Share your stories: Shoot professional videos on your smartphone

When lights dim the screen flares to life, background music plays setting the stage, the camera zooms on thundering hooves, hundreds probably thousands of hooves, suspense music plays in the background, quietly at first,slowly rising, rising to a crescendo as the action picks up.

The camera moves back, wildebeests, galloping wildebeests in their thousands probably millions fill the screen, galloping in unison they head towards a fast flowing river, your tension is heightened, floating logs – crocodiles wait patiently.

You are riveted to the screen, to the story unfolding before you; the music, the thundering hooves, impending death, electrified, you are on the edge of your seat. The camera zooms to capture close up of a hapless victim mercilessly caught in the jaws of a ferocious crocodile.

The wildebeest’s desperate mows, are drowned in the cacophony. Scared and confused they fight for their lives, swimming in frothing blooded waters – the camera rests on a spinning crocodile caught in a feeding frenzy, – anguish, despair, death! – the suspense is palpable.

Shooting videos of scenes like this on your smartphone is now possible. Professional Smartphone video shooting is no longer an exclusive domain of  filmmakers.

Your smartphone is capable of shooting professional video and film.To do this learn basic professional video shooting techniques, simple rules like:

  • The Rule of thirds,
  • How to hold steady shots
  • How to shoot in the right light,
  • How to increase your depth of field,
  • How to Record audio, and
  • How to Edit your raw video.
  1. Do you have a story, a riveting  a story, is your story both compelling and dramatic?
  2. Would you love to shoot and share professional videos of your stories?
  3. Do you have a smartphone whether it is an android phone or an iPhone?

Pulling out your smartphone and rolling your video camera will capture the scene before you, what it won’t do is tell your story. Here are basic video clip shooting techniques, techniques that will help you tell your story.

To tell your story you must shoot several clips of your video from different angles:

1. Wide Shots (WS)

For simplicity’s sake let’s call this, the ‘where are we shots’ – For example you are shooting your video in Ngong Hills, the Wide Shots(WS) will be a shot of Ngong Hills as seen on the Horizon, the second WS shot will be the shot of the undulating Ngong Hills as seen from the first Hill.

The final WS shot will be the hill you are standing on to shoot your video, this shot should capture the surrounding environment. Shooting your WS of your video will create context for the action.

2. Close Up (CU) Shots

A close up shot of the main character, product or item while capturing the background will introduce the viewer to your subject.

To capture this shot professionally on your smartphone, – Do Not use it use the zoom function of your phone – Move close to the subject. To use the zoom function, attach  a smartphone clip on lens.

3. Close Up (CU) Face Shots

When watching a movie the camera suddenly zooms into the subjects face, the face fills the frame clearly revealing every aspect of the character, this helps the viewer study the subject’s facial features, creating  a sense of connection.

Face shots or -Hero shots – endear the viewer to your subject. Get close to your subject hold your smartphone steady fill the frame with the subject’s face, hold this shot for about two to three seconds.

4.Over the Shoulder(OTS) Shots

Over the shoulder shots help give your viewer a subconscious sense of orientation.


For example you are shooting a dressmaking video, your subject is narrating the step by step process of how to cut the cloth, sew and brand the dress.

Instead of continuously holding your smartphone camera in front of your subject, get behind them instead, hold your smartphone on a gimbal from behind your subjects’ left or right shoulder focus on the subject’s hands as they cut the cloth.

5. Inserts

Inserts help break sequence monotony in the video;for example assume for a minute you are shooting a video of how to process and package tomato sauce.

Your video will be all about tomatoes; – tomatoes in the seedbed, tomatoes in the field, red ripe tomatoes, tomatoes in the market, tomatoes loaded on hand carts, tomatoes in crowded streets, mountains of sorted tomatoes, peeled red tomatoes, crushed tomatoes,tomato sauce in stainless bowls, tomato sauce ready for packaging, and finally packaged tomato sauce.

The clips about  processing and manufacturing of tomato sauce will show your viewers what you want them to see, but they will be monotonous, what if you blend in clips that show a tomato farm, or lush green vegetation, or heavy downpour from a hill, or  urban handcart transport ferrying tomatoes, someone watching your video will find it more interesting.

These additional clips that spice up your video are called inserts.

In summary

Having shot your raw video, you still have more work to do, editing, Blending, Cutting, Merging Inserting and Adding music, Special effects, and captions. Learning how to edit your smartphone videos will take them from the realm of ordinary to extraordinary.

Strive to shoot a video that stands out, a video that gives your viewer a wholesome cinematic experience.

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