Join Dan Gookin for an in-depth discussion in this video Video-shooting tips, part of Android Tips and Tricks.
- Shooting video with your Android phone or tablet is easy. Shooting video well with your Android phone or tablet isn't so easy. As proof, visit YouTube, view a few mobile device videos, if your stomach can stand it. Not everyone is a trained videographer nor does everyone need to be an expert. But it does help to know a few tips about recording video, if you really want people to watch and enjoy it. Start by setting image quality, do this before you shoot. Your device may have a customized camera app but in the Google Camera app shown here, swipe in from the left edge of the screen, tap the Settings icon, choose Resolution and quality, choose Back camera video to set the primary camera's video resolution.
If you don't use the Google Camera app, your Android's Camera app offers similar controls but maybe not the same method to access them. When uploading to the internet, a lower resolution works better, the file size is smaller. For viewing on an HD TV or if you plan on editing the video, choose a larger resolution and select the very lowest resolution for text message attachments. Once you set the video quality, you're ready to shoot. Hold the phone or tablet in a horizontal orientation.
Your eyes are arranged left to right, therefore, this is the preferred way to record video. Don't give in to the temptation to hold your Android vertically. I can imagine exceptions to this admonition such as recording Spider-Man climbing a tall building but most of the time, people prefer a wide video to a tall video. And please don't reorient the video while shooting. That's easy to do with a phone or tablet but anyone viewing the video on a computer or HD TV is going to be annoyed.
As a tip, get the Horizon app. Use it to keep anything you record in a horizontal orientation. This app is available free at the Play Store. Keep steady while you record, it helps to use both hands. That's because changing from one hand to the other, or any other movement for that matter, no matter how subtle is going to jar the image. If possible, try to lean against something or sit down to help further steady the image. As an example, if you're recording Bigfoot from a moving car, put your elbow on the door to steady the shot.
Image framing is also important. The subject needs to be seen in the viewfinder but recording video isn't like shooting a laser blaster in a video game. You don't always have to keep the subject perfectly centered. Generally speaking, just add a tiny amount of space above the subject's head, if the subject is turned right or left, add some lead room in the direction they're facing. This type of framing appears natural. Above all, keep looking at the entire frame while you shoot. Avoid glancing away from the phone or tablet which invariably causes the subject to drop out of the frame.
Now, if you're fleeing in tear from a 20-foot-long anaconda, losing the frame is a forgivable offense but your video won't be as watchable. Finally, despite the camera's zoom abilities and handy zoom controls, please don't zoom in or out while recording video. As a reminder, most camera apps let you zoom in or out by pinching or spreading your fingers on the screen. The volume key might also let you zoom in or out. Whatever. Don't do it. The problem is that zooming while recording video on a mobile device is just horrid to watch.
Unless the phone or tablet is on a tripod, it's impossible to hold the camera steady while you zoom. And the result of a jerky zoom is nauseating for many viewers. My advice is to skip it altogether and do your best and try as hard as you can to make your videos watchable and enjoyable.
- Finding and managing apps
- Shooting video
- Editing images
- Enjoying some tunes
- Reading ebooks
- Exploring Google Now
- Saving maps
- Printing from your Android