Lights, Camera, Action..Shoot great smartphone videos
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Lights, Camera, Action..Shoot great smartphone videos

Most of us have likely starred in or shot home videos..back in the day it was a complicated process requiring you to own a a video camera and a way of showing the videos to family and friends..if you go back far enough we had to get the film processed and required a projector to show it. Today all that has changed..if you own a modern smartphone such as my HTC Sensation you have a pretty good camcorder capable of shooting HD video and the large screen is pretty good for showing the video to others.  You can also playback video in full HD to a big screen TV via DLNA so videos can be shared comfortably with a bigger audience.

Still as easy as it is to shoot videos with our smartphones not all of us are budding Steven Spielbergs. So HTC has enlisted the help of filmaker Kyle Welton to help get you started on making great home videos.

“Traditionally, video cameras were used primarily at planned events like weddings, plays or Christmas morning to capture stationary subjects. Because of their size, portability and battery life it was more difficult to capture spontaneous moments on video than it was with still photography,” says filmmaker and director Kyle Welton. “That has changed with the features in today’s smartphones.  Not only are citizen journalists capturing real time news, but more memories are being captured in more places. The new technology also makes it easy to produce quality videos.”

HTC has prepared tips on how to shoot quality videos from your smartphone’s camcorder. “With a steady hand, cooperative subjects, advanced smartphone settings and these tips from HTC, you can turn memories into videos that people will actually want to watch again,” says Welton.



    1. Be steady. Rest the camera on something solid – this will keep the shot from shaking even during times of action. Nothing available? Try holding the wrist of your shooting hand – it will help stabilize the shot.
    2. Have a plan. Just because it is a home video doesn’t mean you can’t have a shot list.  Write down or mentally prepare a list of the order of events to be shot for the day to ensure you will not miss a special moment.
    3. Lighting is key. If you look at your screen while recording and it appears “backlit”, just change places with your subject. The brightest light source should be over your shoulder. Plus,smartphones like the EVO 3D from HTC come preloaded with lighting settings like daylight, fluorescent and cloudy. Be sure to test each of the options to see which one works best for your environment.
    4. Quiet on set. It’s important to remember that everything you do creates a sound. Stay close to the action and limit speaking. If you need to get someone’s attention, try a silent arm wave. They’ll get the message pretty quickly.


  1. Change angles and positions. Using various types of shots will keep the audience captivated and add a bit of artistic flare to your video.
  2. Record in a new dimension. Turning your videos from 2D to 3D is as simple as a switch of a button with smartphones like the HTC EVO 3D. Don’t overdo it; choose something that will really jump off the screen, like swim meets or landmarks with unique architecture.
  3. Slow and steady wins the race. Panning quickly creates a dizzying effect for the audience and you could miss something. If you have to move the camera, use a slow and steady motion.
  4. Hollywood Effects. Try to recreate your favourite moment, scene or shot from a film. Play with different lighting, angles and subject matter. Some smart phone cameras, like my HTC Sensation, have settings that allow you to create effects on your videos like sepia tone for a vintage look and feel.

It is easier than you think..I have been quite pleased with the videos I have been able to shoot on my HTC Sensation following the above tips so give it a try..I think you will be impressed. Now, the next step is to give your videos a more professional can do that easily with Windows Live Movie Maker on your Windows PC or iMovie on the Mac. In a few weeks when Android  Ice Cream Sandwich becomes widely available on smartphones you will be able to do simple edits on your smartphone with Google Movie Studio.

So get out there and give it a could be amazed at the results you can produce..your movies certainly can’t be any worse than some of the drek coming out of Hollywood today. 🙂



Bob Benedetti

Former RCAF Fighter Pilot Bob worked for CTV Montreal as a Reporter, Producer and Executive producer for 35 years retiring in 2004. Bob started reporting on personal technology in 1995 at CTV and continues today at Home Technology Montreal

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