How to shoot, edit and publish videos from your Android smartphone

shoot-edit-publish-smartphone-androidabilityWithout meaning to stray to far into truism territory, the core raison d’être of smartphones is that they are designed for many tasks. In a single, compact device you have a mobile phone, digital camera, PC, MP3 player, video player, travel guide, supermarket and any other service you can think of that works online.

Yes, your smartphone is a jack of all trades. But is it a master of any?

Dedicated point-and-shoot digital cameras and lower-end camcorders are surely facing a slow road to extinction, with many modern phones capable of shooting ridiculously high-quality photos and videos. But can your phone really do it all, from start to finish, without connecting up to your PC? Well of course it can.

Here, we take a look at some of the tools and techniques beginners can use to shoot, edit and upload videos from their Android smartphone.

How smart is your phone?

First up, this guide applies to any Android user, irrespective of their device of choice. And many of the tips may apply across the smartphone realm too, though we’ve focused on Android here to keep things a little more contained.

However, the quality of your smartphone will have a big bearing on the quality of the video you capture. There are tools that can help enhance poorly captured video, but there’s no substitute for good equipment in the first instance – so the likes of the Oppo Find 7,  Acer Liquid S2LG G Pro 2Samsung Galaxy S5 or theOnePlus One will all serve you well here, each capable of shooting video in up to4K resolution.

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That said, 4K isn’t really necessary to capture high-quality video, especially when you consider that most TVs and monitors still aren’t 4K compatible anyway. Most recent mid-to-high range Android phones will offer something in the region of HD 1080p, which is more than adequate.

But as a general rule of thumb, the better the quality of smartphone you have, the better quality lens and camera it will have for capturing video. This will usually be reflected in the price too, but not always, as we’ve seen with the $300 OnePlus One which has a better-than-average camera for the price.

Shooting

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Shooting is the most crucial stage of the video-creating process. If you capture the video correctly, you have all the time in the world to mess around with editing to get that bit right. But if the source material is wonky, well, you will be seriously hamstrung further down the line.

First up, what camera should you use? The camera on your phone, sure, but what app?

Chances are, the video camera app that came bundled with your Android device will more than suffice. Most of the third-party video-recording apps out there simply link to your device’s bundled camcorder – and remember, they’re both using the same underlying hardware anyway. Though often they may have a few nifty features thrown in for good measure, such as touch-to-focus, image stabilizing, and other configurable settings as with the Camera ICS app. For most people though, the camera that comes with your phone will be absolutely fine for shooting.

Tricks of the trade: Knowing your 5 enemies

If you didn’t study film-making at university, there’s probably a good reason for that. But there’s five simple things worth considering when shooting that can make all the difference between the following post-viewing statements: ‘that was woefully-amateur‘ and ‘wow, that’s not bad…what did you film this with?’

This is far from an exhaustive list, but they’re probably the most basic and simplest factors that can elevate ‘awful’ to ‘not bad at all’ when creating a home movie.

by Paul Sawers

Orientation: The simplest rule-of-thumb is to ensure you always flip your phone and film in landscape mode. While filming in portrait can be fine for viewing back on your device, if you want to avoid those dreaded black bars down the side of your skit on YouTube, treat portrait like the plague.

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