Filming with camcorders, tablet & smartphones

Overuse of zoom is a common problem, and can result in video that looks amateurish, or even worse, can make people dizzy. If you need to zoom in and out, take it slow and steady, and don’t zoom out again too soon. Similarly when using Tablets or smartphones zoom can cause shaky or grainy images, it is much better to move closer to the subject.
Try to avoid shots panning over an area e.g. physically moving the camera in a sweep across the horizon or landscape. These tend to look amateurish and is better achieved editing together different shots or angles.crop-exampleFrame your shots well. Fill the frame with your subject, and don’t be afraid to place him or her slightly off-center. For example, when filming someone talking to camera, frame them off center as it’s more visually appealing. Framing your subject off to one side lets you capture more of the environment and atmosphere in your shot.
Avoid backlighting. Just because we can see people’s faces when they’re backlit doesn’t mean the camera can. Too often, backlit shots result in uncomfortably bright light haloing a dark figure with no visible features. Ideally have the light behind you as the camera operator, using this to light your subject.
backlightingUnless you plan on editing, record only the important moments. If you’re going to edit your footage, record plenty of footage to give you more options. Try and film a few seconds before and after a scene to give you a ‘run in’ or fade out opportunity.
Audio – Consider the environment, can you move to a better one. Let’s say you are filming indoors, is there an air conditioning unit or projector or PC fan in the background? These aren’t that noticeable at the time but become prominent on playback. Also if you are using the microphone built into the camcorder, try to get as close to you subject as possible. Additionally try and avoid rooms with hard surfaces such as wall and flooring, these add unwanted reverb (echo) to your soundtrack. When outdoors, try and steer away from roads to avoid traffic noise.
Tablets and smartphones, you are very often limited to the quality of audio you can achieve This can be a blessing or a curse. Use of higher quality audio recording equipment picks up noise that your ears or your tablet or smartphone might not (fluorescent lights,aircon,PCs)
tripodUse a tripod. Shaky handheld shots are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to bad home movies. Although many camcorders come with various image stabilization technologies, these in-camera features can only do so much to correct handshake. Shooting from a flat surface or, better still, a tripod, is a good way to remedy this problem. And you may be surprised by how affordable and portable small video tripods can be. Tripods are starting to become more available for tablets and smartphones but if you can’t get your hands on one try to make sure you hold the device in both hands and again try and use something sturdy to rest on.
Keep a spare battery with you if you plan to film for long periods. But if filming on tablet or phone bear in mind you probably won’t be able to change a battery in your tablet/smartphone, so plan for time to recharge or if possible keep it plugged in, if you are likely to film for long periods.