"(Out of) Office Hours" Part 10: How to Shoot and Edit Videos Right on Your Phone

Lisa Marinelli

Lisa Marinelli

Creative

On the tenth episode of (Out of) Office Hours, Chris is back with his production partner in crime, Stephen Petto, to share some tips and hacks for shooting and editing videos on your iPhone (or any phone). From looking through footage to showing you apps that’ll help you get the best shots, Chris and Stephen talk through how you can turn the camera you always have on you into a pretty awesome production tool. As Chris says, “It’s better to have the shot than to miss the moment.” Here’s a recap of what went down and some helpful links for you to dig deeper!

Pro-Tip
Re-watch all of the other (Out of) Office Hours with Chris Lavigne all in one place!

Here’s something … 

Before kicking things off, Chris introduced a new segment called “Here’s something…” Recently, a company out of New York called Hayden5 released their Drop Kit, which is an all-in-one sterilized home studio kit, similar to the Soapbox Station. Although they’re pretty expensive to rent, Chris found the Drop Kit inspiring and neat to see how production companies are pivoting due to the pandemic.

The production power of your phone

One of the first Wistia videos Chris ever made was a video shot on an iPhone in 2012 — talk about a blast from the past! However, many of the principles for shooting with an iPhone still apply in the present day. And, if put in the right hands of the right creative, the iPhone is an incredibly capable production tool. From shooting footage for Brandwagon to filming a $1,000 ad for Soapbox in One, Ten, One Hundred, we’ve seen the production power of the iPhone for ourselves. That’s why Chris was excited to bring on Stephen Petto, an artist with the iPhone camera, to share all his hacks for shooting and editing on an iPhone with you. Let’s get into it, shall we?

Watch the full segment featuring the Hayden5 Drop Kit starting at 3:07!

Settings you should change

To start, Chris pulled up a live shot of his phone screen in OBS. He wanted to quickly share some settings you should change immediately on your phone if you haven’t already. As a disclaimer, Chris and Stephen both use iPhones for shooting, but these tips may apply for other phones, too:

  • Hop into “Settings” and find your “Camera” settings.
  • Turn on “Grid” mode, which puts a grid overlay on your camera app to help hit the “Rule of Thirds.”
  • Use the 4k at 24 fps recording option because it’ll give you a nice amount of resolution.
  • Click out of “Settings” and go into “Video” mode. You can tap and hold for exposure lock and autofocus lock to get a better depth of field.

Check out the step-by-step settings walkthrough starting at 13:44.

Capturing awesome videos and photos

Chris is in awe with the footage Stephen has been able to capture with his iPhone. So, what are his secrets? Stephen explained he likes to shoot in slow motion often because it’s an easy way to get good looking b-roll footage. The iPhone is capable of shooting in 120 fps or 240 fps. Using the zoom lens can also give you a bokeh effect, and getting close with the phone lens can give you great macro shots.

Chris and Stephen dug up some of their favorite clips shot on an iPhone. Scrub to these timestamps to hear their commentary:

21:30 — How Stephen used his iPhone as a backup to shoot a Brandwagon clip

22:17 — How the iPhone 11 creates an impressive stabilized look

23:11 — How to shoot a timelapse video and why there’s no easier timelapse tool out there

Pro-Tip
If you’re in the market for a tripod, Chris loves the MeFOTO SideKick 360. It can autolevel, pan and tilt with locking, hold your phone portrait or landscape, and comes in two different sizes. The thing is rock solid!

Recording audio with your phone

Moving on to audio, people have been wondering if you’re limited by your built-in microphone. Stephen’s short answer is: no. He’s using an Apple Lighting to USB Adapter, which allows him to connect a Blue Yeti microphone to use for the camera app, Instagram Live, or anything else. It just works!

Watch a clip of Chris and Stephen figuring out the USB Adapter can power a Blue Yeti microphone at 27:49.

Another old trick worth mentioning is taking your wired headphones and cutting the headphone off right above the microphone to use as a little lapel mic. An alternative mic they suggest is the Rode smartLav mic. As for AirPods, Chris and Stephen recommend avoiding using them because they’re not the greatest as capturing clear audio.

Apps for shooting and editing

We got to hear what apps Stephen is rocking that help him take over the creative process of shooting on his phone. Stephen said he uses the regular “Camera” app, but on the other hand, the “Photos” app is surprisingly really good since its last update because of its editing and cropping options.

Stephen also uses a professional camera app called FiLMiC Pro. He says it gives you a lot of control for exposure locking and white balance. Additionally, it has a companion app called DoubleTake, which lets you record up to two cameras on your phone at once. Chris pointed out that this is a video podcaster’s dream if you throw the iPhone camera in between you and the person you’re interviewing.

Catch the complete app breakdown starting at 31:02, and learn about more helpful apps for shooting and editing videos on your phone in this post.

Now, if you’re on the road without your laptop, Stephen says your best option for editing is the Adobe Rush app. iMovie on your phone is free, but it’s really limiting. With Adobe Rush, you have more options because you can change the aspect ratio of the project, edit vertical videos, and use more tools. Chris’s takeaway here was to ditch the built-in editor, iMovie, and go with something like Adobe Rush, especially if you’re using Premiere already because you can start editing in the phone app and then pick back up on your computer.

Our good friend Trevor Holmes made an explainer video all about how to get started with Adobe Rush. Watch it here!

Lastly, you can totally hack the horsepower in these phones and the awesome apps that exist out there. One sneaky production tool is the amount of augmented reality that phones have on Instagram and Snapchat filters. You can add some delight to any of your videos by stealing gifs and stickers on Instagram or Snapchat.

Want to learn this Instagram hack? Trevor’s got you covered!

Q&A

In this installment of (Out of) Office Hours, folks out there also had a couple of questions for Chris. Scrub to these timestamps to hear his responses:

46:24 — What are your thoughts on 25 fps?

47:16 — How are you connecting a phone to share its screen via OBS and Zoom?

How can we help?

That about wraps up this episode recap! Enjoying the topics we’re covering? We want to know how we can be genuinely helpful moving forward. Let us know what challenges you’re struggling with when it comes to video lately by hitting up Chris on Twitter @crlvideo or emailing him at crl@wistia.com. You can also reach out to Wistia directly on Twitter @wistia. We hope to hear from you soon! See you next time.

Lisa Marinelli

Lisa Marinelli

Creative

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