You've already got the basics down. Time to make your video capture even better.

  1. The Rule of Thirds
    This is a visual arts standard and one that your smartphone may be able to help with. Some phones let you activate a grid to help you see where to position your subject, ideally with the subject in 1/3 of the frame, and the background in 2/3. You can read Wikipedia's full article with samples here.
    rule-of-thirds-example
    This photograph demonstrates the rule of thirds. Notice how the pier is contained in the right-most portion of the photo.
  2. Manually set exposure & focus
    Not all smartphone apps do this, but try pressing and holding on an area of the screen to activate the AE/AF Lock function. The most important of the two is the AE (Auto Exposure) Lock because you don't want the exposure to keep changing while you're filming. This will happen if you're panning across an indoor scene (especially if there are windows), so try locking the exposure on an area that gives you the best look for the whole scene. Manually setting the focus is great when you want to get close to an object and you need to tell the camera to focus on a particular area.
     
  3. Phone accessories
    Microphones, tripods, and lenses, oh my! There are a TON of smartphone-friendly accessories to help you enhance your video capture. Check out these lists from CNET and Popular Mechanics.
     
  4. Apps make the world go 'round
    Use third-party applications to make your smartphone camera even more powerful!

    iOS recommendations include Top Camera 2, MovieSlate, and Chromic.

    Android recommendations include Camera FV-5, Camera MX, and Camera Zoon FX.
     
  5. Time-Lapse
    Your smartphone may already have this feature in your native camera app (true for iOS, partially true for some Android). It's a great tool to capture more static environments in a way that's visually interesting. Check your camera settings to see if you have the ability to time-lapse your capture. If not, there are plenty of third-party apps to help you!



    iOS recommendations include Lapse It and OSnap!.

    Android recommendations include Lapse It and Frame Lapse.
     
  6. Slow Motion
    Just like time-lapse capture, your smartphone may be able to do this within the native camera app. It's a great way to capture action shots and slow them down, and is another tool you can use to create interesting video. As with time-lapse, third-party applications are available for iOS and Android.

    iOS recommendations include SloPro and Videomotion.

    Android recommendations include Slow Motion Video FX and SloPro.


     
  7. B-roll
    If you're going for a feature film look, you'll want to capture what's known in the industry as b-roll. This is the extra footage captured to enrich the story you're telling and to have greater flexibility when editing. Instead of featuring only talking heads on video, you want to have other images you can cut away to that will add dimension to your story, like crowds, the environment, and more.

Don't forget to upload your finished video to share your stories and experiences. Together, united, we are Shatterproof.