We often get asked how people can create high-quality video content when it’s shot on a smartphone or tablet device.

Not every job will require the use of a video production company and if we can help you make some of your content shine just that bit brighter then we’re all for it!  We’ll not delve into anything which may require a bit more background knowledge like lighting, but just by stabilising your footage and having clean audio, you’ll be well on your way to being able to create beautiful, engaging, high-quality video content.

We’ve assembled a list of options for better stability and better audio.  Most of the products are listed on Amazon for simplicity, but for some cases, the best product for the job may not be available on there.  Please note, all items have been selected due to their relative quality for a very low cost.  These are not professional options and if you need some tips on some higher-end gear just let us know in the comments! Either that or give us a shout if seriously high-quality video content is something you’re after because that requires a professional (pssst, like us!)

First things first – the EASIEST way to improve the quality of footage that you’ve filmed yourself is to stabilise that footage.  So, let’s talk about tripods!

Tripods

We frequently teach workshops on how to DIY and create high-quality video content, and a recent class with our client, Weber, saw me using this option from Jumkeet.  They’re not the best quality but they will give you a level shot if you have something that you can rest it on at the right height.  If you want to wrap your device around a pole or somewhere high up then this option from Joby is a good idea as the Jumkeet is probably going to be too weak to support a device safely on anything other than a table.  A cheap traditional style tripod option would be this option from Zomei.

The highest quality option I’d recommend for filming with a mobile device would be this tripod from Manfrotto. It doesn’t extend as much as some of the others, but what it lacks in height, it makes up for with its durability.  If you need a tall tripod with relatively relatively good stability, then you’d be looking for this Victiv model.

Most of the above options are for use with mobile phones.  If you’re using a tablet device, you’ll probably need to go for either the Zomei, Manfrotto, or Victiv and purchase a separate adapter like this if your device is 4.8-7.8 inches or this if it’s 5.8 – 10.2 inches.  Alternatively you could go for a table mount like we use in our classes, which can be found here.

Just remember to consider how tall you need your tripod to be, how much weight you’re putting on it and if you need any third-party adapters to attach your device.

Audio

Audio is hugely important when creating high-quality video content.  If your audience can’t hear what you’re saying, they’ll switch off immediately.  Sometimes filming in a quiet area is an option, other times you might be stuck in the middle of heavy traffic or a building site and have to find other means of improving audio quality.

One solution is to go out and purchase an external microphone for your mobile device.  A fully fledged wireless microphone system can cost hundreds or even thousands of pounds, but to bump up the quality of your mobile phone footage, we’ve found a few budget-conscious options that have worked well for us in the past.

Microphones and mobile phones/tablets can be a tricky field to navigate.  What works on one device may not work for another due to software or hardware compatibility.  We’ve used the below options with success on various devices, but please note compatibility can not be guaranteed.  If you’re on a modern Apple device, you may need an adapter like this before you can attach a microphone to your device.

A great budget option for a portable lavalier mic would be this one.  It comes with an adapter so if it doesn’t work right out of the box, give that a go and it should get you up and running!  This worked for us on both an Apple and Android device.

If you want something that produces a cleaner sound, then we love this option from Rode.  It’s worked flawlessly across various Apple devices for us, but it may need its own adapter for some devices (you’ll also need this if you have a newer model iPhone which has the lightning port).

Our process was to buy the mic and if it didn’t work with the device we needed it to, we’d then buy the adapter.

Lastly, you’ll need an app to record audio from your device.  Android devices tend to have one built in.  We use a Samsung Galaxy S10 which has “voice recorder” bundled with the phone.  For Apple devices, there’s a huge amount of them on the App Store, but we tend to use Mic’d.  Free options include Irig, Zoom, and Tape.

Lighting

Lighting is one aspect of video production that a lot of newcomers have a lot of trouble with, and for good reason!  Lighting is one of the most difficult aspects of video production to master.  A scene could be lit a hundred different ways by a hundred different people but there are a few tips and tricks to get decent lighting setups on a budget.

Use a large, soft light for your “key” light.  We use large lights called Kinos on our setups to create beautiful images with soft shadows but these can cost thousands of pounds.  Many youtubers and newcomers go for something like this option from Godox with a softbox attached to help take away some of the harshness.  Obviously the light needs to go on a stand so something like this would be fine.

Accent this “key” light with a fill and/or a hair light to help add some depth to your image.  LEDs are super handy in a variety of situations.  This option from Neewer is a good first step but even these mini ones would help add a bit more depth to your imagery.

Video content filmed on a mobile device can be gorgeous, and by stabilising your footage with a tripod and capturing cleaner audio with a microphone, you can make sure that anything you filmed can be used in a professional capacity further down the line. High-quality video content is possible, but it’s not as simple as point-and-shoot, as the above tips and abundance of options prove.

That said, filming content yourself can be a great way to add a large amount of video to your website or social media pages, and whenever a job comes up that needs a professional video production service – you know where we are!