Best practices for smartphone selfie video recording

Not long ago we would never consider shooting high quality videos on our phones because the results were so inferior compared to a DSLR or video camera. Today, however, smartphone video quality has become fairly impressive, and you can't beat the convenience. We now have incredibly powerful cameras sitting right in our pockets!

But just as having a great DSLR or video camera doesn't mean that everything you record with that camera will look amazing, the same applies to smartphone video. There are considerations that you need to take into account and employ, so that you can capture the best possible video on your smartphone.

Here are the four main types of considerations that you should think about when approaching the production of your own selfie video:

Framing and Composition

The vertical vs. horizontal debate

It wasn't long ago that vertically-shot videos (portrait), as opposed to horizontally-shot videos (landscape), were shunned as an inferior approach to smartphone video recording, but that has changed dramatically in the last couple years. This is mainly due to the prevalence of social media, and because it is just more convenient to record on your phone the way that the phone naturally fits into your hand, which is vertically.

If you are trying to decide whether to record vertically or horizontally, here are a couple things to think about that may help you in making a decision:

Regardless of whether you record on your phone in portrait (vertical) or landscape (horizontal), the following fundamentals should be heeded when shooting in either configuration:


Here is a Bok Center-produced video that explores lighting considerations for when recoring in and around your house:

Here is a Bok Center-produced video that explores lighting considerations for when shooting outside:

Here is an externally-produced video that offers some valuable lighting tips as well:


Here is an externally-produced video that demonstrates a few of these options:


Additional video resources

Good luck!!

Expos 20 iphone pitch_RG from Learning Lab on Vimeo.