Recording with your mobile device

Recording a great video doesn’t need to cost the earth. Learning Environments have prepared some pointers on how to record a great video using equipment you might already have in your pocket.

Think like a producer

The trick is to approach your own production in the same way that the pros do. First think about your audience, then work on the script. Next find a great location, and finally make sure you’re getting the most out of your phone or camera on the day of the shoot.

Equipment

We often get asked for equipment recommendations. By following the tips in our video, it’s completely feasible to record a presentation to camera using just the inbuilt microphone and an improvised camera support – something like a bag of rice on a stack of books, or a paper cup with a notch cut into it.

Using a bag of rice as a phone camera tripod
Using a bag of rice as a phone camera tripod
Using a paper cup as a phone camera tripod
Using a paper cup as a phone camera tripod

Taking things to the next level might involve getting hold of a mobile phone tripod and a microphone designed for mobile film making. We’ve used and can recommend the following:

Tripod

  • Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod
  • iPhone holder - Joby GripTight One Mount

Audio

  • Rode Wireless Go: Great for wireless mic
  • Rode smartLav+ lapel mic: When presenting close to camera
  • Rode NT-USB: Also a good USB mic for desktop audio recording.

Unfortunately, Learning Environments doesn’t have spare equipment to lend, but ask around your team or faculty to see what might be available to borrow locally.

Once your equipment has been organised, the next step is to consider the over all production of your presentation.

Filming

We’ve put together a basic check-list below to help you produce professional results with minimal fuss:

  1. Script your presentation for a screen viewing audience.
  2. Stabilise your device with a mini tripod and test the record settings.
  3. Choose a location with good natural light.
  4. Choose a quiet location to maximise the quality of your audio.
  5. Rehearse out loud before recording.

Editing

Once you’ve filmed your video, you’ll have to think about editing. If a simple ‘top and tail’ is all that is required, you should be able to do this using the software on your phone. But for more complicated edit jobs, you’ll want to offload the footage to your computer.

  1. Check your project settings.
  2. Include a range of ‘assets’. Video, stills, music, voice-over.
  3. Try to tell a story with your assets.
  4. Choose the best takes – good audio & vision.
  5. Export with your delivery platform in mind – for Kaltura, aim for a frame size of 1280x720 or 1920x1080, and export your video using a MPEG4 or h264 preset.

Software

There are lots of video editing packages available. For a simple, free, open-source option take a look at OpenShot Video Editor for Mac, PC and Linux computers.

We have also compiled the following list of more fully featured solutions that are in use around the University.

SoftwareDescriptionCost Difficulty levelOS Screen recordingEditing
Audacity Audio recording and editing Free Easy Mac/PC No Yes
OpenShot Video editor Free Easy Mac/PC No Yes
OBS Video, screen recording and live streaming Free Easy Mac/PC Yes No
Quicktime Video player, recorder and editor Free Easy Mac Yes Basic trimming
Movies and TV Video player and editor Free Easy PC No Basic trimming
Zoom Video conference software Free (for staff) Easy Mac/PC Yes No
Kaltura Personal Capture Screen recorder Free (for staff) Easy Mac/PC Yes Basic trimming
Echo360 Universal Capture Screen recorder Free (for staff) Easy Mac/PC Yes Basic trimming
Screencast-O-Matic Screen recorder and video editor Free (for staff) Easy Mac/PC Yes Yes
Camtasia Screen recorder and video editor Paid Medium Mac/PC Yes Yes
Adobe Rush Video recorder and editor Paid Medium Mac/PC/iOS No Yes
Adobe Premiere Pro Video editor Paid Advanced Mac/PC No Yes, fully featured
Final Cut Pro X Video editor Paid Advanced Mac No Yes, fully featured
DaVinci Resolve Video editor Free Advanced Mac/PC No Yes, fully featured

Resources

Get in touch