Make movies with your smartphone

April 09, 2014 | Blog-Admin1 | Let's Talk Visual, Methods & Tools |


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New technologies change the way we communicate. With the iPhone the number of videos shared around the world has exploded! This transformation of our communicational behavior seeps into the working world. In this blog post you will get some tips and tricks on how to make movies with your smartphone.  

By Hynek Bureš, dubbed perceptions



Last week during an SDC internal training event called Learn and Lunch, I showed how to use the smartphone or the tablet to make a quick video message, upload it to YouTube, and share it over email with colleagues Though the Apple phones and tablets are the most advanced in regard to video making, it is possible to use other devices as well…

Record your video message

Let’s start! First you need to record your video message. A video message is about you talking to your colleague. You want to record your 1-minute presentation as perfect as possible. Write your keywords on sheets of paper that you hold up while you film yourself, or use a board to write on. The better your presentation is, the less work you have to do in the editing process.

Before you hit the record button on your phone, you want to find a place that is ideal for the recording. Consider these 3 factors that influence your image:

  1. Light: Find a place where light falls onto your face from the front-right or front-left. Standing close to the window in your office allows you to use the daylight. Make sure that the camera is pointed away from the window, or you risk backlight difficulties.
  2. Image: What do you show on your video? Choose your background well. Maybe you want to use a board to write on, or you want to show a meaningful picture on the wall behind you. Your face expressions should be visible. Film yourself from the chest or shoulders upwards leaving only little room above your head.
  3. Sound: Find a quiet place! Especially if you use the internal microphone of your smartphone make sure there are no background noises that could compete with your voice

If you don’t have a tripod that can hold your phone, ask a colleague to hold the smartphone for you and record the video while you are presenting.

Edit your video message

Video editing is the process of putting one image or video-clip next to the other. The series of your images make up your final video.If you have prepared your presentation well, this step might not be necessary. You might want to adjust only the start and end point of your video message (also called trimming). This action is handy, if for example you took more time at the start of your video than necessary to start talking.

 The apple devices provide this tool directly in the media library. Non-apple devices need a video trimming application. You can trim your video also with one of the available smartphone applications, which you download from the apple, android, or windows phone app stores

You find here also links to video tutorials that I found on YouTube: 

The 2 most important steps to edit your video message are to trim the ends of your video clip, and add a title. – Your video message is ready!

Share your video message

The video editing applications on the smartphones offer the possibility to upload your video straight to YouTube (except on the windows phones :-) ).Yet before publishing any videos, make sure that you adhere to the institutional guidelines and policies that apply to your respective institution.

One important step when you publish your video is to choose the quality of your video. If you have time chose the 720p setting. This will take time to upload but your video will then show in a good quality resolution.

 YouTube lets you decide to whom you want to show the video: private, unlisted, or public. Use the unlisted setting if you don’t want your video to appear publicly on YouTube. Once the video is uploaded YouTube will provide you with a unique link to your video. Only people that have this link can watch your video. Email this link to your colleagues!

That’s it!

If you have questions please post them here below and I will respond as well as I can.

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Comments to“Make movies with your smartphone”

  1. Thanks for this article. Good to know what the state at SDC is around video production. I wondered what your target audience is for this article, SDC like organisations or the beneficiaries of SDC? Just returned from Africa, the tools you are recommending are still an widely available everywhere.

    I just wanted to add to tools for android, which are basically the same, but just different designs:
    Both tools are aiming at civic reporters and includes training material around security and video shooting and editing. The uploading is organised within the app itself. For storymaker see this link:

    Kind regards,

  2. Dear Hapee

    Thank you for your feedback. I learned something new: Storymaker! I have to experiment with it first, but it sounds like a great tool! The tool teaches you how to make a good story, while you are doing your story. That is the perfect learning experience!

    I agree with you that not every part of the world has access to smartphones and good Internet connection. My target audience is anybody who would like to use his or her smartphone for video or photo stories. I noticed that the iPhone environment has most to offer to video enthusiasts. Android is catching up really fast, while the Windows phone is lagging behind a big way.

    But the technology is just one hurdle. The one which will fall quickly. Telling a story with images is a new language that the majority of us needs to learn first. (I am still learning!) >> How do you tell a good story? What images you show and in what order? etc. etc.


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