Skip to Main Content

Help With ~ Cell Phone Videos


A storyboard is a visual representation of the story you will be telling in your film. It is made up of sketches that detail sequence by sequence, the action that will play out in your work.

  • It materializes thoughts and validates concepts early
  • It helps you understand what works and what doesn’t
  • It makes filming go faster
  • You have a concrete list of what you need to film so you don’t forget a shot
  • It allows you to film out of order to use time and props efficiently
  • It lets others know your vision for the project making collaboration easier

Your storyboard should convey some of the following information:

  • The characters in the frame and if they are moving, how they are moving
  • What the characters in the frame are doing
  • What the characters are saying (if they are speaking)
  • The camera's placement and/or movement in each scene. Is it close or far away, moving, jerky, etc
  • Time of day/location/interior or exterior shot

Examples of Storyboards 

  • Elaborate Sketches. Drawn Camera Movements. Detail Below Panel.
  • Basic Drawings. Camera Movement and Details Below Panel.
  • Shot List. No Drawings. Heavy Description. (this one requires a bit more knowledge of jargon)


General Tips

  • Know your camera lens, quirks, tendencies, etc
  • Hold the phone steady, if you rotate, hold your elbows to your side and move your whole upper body not just the camera
    • If there is a tripod or surface that will help stabilize the shot, it will probably be better.
  • Use various shots from different angles and distances
  • Proper lighting has a huge impact on smartphone cameras because they have smaller image sensors and lenses. Try to shoot your video in brightly lit areas which will help avoid unnecessary shadows and grainy areas in your video. Conversely, you also must be careful not to point the camera directly at bright light sources, which will cause unusable overexposed footage and lens flaring. Lighting should be stable and steady; the image sensors in most smartphones do not react to dramatic changes in lighting very quickly.
  • Put your phone in airplane mode or use a Do Not Disturb feature: a vibration or notification can ruin a shot or audio, plus it will save battery
  • Clean the lens regularly 

Audio Tips

  • Audio is as important as video
  • Cover microphone if filming outside on a windy day
  • You can also delete the audio from the video clip and replace it with better audio later
    • Need to have secondary device capturing audio
  • When recording a person, hold the phone near them or use an external microphone\
  • Use a second smartphone to record audio to go with your video
    • Υou may check out a Digital Audio Recorder at the RDS 

Video Tips

  • Shoot horizontally not vertically so it can be viewed on a monitor or TV screen
  • Do not zoom with the regular iPhone camera lens. It reduces the quality of the picture. 
  • Follow regular film composition like framing and rule of thirds when filming
  • Manually set exposure and focus
    • iPhones: auto exposure will change the exposure while you’re filming, press and hold the screen to set an exposure that will let the whole scene look good (especially important in indoor scenes with windows)
  • Experiment slow motion or time-lapse features if available

Editing Options

Adobe Premiere is available on all lab computers on campus and is fully supported and recommended for video editing on campus.  

  • Editing and reviewing short clips will be easier than longer clips
  • iPhone and Android: can trim videos right in the app

Other editing tools:

  • iOS: iMovie - also available on all Macintosh computers on campus, but not fully supported by LITS staff.
  • iOS: Clips (Free)
    • Only edits square videos 
    • Offers filters and the ability to add soundtracks from Apple Music
    • Fewer features than iMovie but ideal for editing videos for social media


Hamilton College, 198 College Hill Road, Clinton, NY 13323 • 315-859-4735 • Copyright © 2017 The Trustees of Hamilton College. All rights reserved.