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Beginner Smartphone Filmmaking Tips – Audio and Lighting

In this beginner smartphone filmmaking, we look for best audio and lighting when you are filming with smartphone.

Are you a business owner entrepreneur or marketer that understands the importance of creating great video, to engage new audiences and build relationships with potential clients who have now migrated online?

If you get that you need to be creating valuable video content within your business marketing mix, but haven’t quite started on your video creating journey then make sure you read this post.

I am going to walk you through the things you need to look at to create great looking video by using the camera in your pocket, your smart phone. Actionable power tips that you can put into practice straight away to start creating content for your business right now.


When it comes to making quality video, audio is so, so important. If you are producing videos which offer your audience genuine value, the picture can be a little bit dicey, but your audience will wear it. However, no matter how great your content is, if the audience cannot hear it, if the audio is bad, your audience will disappear within moments, and never come back.

So whenever you are creating video content at whatever level it is, audio is a critical key component. And often it is an overlooked aspect of the video making process, which is a massive mistake.

In terms of making videos on your phone, the first thing I would suggest is that you invest in a decent microphone. Do not rely on the microphone that is already in your phone. Why? Well because that microphone is designed to have your mouth right next to it, and therefore it’s designed to pick up the sound from a wide area. What this means in terms of filming, is that if you were to rely on that microphone, you would be not very present in the mix. Which means that means that as well as recording you, the on-board mic would also be recording sounds from a really wide area surrounding area which is clearly not what you want. You want the sound to be isolated, you want it to be focused on you, because that’s what the main event in the video is.

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1. Clip Mic

So to start off with, you should invest in a personal mic, or lavalier mic which is also known as a clip mic. Entry level clip mics can be purchased for around £20 or $25 to $30. I’ve created a video all about the different types of microphones you can use for your phone.

Basically, there are two basic routes you can go down with these clip mics. The first is a wired mike where you have a cable that trails from the phone to you. The second, which is a bit more of an investment is a radio mic.

2. Radio Mic

Now, these come with a receiver and transmitter, the receiver plugs into your phone, the transmitter is plugged into a mic which you then wear. With radio mics obviously there are no trailing cables, which is great if you are shooting on location or outside or your doing a walk and talk.

Now, you can get basic radio mics from around £80/$90, but to get a decent entry-level kit, I think you’d be looking at something like the Rode Go, which starts at around £130/ $140.

The other vital item in terms of audio, which often gets missed out, is if you are filming outside then you are going to need to make sure that your mic is covered with wind gag. Now, these are also known as fluffies is or dead cats. You can pick these up from around the £15/$20 mark. Now, these are a very wise investment, because if you don’t have them and you film outside with even the nearest gust of wind, or even a breeze, however slight it is will really render your audio pretty much useless.


I’m assuming that we’re starting out all of us on our video making journeys right now, and don’t have the resources to spend thousands of pounds or dollars on lighting kit.

Now, to make your mobile video footage really pop on the screen, you really need to consider the light that you’re filming in. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you do need to spend thousands of pounds on the latest lighting gear, it just means you need to be aware of the lighting situation in the environment in which you’re shooting.

1. Daylight lighting

So, let’s for a minute just talk about using daylight lighting because ultimately daylight is free. When you’re choosing a location to shoot in, find somewhere that is lit by daylight ideally the brightest light room in your home or office. Now, don’t forget that this will change as the sun moves around during the day so you’ll need to bear in mind what time you want to be shooting too.

If you’re limited in terms of your choice of rooms to use, then work out a time where the light is the best, if you possibly can. Also if there is a means of controlling the light, or diffusing the light with blinds or curtains that is always bonus too. Now, filming in direct sunshine is not ideal firstly because it will cause the subject to squint so it’s not comfortable for them. Plus sunshine is actually quite a harsh light. So for example if you are shooting outside in a sunny environment try and find a shady spot in which to film. Or you could introduce shade by using the Sun umbrella or something like that.

Wherever you end up filming you need to make sure that the subject is facing toward the light. Not with their back towards the light. If you do this you’ll end up with a silhouette, as the camera in the phone will expose for the brightest part of the picture, the bright background and plunge the subject of your video, you into darkness and you become silhouette.

Generally speaking, cameras in phones are not great with what’s called high contrast situations. Now, that means situations where there is lots of bright sunshine and very hard dark shadows. Frankly speaking the best environment in which to shoot with a phone is an overcast day, where the light is diffused, and the shadows are not so pronounced or obvious.

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2. Lighting kit

If daylight is not an option for you, then you going to need to invest in some lighting kit. There are some great little portable options especially designed for phone-based filming. You could get a clip on little ring lite, that will give you a really flattering light, if your filming relatively close to yourself, there are bigger cousins which are typically used in things like make up type tutorials. A full-size ring light set up you can get from around £85 or $95

The key to starting out with lighting really is to keep it simple. So, a one light set up is absolutely fine to begin with. So, we have dealt with sound and lighting in terms of shooting with your phone.

Final thoughts

I really hope you have got lots of value from this. We’ve got a free YouTube resource, obviously which is a Bitly link there Business Growth With Video. If you’d like to download a Business Video Guide, go to that URL and ping us your email details, and we will be really chuffed to rush you a copy of the 20 page PDF, that’d be fantastic, I’d hope you’d find that super useful.

To dive into more detail about how to create video for your business, do check out the other videos on our YouTube channel.

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