Top 5 Tips for Shooting Smartphone Video During COVID-19

By Katie Lundy
April 21, 2020

COVID-19 didn’t just put our nation’s health care system to the test, it also is testing the creativity of companies and organizations who are forced to pivot marketing efforts in response to the pandemic.

As we continue to practice social distancing and evolve the way we all communicate with one another, so to must our video strategy adapt.

We have seen some really fun and authentic social media videos that have emerged during the crisis such as the security guard at the National Cowboy Museum who tried to catch the Toy Story gang coming to life in the abandoned museum. The video quality doesn’t have to be the best to generate a strong response. This video reached more than 15,000 viewers on Facebook alone. The Cincinnati Zoo is another great example with their virtual Home Safari tours. This video is simply turtles eating lettuce and it generated 280,000 views on Facebook.

As you think of creative ways you can incorporate smartphone video into your marketing efforts, there are certain filming rules that still apply to enhance the quality and help your video stand out. Below are some helpful tips…

1 – Lighting still matters

The public knows you are shooting on your phone, but a badly lit video could be a flop. Make sure you are shooting in a well-lit room or a place with good natural light. Avoid shooting into windows as it makes your subject appear silhouetted and difficult to see. You want them looking into the light, not having the light behind them.

2- Limit Background noise

A noisy location can be very distracting for the viewer so find a quite location for filming (ie. Keep the dogs and the kids in another room). Also, if you are shooting an interview or a selfie video, use a microphone if possible. If you don’t have one available, simply move closer to the camera so the audio gets picked up.

3- Interview Tips

Whether you are shooting an interview or filming yourself as a selfie, watch the head room. Make sure to not have too much empty space above the head, or conversely, cutting off the forehead. You should have about an inch or two of head room. Also, make sure you practice what you want to say beforehand out loud. It always sounds different in your head than when it comes out of your mouth. Watch the ums, uhs, and other crutch words you may have.

4-Avoid shaky shots

No one expects perfection in this COVID-19 environment but do your best to stabilize your footage. If possible, use a tripod or lean your phone against a solid surface. Also, if you don’t have a tripod available, avoid using zoom. It will pixelate your video and make it shaky. Opt to move closer to get the shot you want.

5-Stay in Your Lane

Keep videos short and simple and make sure you aren’t sharing information that is not yours to share. Remember, you are not a medical professional, and no one is quite sure how the pandemic will play out. Ensure your message has have the right tone depending on what you are trying to convey. If it’s a happy video, smile and keep it light. If it’s somber, avoid cracking jokes. A video that is tone-deaf can easily go viral for the wrong reasons.

For additional questions on implementing a smartphone video strategy, feel free to contact our Inspire team at