Smartphones keep impressing with their growing sophistication for shooting sharp, professional looking videos. But NewsCar is keen to maximise the quality of vision fit for broadcast, and can advise on how to achieve the best results. For some - these tips may seem obvious, but if you’re new to recording video we hope they will prove useful in meeting customer satisfaction.
Clean Your Lens
Inevitably phone lenses collect dust. A quick clean with a cotton bud will ensure a clear, crisp picture.
The single biggest complaint about phone footage is the use of the wrong aspect ratio. For some reason, it seems intuitive for many users of the video feature to hold a phone as if they are speaking on it! NewsCar’s Driver App is designed to anticipate this mistake and will automatically convert your recording interface into widescreen, or landscape - technically known as 16 X 9. This will eliminate those unsightly black bars down either side of your picture. (4X3) As soon as you start recording hold your phone horizontally with the phone’s lens at the top of your device, and NewsCar’s software will do the rest.
Once you're recording in the proper horizontal orientation try to fill the frame with your subject. Be mindful not to intrude upon the work of emergency service workers, and join any other media and the public in staying well behind police lines while cooperating with authorities at all times. For all their advancements, many smart phones retain a digital zoom capacity, and while this software creates the appearance of a closer subject – the subsequent deterioration of digital images can make for an unsightly, pixilated picture.
Using the AE/AF lock (Auto Exposure/Auto Focus) is the easiest way to focus on an object. Long-pressing on the object of your focus will produce a box with a yellow outline to confirm the focus.
The LED light that comes as standard equipment on smartphones can have a negative impact on the color temperature of photos. At night, try to use an available light source. Street lamps and neon can provide a creative touch, and if you tap the phone screen at its darkest point the picture will lighten. Try to avoid the silhouette and halo effect caused by backlighting.
While a smartphone will never be as clever as a high-end DSLR camera, you can strive for a professional look by accessorizing with an attachable optical lens for wider angles and authentic zoom-in capacity, tripods for a steadier shot and a microphone for clear, broadcast quality audio should a newsroom request a new feed with witness interviews. A simple lens hood will block harsh, direct sunlight and minimise lens flare. These accessories are easy to find online.