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Record a Promotional Video with a Phone

Video - The Ultimate Communication

The last tutorial showed you how to make a Promotional Video with a face-to-camera recording with a webcam

This time I will you how to use your phone’s camera.

The process is quite different and does require some more effort.

So why would you use your phone rather than a webcam?


Simple answer - The phone's camera is likely to be a higher resolution  -  simply better quality 


If your computer does not have a webcam installed, then this is your next best solution.


However there are some benefits to be had when using the Phone, the main being that you can use the 4K resolution of your phone’s camera.


Though that will most likely require you to use the rear camera and not the selfie camera that will have the lower 1080p resolution.


1/ Tripod

2/ Focus

3/ Audio

4/ The teleprompter. 

1/ Tripod

The phone needs to be secured on a tripod or some clip device. The tripod can be as cheap as you like as it will not be moved once positioned.


You will need a Tripod Mount for the phone, some are supplied when you buy a tripod - also look for a Bluetooth remote for stop and start recording. Well worth the extra investment for a very few dollars.


2/ Focus

A major consideration is that the camera on your phone may have a fixed focus lens so needs to positioned at an optimum distance from your face. Check your phone's specifcations


The tip here is find that distance with test runs and then mark that position so you can replicate it later.


Recent phones do have the ability to focus and an iPhone can be focused by tapping on the screen.


A yellow square box will appear around the area you tapped. 


You can swipe upon down on the screen to brighten or darken the image (Exposure) 


Once you have taken the photo the camera re-sets to auto focus and exposure.


You can set the AE/AF Lock by pressing your finger and holding a second or two - AE/AF Lock with yellow rectangle will be displayed at the top of your screen. 


The AE/AF Lock settings are retained after you take the photo.


The advantages of AE/AF Lock are:

You can have cell camera expose and focus in auto mode and fix that AE/AF so you can be sure those settings are retained.


Just tap on the screen to disable.


There are some dangers. If you are shooting outdoors and set the AE/AF Lock when the sun goes behind clouds the exposure will be wrong


If you move closer or away from the subject the focus will be incorrect. The same will apply if the subject moves towards or away from you.

Android phones have similar functions.

3/ Audio

As I have mentioned in previous tutorials, audio is actually more important than the video, so the audio recorded from your phone’s camera will not be up to scratch because of the distance it will be from your mouth.


Hence the need for a separate audio recording device like Lavalier (Lapel) Microphone that plugs into your phone.


Be careful that the plug suits your type of phone: 3.5 pin for PC and Lightning cable for iPhone.


That is the cleanest solution so you can transfer the one file with both video and audio to your computer for editing.


You could do a quick and simple edit directly on your phone and send it directly to FaceBook or YouTube. But be aware that your reading of the script may have lots of breaks and repeats that may be too much to edit on your phone. 

However depending on the quality of the audio channel on your phone, you may need a USB microphone that is close to your mouth, attached to your computer, and recorded into Quicktime. 


I discuss microphone’s in the camera tutorial.


Or you could have a separate Audio recorder such as a Zoom H1.


If you use either of those solutions you will have a low quality audio recorded on your phone and the good quality audio recorded separately.


These two audio sources need to be matched up in the video editing software.


Check that your editing software will synchronise two audio sources.


I will be focusing on iMovie when I show you how to edit your video. 


Be aware iMovie does not synchronise audio nor do any other free or low cost video editors that I know of.


But don’t be put off, there is a solution that is easy to use.


After you have turned on both audio devices to record, clap your hands loudly. Any other sharp noise will do, as you will be able to match that manually in any video editor. 


You will have seen the clapper board used on old movie sets. that gave both a visual and a “Clapper” sound for editors to match in Post production.


If you decide to use the rear camera you will not be able to see yourself while you are recording. Which makes it harder to ensure you stay in a good position on screen. 


On the balance, I suggest you should consider the selfie camera, as the ability to see yourself and the added benefit of having the options for a teleprompter, outplays the drop in resolution.


4/ Now to the teleprompter. 


Checkout: iOS -Video teleprompter lite.


iOS and Android: Promptsmart.

A teleprompter will scroll text on your phone’s screen allowing you to read and have your eyes looking into the lens.


You will be able to read the words and it will appear that you are looking directly into the lens.


It does require some practice to get it to look good.


You will also be able to buy a bluetooth remote to be able to speed up/slow down the scroll as well as pause/play.

You will need to evaluate depending on the teleprompter software you are using.  


One other solution you may want to look at is using the 4K camera as well as with the web teleprompter that I discussed in the webcam tutorial.


This means you will be able to do full-screen technology-type recording while still recording your face-to-camera so that you can edit between them in Post Production.


If you are interested in doing this I can walk you through the process in a one-on-one training session.  


As a Final Tip:

Most importantly, think of how the presentation you are recording will encourage your audience to go to your web page.


As I have said before, your web page is your shop, whether it has eCommerce or not, Just as you would want your physical shop to look attractive and inviting, do the same for your web page.




**Required - **

Tripod - $2 - $10.00 

Tripod Mount for Phone - $5 - $10.00



Video teleprompter lite for iOS or equivalent - free version Pro version: $30.00

Lavalier (lapel) Microphone. From $20.00

3.5 pin for PC and Lightning cable for iPhone


**Optional extras: **

USB mic inc stand: from $40.00, suggest Blue Yeti $70.00

Audio recorder such as a Zoom H1 - $99.00

3 x LED lights and stands: From $60.00

Green Screen and stand: from $80.00

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image of Zoom H1 Recorder
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