Whoever said, “the best camera is the one you have with you” must have been talking about smart phones.
These days, anyone with the right smart phone and the right app(s) can make a quick video any time or any place.
Because it’s possible to send video directly from cell phones, many users are coming to prefer these devices over similar-sized but dedicated pocket video cameras or more expensive (and heavier) video-capable dSLR cameras, or even single-purpose video cameras.
Yes, smart phones with complete video capability like Apple’s iPhone® or Samsung’s Galaxy® can shoot high-definition (HD) video that looks good on a computer screen, a tablet, or even a huge TV screen. Many are equipped with multi-million pixel sensors that produce amazingly sharp pictures both outside in bright light and even indoors where the light is dimmer. They also are capable of recording professional quality sound.
One significant challenge for any amateur shooting video is not to induce seasickness with images that jiggle from camera movement. Many recent smart phone models, however, even include a built-in stabilization feature to help solve that problem! However, even though this clever piece of software does help to settle down a wobbly image, I still recommend putting the phone on a small tripod, especially when shooting an interview.
Most of the phones even have a built-in torch (flash light) for shooting in dark situations. The quality of the light is predictably awful, but does allow shooting in very dark situations. Downloadable apps add pro-like features to phones’ and tablets’ cameras that provide surprisingly complete technical control. For example, VideoPro Camera® http://www.videoprocamera.com/ ($4.99) allows iPhone® users to manually focus one point of an image by touching the screen, and to control brightness by activating the built-in light meter and then manually locking exposure by touching a point on the screen anywhere in a scene.
This short video shows how to control focus, exposure, white balance, and even stabilize the image when shooting video with an iPhone:
The automatic and manual controls on smart phones are constantly improving. Using Apple’s latest generation iPhone, iPad and iTouch devices, external mics and headphones, and the app VideoPro Camera® (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/videopro-camera/id598364177, you can simultaneously record and listen to live audio to monitor its quality.
As an inexpensive alternative to high-end remote wireless mics, I recommend using a Bluetooth wireless mic and receiver from Sony, which will provide clear sound from up to 100 feet from the phone.
With the addition of apps like Apple’s iMovie http://www.apple.com/apps/imovie/ you can edit the video on the fly and, of course, send it anywhere in the world with a finger’s touch. Note: You do have to have small fingers to edit on the iPhone.
Editing video on the tablet is much easier. And many people are actually shooting video with tablets these days, immediately viewing the footage on the tablet’s relatively large screen, editing clips and combining the footage into polished video stories.
Then it’s easy enough to upload to Dropbox or post to Facebook or another social network, or Internet video site such as YouTube or Vimeo.
One thing is sure: Smart phones and video-capable tablets are more and more pervasive. The number of homemade videos shot with smart phones on YouTube alone is staggering. The quality of a lot of that video is also staggeringly poor.
However, the improvements in smart phones, the use of external microphones and headphones to monitor sound, and the control and functionality that apps are adding to the phones are likely to change that.
VideoPro Camera | Professional video for your iPhone
VideoPro Camera is an app that brings professional video to the iPhone. Monitor audio in real time, control zoom speed, and more.