Musicians: 5 Tips for Shooting Smartphone Videos From the Road

Filming Concert with SmartphoneMany smartphones (iPhones, Droids, etc) now allow you to record, edit and upload videos to YouTube directly from your phone. This is a killer feature for musicians looking to leverage their video presence from the road, the studio or even a local gig. While you’ll probably get better quality sound and video from a camcorder, a smartphone is a great tool for creating video quickly and uploading it online. This gives your fans a real-time peak into what you’re up to.

Try recording a quick update or announcement to your fans while on the road, record a sing-a-along in the van, or interview your fans at your next show. Respond to people on Facebook or Twitter by creating quick video responses, uploading them to YouTube, and then linking to the videos.

Hint: Your fans will be tickled pink if you address them by name in a video.

Here are 5 Tips for Shooting Smartphone Videos:

1. Keep it Ready

Is your smart phone charged? Is it at your side? Do you have a car charger and a wall charger and a charger charger? Is your video application easily accessible from the home screen?

Think of yourself as the Wild Bill Hickok of cinematography. How quickly can you draw and shoot?

Your drummer is only going to get slapped-with-a-slim-jim-after-mistakenly-getting-in-the-wrong-van, once. Be ready.

2. Keep it Steady

Smartphones are not high-end video cameras with built-in stabilization and other image-enhancing goodies. So try not to move around to much when you’re filming. Use a stand, chair, or a ledge to steady your arm while filming. If there’s nothing to lean on–stand with your feet about shoulder length apart and rest your elbow on your torso for support.

3. Edit With Your Brain

Sure, your smartphone has editing tools built in, but editing a half-hour video on your smartphone is the kind of self-inflicted-torture you should try to avoid. Think about what you’re going to film before you press record. What are you going to use this video for? What do your fans want to see? If you interview a band member, plan it out first. Whether you’re filming a ‘shout-out’ to your fans, telling a joke. or recording an acoustic song in the parking lot, give it some thought. Write it down. It will save you time in the long run.

4. Low Light? Loud Music? = Bad Video

At the time of this writing (August 2011) even top-of -the -line video smartphones are not going to do particularly well with low-lighting and loud sound. If this is what you’re trying to capture, you may need to invest in a camcorder.

If you’re looking to improve audio quality, there are some decent external mics that can be hooked up to your smartphone (Blue makes a good one for iPhone).

5. Keep it Short

Internet videos are usually just a minute or two in length. Even if you plan on editing the video later, it will save you lots of time to record for just a few minutes at a time. If you’re recording music, record one song and then hit stop. Hit record again for the next song. It will be easier for you to find the good bits later if the videos are short.

Do you have any suggestions or tips for using smartphones to create video? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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