In recent years, smartphones have become so good at recording video that they can successfully compete with standalone cameras, at least when it comes to shooting non-professional video.
Of course, if you want your videos to look great, you'll usually need an expensive, 4K-capable handset. But cheaper devices can shoot decent video, too, and that's more than enough for many users.
All Android smartphones manufactured today can record video, as long as they feature a camera, and the vast majority will let you shoot at least in 720p (720 x 1280 pixels, aka HD). Regardless of what Android smartphone (with camera) you own, there are some general tips that you may want to consider in order to record better videos. Check them out below:
1. Hold your phone horizontally
You should really, really try to avoid holding your smartphone vertically when shooting video. Why? Well, because videos are meant to be watched horizontally - in landscape mode. And when you want to watch a vertical video on a TV or on a PC, you'll see two annoying black bars on its sides - as illustrated in the image on the left. Unless you specifically want your video to look like that, hold your handset horizontally when recording.
2. Use a tripod, or improvise
Have you noticed? Your videos look better when they're shake-free. The key to shake-free videos is, obviously, keeping your smartphone steady when recording. Even if your device has some kind of built in image stabilization, it's hard to create a perfect video if you're relying on your hands when shooting. While there are countless tripods that can increase the stability of videos, those usually cost money that you may not want to spend. But how about spending $2? You can get a flexible "spider" stand that can be successfully used as a small tripod for just two bucks (Amazon link
). Or, you could improvise and not spend anything - like we did in the image on the left (this one's taken from an older article providing tips on how take great photos and videos with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Of course, if you need to be on the move when recording video, a tripod (or an improvisation) won't be of much help. Thus, this solution only works if you want to shoot video while keeping your phone still.
3. Beware of lighting conditions
Smartphones can struggle when it comes to shooting video in low light conditions. In situations like these, your phone's flash (assuming it features one) can help, but the video may end up having unnatural colors. If you're indoors, it's better to try and provide enough light for your subject/scene before you start recording: open the curtains (if there's light outside), make use of your indoor lighting system, use a lamp or two, etc. Whatever you do, make sure light properly falls off on your subject/scene (for example, light coming from the back should be avoided, unless you have a specific idea involving this scenario - though that may still not turn out the way you'd want).
P.S.: The image on the left is taken from our Samsung Galaxy Note 5 review
4. Check for free space
Before you start recording a video, make sure you have enough free space on your device, especially if you're shooting in 4K (this will eat up about 300 MB, or more, per minute), or in 1080p at 60fps (requires about 200 MB, or more, per minute). Otherwise, you'll be in danger of being forced to stop recording when your phone wants (because it runs out of available memory), and not when you want.
5. Use video editing apps
Once you're done with recording your video, there's one more step that you may be interested in: editing it - add music or text, apply filters, cut scenes, fade out, etc. There are lots of free and great video editing apps available on Android, two of the most popular ones being VivaVideo (download link
) and KineMaster (download link
). YouTube itself features editing capabilities, but you have to upload your video there first in order to use them.