I don’t need a videographer; I’ve got a smartphone...

Cameron Wong 11 Jun 2021
4 mins

The technology that is packed into our phones is quite mind boggling. Even the camera on most phones is now of such quality that it can compete with some professional cameras.  And if that’s the case, why would you need a videographer or a video camera?

This comes down to what you are shooting and what you want your video to do.

Where agencies add value

At Purple, we position ourselves as a strategic communications provider – the operative word being strategic. 

Agencies can add value through their technical proficiency with professional video recording equipment. But most of the success of a video comes from the work done before the camera is even turned on.

At Purple, one of our primary roles is to challenge assumptions and ask the right questions to enable a video outcome that delivers what a client wants to achieve.

All the equipment specs in the world mean nothing when the brief is unclear. Furthermore, sometimes our clients are in remote locations that we can’t practically reach at short notice, so being armed with these fundamental questions, affordable gear and the tips in this article can help achieve a good outcome.

Questions to ask before filming

What do you want your video to do?

If it’s for a social media platform, 8k or 4k video is overkill. These files are huge, but working with them can be taxing, both on your computer’s resources and your patience! The majority of social media platforms display video at a maximum resolution of Full HD (1920×1080), so why not shoot at that resolution as well?

Is your subject matter ever green or is it evolving?

An evergreen video could call for higher production values because it will have a longer life, whereas a video covering a topical or evolving issue may be better suited to simple production treatment so it can be published quicker.

How do you want to be perceived and how do you want people to feel when they watch your video?

These days, an authentic presence on video is valuable, and that might mean a less-polished approach.  A stripped-back, raw video might work better on social media, cutting through  the noise and feeling more authentic and relatable than the mega-budget corporate videos. Video can be great for developing an authentic and genuine relationship with your audience, but only if your talent understands how to come across as authentic and genuine!

Get the most out of your iPhone

We are big fans of using the right camera for the right job, we shoot a lot of our b-roll footage on iPhones or Android phones which offer flexible mounting options and the ability to position shots for intimidate and tight environments.  A large, traditional video camera, bulging with XLR audio jacks large lenses aren’t as flexible.

The optical zoom of the newer phones are fantastic for wide -angle shots, like this example from our interview with the Member for Mount Lawley, Simon Millman. This is shot in 4k to allow for cropping in for closer detail on our subjects and conveys the presence of both Simon Millman and the interviewer, Peter Klinger.

With all this talk of how great phone cameras are, it would be remiss of us to not leave you with some tips of how to get the most out of videoing content on your phone.

Tips for filming on your iPhone

Clean the lens

This is the equivalent of remembering to take the lens cap off a camera. Moistened cleaning wipes are the best for this job, but a quick breath and your shirt will do the trick too.

Camera’s view

Before you shoot any video with your smartphone, make sure the camera’s view isn’t obstructed.


Get some affordable, reliable equipment. For DIY video, this should include:

  • Tripod
  • Gimbal
  • Shotgun/smart phone mic
  • Wireless lapel mic
  • A ring light or led panels.

Phone notifications

Turn off your notifications and put your phone in aeroplane mode so that your video isn’t interrupted mid-shoot.

Think critically about the location

  • What do you want your video to say and why do you want people to watch it?
  • Position the subject correctly and in natural light if possible
  • Find somewhere quiet

Lock your exposure

Use the AE/AF lock which stands for Auto Exposure/Auto Focus to focus on the subject.

Framing the shot

  • When filming a talking head, you want to go in relatively close to the person with a little bit of space above their head.
  • Their eye line should be in line with the camera.

  • Do you want the interviewee to be looking at the camera, (useful if they are delivering a message “directly” to viewers), or off to the side (interview style)?
  • It’s time consuming to recreate a shoot if you miss something in the original filming so don’t be afraid to ask your interviewee to repeat something or start again.
  • Make sure that you ask the interviewee to incorporate your questions into their answer as full sentences.

Purple can help

Cannings Purple specialises in corporate video production, bringing to life corporate or strategic communications messaging in a format which works across modern communications platforms and channels. 

From developing the storyboard, managing and undertaking filming and editing, to developing distribution and amplification strategiesCannings Purple’s team of videographers, voiceover artists, scriptwriters and content specialists will guide you every step of the way. 


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Cameron Wong More from author

Cameron Wong is our digital generalist; a problem solver developing complex integrated digital projects. He has a particular interest in marketing technology and operationalising strategy, uncovering insights using first- and third-party data, and digital content production. Cameron helps clients develop smarter, connected and automated marketing ecosystems.

Cameron is an experienced marketing and digital communications professional having previously held senior marketing and operations positions in leading WA non-profit organisations. He holds a Bachelor of Marketing and Public Relations and has also completed a Masters in Marketing.

When Cameron isn’t discovering the latest in digital solutions, he’s planning his next snowy adventure or enjoying a new culinary experience.

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