Video 101: How to capture and edit footage on your phone

Video 101: How to capture and edit footage on your phone

Does your video shake, sound like it was recorded in a hurricane or otherwise look not exactly how you want? Follow these easy steps and your content will look much more professional. You don’t need a lot of equipment beyond your mobile device. Here we’ll walk you through the basics of capturing video on your phone or tablet, then editing and posting that footage. Your viewers will thank you.

First up:

  • Charge your phone ahead of time, and pack your charger. Shooting and editing video will drain your battery pretty quickly.
  • Video is also a space hog, so make sure you have enough storage room on the device or memory card. Test this out beforehand by seeing how large a 30 second clip is and then doing a bit of math. The highest resolution video settings are great, but not if your device is nearly full.
  • To improve image quality, get as close as possible to whatever you're shooting. Using the the zoom feature on your camera can look pixelated. Taking better shots to start with is better than trying to improve things later on.
  • Use your phone in horizontal mode and make sure the camera is as stable as possible by propping it on something, or better yet use a tripod or selfie stick.

Now that your phone is set, work on planning your shoot.

Creating a storyboard either on paper or PowerPoint will give you structure and help you identify both message and visuals. This will help you figure out what to say and when you want to say it.

Then, think about composing your shot. Learn the rule of thirds: the viewing area is divided into horizontal and vertical thirds, so images centered on one of these nine points are more pleasing to the eye. Light sources should to be in front of whatever you're shooting. Vimeo has tutorials which covers some of this.

Finally, figure out how to handle the sound for your video. The simplest option is to shoot video on location capturing background sound and record a voice over in a quiet room. You should use an external mic. (even a headset mic will do) to record a better sound. [find lapel microphones on Amazon, there are lots, so use their ratings to help narrow your search]

How to edit video footage you’ve shot on your phone

As hundreds upon thousands of shaky YouTube videos show, editing is the element that separates the amateurs from the pros. You can edit video on your phone, and the apps that let you do it are inexpensive and easy to use. Here’s an example using VivaVideo, a $2.99 mobile app available for the Android and iOs mobile platforms.

I've outlined how the IOS version works. The Android app is similar, and I used it six months ago with an older Android device and found it was much better than anything else I had found. 

Description: Macintosh HD:Users:nadinekrefetz:Desktop:downloads:VivaVideo - Jul 07, 9 12 18 AM.png     Description: Macintosh HD:Users:nadinekrefetz:Desktop:downloads:VivaVideo - Jul 07, 9 12 06 AM.png


To Start

 Open the app and then choose Edit from the menu. You'll need to allow the app to have access to your photos (and later on to your microphone as well).

Description: Macintosh HD:Users:nadinekrefetz:Desktop:downloads:VivaVideo - Jul 08, 2 16 52 PM.png

The app defaults to your video library on your device. You should see a selection of video content stored on your device. On the top of the screen is a toggle option for Photo if you want to import photos instead. You can use both within your video. You can even create video made up totally of still images. You may need to toggle to the alternative source if you are mixing video and still images in your new content.

You can pick any combination of video or still images. You need to select clips by clicking on an individual item.


Description: Macintosh HD:Users:nadinekrefetz:Desktop:downloads:VivaVideo - Jul 08, 2 17 20 PM.png


If you have selected a video clip, this will take you to the Trim window. Select the triangle play button to preview the video.

Video Segment

To use only part of the video clip you can trim the file, moving the in (left white bar) and out (right red bar) points to the selection you prefer.

Then click on the scissor icon, this creates a version of the original file. You can do this again if you would like to use another piece of content from within the same video. Click Confirm. Repeat this step to add additional media.

Once you have selected all your media, click done and you are brought to a preview of your new video.

The app automatically stiches together all your content. This is where you can enhance things by adding a voice over, transitions between clips or other features. First check your content by selecting the triangle play button. To edit choose the icon film strip and scissor. Description: Macintosh HD:Users:nadinekrefetz:Desktop:downloads:VivaVideo - Jul 08, 2 18 56 PM.pngThis provides menu options below. The two tools we have information on are the Clip Edit and the Dub features.


Choose Clip edit. On this screen you can reorder your media by clicking and dragging the icons. When you're done, click the check on the top of the screen.

Recording Audio

Description: Macintosh HD:Users:nadinekrefetz:Desktop:downloads:VivaVideo - Jul 09.png Description: Macintosh HD:Users:nadinekrefetz:Desktop:downloads:VivaVideo - Jul 08, 2 31 52 PM.png

To add a new soundtrack or voice over you need to use the Dub feature.

After selecting the edit icon, a menu list comes up below. If you place your finger on the menu and slide to the left, more features come up, including Dub.


Click on the Dub icon to bring up the controls to record new narration. You'll need to hold the button down while recording new narration.

When you're done, click the check on the top of the screen. There are other features here you can experiment with, like music, transitions and even filters to make you content black and white.

Saving your work

Save a version of the file on your mobile device by selecting the airplane icon on the top of the screen. This brings you to the Share screen where you can save to your device, post to social media or email a copy of the file.

Export to Gallery saves a version to your own device. You should always do this so you have a copy of your file. You can also save to the other supported social media accounts shown in the icons, like Facebook, Youtube, Instagram or WhatsApp. If you select Facebook, for example, you will be brought to a screen to authenticate your account. Follow additional steps and that's it your new video will be on Facebook.

To save to a cloud account which is not listed, save the video first to your device using the Export to Gallery button. Next follow the usual steps you use to save to your cloud storage.

That's it! You're done. Go forth and create better video clips.

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