartphone is rapidly becoming the go-to option for capturing news as it happens, and the rise of HD quality video in such a small package means that more important and newsworthy moments are being captured and shared throughout the world.

The only caveat is, for better for worse, shooting video on a small, light smartphone has a steep learning curve. To get a compelling, color-balanced shot that isn’t shaky or blurry is a mammoth task — an unknowledgeable shooter can easily end up with muddy, diffuse content that isn’t share-worthy.

Luckily, there are some easy and effective tips to get a great shot. Vocativ, an international-focused news startup that curates eyewitness and citizen journalism, released an easy how-to video on their blog that will help even the shakiest of shooters to get good footage out of their next breaking story. This is the first in the Vocativ Video School series, which focuses on video news gathering techniques and styles.

See the full video, which characterizes the do’s and don’ts of using your smartphone, below:

Here are some extra tips for shooting great video on-the-go:

  • Test your audio before shooting to get a better idea of how your video will sound when you upload it. Any ambient noise could wreck even the best footage.
  • Never zoom — the shakiness from your camera will be amplified if you try to get a close-up. Instead, make a mental note of where you want to zoom and crop it later.
  • Always be mindful of the light. Good lighting can make your video stand out, while a poor lighting situation can make footage unusable.
  • Keep in mind of where you want to shoot and how to get there. During busy events such as rallies and protests, it can be difficult to move around for long distances.

How do you get the most out of your smartphone? What’s your must-do video technique?

Let us know in the comments.

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