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20 ways to improve video quality on your iPhone

Although, a DSLR or professional video camera might be needed for high-quality videography, let us say you just want to make a good quality video for your social media and all you have with you is an iPhone. There are still some ways you can make a huge difference to the video quality of your iPhone. Generally, the newer the device the better the video quality is going to be straight out of the box, however, there are a few tricks and tips to make the video quality pop out. In our article, we are going to break down the top 20 tips on how to improve the video quality on an iPhone.

20 ways to improve the video quality on your iPhone:

  1. Blur the background behind your subject
  2. Use of soft lighting
  3. Shoot in areas with better outdoor lighting conditions
  4. Use external mobile lenses
  5. Use light gels
  6. Change iPhone’s video resolution settings
  7. Putt the camera in the right direction
  8. Adjusting manual settings such as exposure
  9. Using video enhancer apps to improve video quality on iPhone 11
  10. Changing the framerate
  11. Zooming wisely
  12. Use front Camera freely for Vlogs
  13. Trimming the video
  14. Using Premiere Pro to edit the video
  15. Using the iPhone camera app
  16. Correctly positioning your iPhone 11
  17. Stabilize your shots
  18. Making your shots still with a tripod
  19. Using in-camera stabilization
  20. Clean your lenses

Blur the background in a video

The main feature that set iPhone’s camera application apart from all other phones was the introduction of portrait mode. It allowed users to take photos and adjust the depth of field in a photo after taking it. Moreover, this technique mimicked the DSLR shallow depth of field looks into an iPhone. But, this effect is limited to photos only. However, you can download and use FOCOS live applications from the app store and use it to blur out the background in not only photos but videos too. Additionally, FOCOS Live also allows users to adjust the aperture size in the app’s editor to change the depth of field after shooting a video. For now, you can download the app for free but to use premium features such as exporting videos in 1080p or 4k, the app demands a subscription.

Using Soft lighting

Lighting videos without any external equipment can be quite challenging especially when you are recording videos with a smartphone. Although, the new iPhone 11 takes great shots and records videos brilliantly in low light, the only drawback is that there is a certain shakiness and jitter your editing software cannot help. In the future, they might introduce a new software feature to tackle this issue but for now, let’s take a look at some ways external soft lighting can up your videography skills. Purchasing a small LED light can make a huge difference to your video quality, but the important thing is that the light source is soft. The Genaray LED-2100 is a type of LED light that is relatively small, but it can provide great amount of lighting turned to maximum.  Another solid option is the Lume Cube 1500. The Lume Cube 1500 is a small but powerful external LED light that can easily fit in your kit without taking much room. However, with all that being said, external lights, especially small external lights can be quite harsh on your subject, creating an unpleasant look. To tackle this issue, simply apply a light diffuser sheet or cloth over the light and you will be stunned with how much it affects the overall video quality. It will diffuse the harsh light coming from the external lights that you might be using making your final video look extremely good in terms of lighting.

Shooting in areas with better outdoor lighting conditions

If you are shooting outdoors remember that diffusing overhead sunlight is really difficult. Shooting in shaded areas with better lighting at the best time of the day can make your videos look both natural and cinematic. Time of the day plays a huge part when considering how to improve your iPhone video lighting. Try taking a video at night and compare the footage with one recorded during sunrise. The difference will be night and day, literally. All jokes aside, your iPhone is going to perform better with as much light as possible, but just remember that overhead midday sun is not flattering on anybody.

Using external mobile lenses

With the rise of mobilephoneography, lenses are now being made for your all smartphones, including iPhone. Check out Moment’s anamorphic lens. Pretty amazing little products. They simply mount on your iPhone 11 and create the cinematic anamorphic look that has been Hollywood’s secret for so many years. Sure they may come across slightly expensive but compare the videos recorded with this lens clipped on your iPhone 11 with a normal video taken from its back camera. You will be astonished to see the results. You can use various other lenses with your iPhone 11, all of which do deliver different looks and fields of view. Below are some examples:

  • Olloclip iPhone 11 Pro ElitePack: Priced at $129, it works with both front and rear cameras of the iPhone. Moreover, it provides great quality for its price and supports various devices.
  • Moment Anamorphic: Priced at around $149.99 and regarded as the best iPhone lens for videography, moment anamorphic lens provides exceptional level footage. However, it might be a little costly than its competitors but it’s worth it.
  • Xenvo Pro Lens Kit: Priced at $39.99, Xenvo Pro comes with an external LED, two lenses, and proves to be great equipment for anyone with a tight budget.

Use Light Gels

Lighting Gels are such a simple yet useful tool for any filmmaker, iPhoneographer or professional. By using light gels, you can change the temperature of a light source. Although you can change the temperature in post-processing, gels let you tweak the temperature for each specific light to set up a mood in the room. You can change the gels to make the lighting warmer or cooler depending on the scene. Different party gels are also fun to bring out a surrealistic aspect in a video. You can easily get gels online, just be sure that the gel is able to take the heat of the light sources.

Changing iPhone Video Resolution Settings

Apple allowed its users to change the video resolution settings from in the camera app in iOS 13.2. This feature is only available on iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max.

To change the video resolution settings, enter the settings app, and navigate to the camera menu. After that, select the “record video” menu and select the video and frame rate. If you tap on the left side icon you can toggle between 4K and HD(1080p). If you tap on the right side icon, it allows you to toggle the frame rate.  You can choose either 60 or 30 fps for High-Definition video, or 24, 30, or 60 fps for 4k.

This feature is a great boost for video quality if you are shooting with iPhone 11.

Correct Camera Position

Having the right camera position and pointing the phone in the right direction is essential. Sounds pretty straightforward right? But you wouldn’t believe how many people record in portrait only to find that they are are suppose to be delivering the video landscape. Before taking a shot or recording a single clip, try to look at the environment, decide where to setup and have the camera balanced both vertically and horizontally. Also remember that the iPhone 11 has a few different lenses, including an ultra-wide-angle lens, so be sure that you are using the right lens for the job.

Adjusting Manual Settings on your iPhone 11 Camera

Most beginner videographers complain about exposure in a video. If you think your videos look too bright, you can adjust the exposure which will in turn keep people’s faces from becoming completely blown out with light. Whilst the iPhone 11 has a great auto-exposure and auto-focus nothing beats setting your exposure and focus manually. Just be sure that your not in an environment where the exposure changes constantly.

To adjust the exposure, tap the part of the display where you want to focus, primarily it should be your subject. A yellow focus/exposure square should appear. After that, you can use your fingers to adjust the brightness up and down until your subject does not look too overexposed or underexposed.

Use Video Enhancer apps to improve video quality on iPhone 11

Video enhancer apps can improve the quality of video on the iPhone 11. They are useful for improving video resolution and reducing shakiness in the footage, removal of background noise, and enhancing contrast and lighting. Below we have listed some of our recommended video enhancing apps for your iPhone 11:

  • Filmic Pro
  • InShot
  • Emulsio
  • LumaFX
  • Enlight Videolap

Changing the framerate

As we have talked discussed in other articles, changing your framerate is a fantastic way to create different looks, feels and introduce slow-motion into your videos. This allows you to adjust the speed of the video according to your need. For instance, if you want to shoot slo-mo 4k videos, you can tap on the right side in the camera app on your iPhone 11. From there, change the framerate according to your needs. Moreover, iPhone 11 can go up to 240 fps at full-HD. In addition to that, iPhone 11 also supports slo-mo 120 fps in the front camera. Apple has named this feature, Slofie.

Zoom wisely

iPhone 11, like many camera phones, offers both optical and digital zoom. In optical zoom, the video quality doesn’t get destroyed. It is also called natural magnification. However, with digital zooming, the video quality gets destroyed and this kind of zoom is also called artificial zoom as it is done through software. In short, if you’re going to zoom, only use optical. The main camera of the iPhone 11 has 1x magnification and its ultrawide-angle camera has a magnification of 0.5x. Additionally, there is a 3rd telephoto camera with 2x magnification in iPhone 11 Pro. If you record video at these magnifications, it will offer you with the best video quality.

Stick with the rear facing camera, unless vlogging

iPhone 11 has a great and much improved front-facing camera. However, that being said, the front camera is still no where close to as good as the back cameras. I understand that if you are vlogging, a rear-facing camera is just awkward, so yes, in that situation stick to front-facing, but in every other instance, use the rear-facing camera please!

Trimming your video

There is nothing more awkward when watching a video than seeing the additional 3-5 seconds at the beginning and end of a video that you were not suppose to see. Trimming the beginning and end of your video clips is easy and really there should be no excuse for this. Apps like LumaFusion and iMovie make this really easy to do for any iPhone user. If you want to get fancy try stitching multiple video clips, adding music and transition to your videos. And for use lazy people, you can also trim the video directly from the camera roll. Your welcome 🙏

Use Premiere Pro to edit your video

If you’re ready to really improve the quality of your videos it might be worth learning what the pros use! Most videographers around the globe use Adobe Premiere Pro to edit their videos and for good reason. Premiere Pro is not only one of the most advanced editing platforms in the world, but also integrates with other creative applications such as photoshop, after effects, audition & more. Adobe Premiere Pro can only be used from a desktop (both PC and Mac), however, it opens up a world of possibility to enhance your video quality and do all sorts of post-processing from there. Moreover, the whole editing system is non-destructive. To edit your videos, it might be wise to purchase a course because the learning curve is steeper than other editing platforms.

Using the iPhone camera app

We can’t stress enough the ability of the iPhone 11’s camera. Combine the high-quality camera hardware with the latest camera app on their Ios and you get an unmatchable video quality result. Even though other applications may unlock hardware advantages, Apples AI technology is able to work seamlessly with the iPhone’s hardware really really well! Just beware of the digital zoom and use it….. Never.. Stick with the optical zoom and your videos will look great.

Correct orientation for your iPhone

Correctly orientating your iPhone 11 to record videos can save up a lot of your time. There are two orientations for recording the video. Portrait mode is great if you want to make a video for Instagram story or highlight or maybe post it on your Snapchat, WhatsApp, or FB story. But, what really makes a video more cinematic is a video taken in landscape mode. Combined with wide-angle & telephoto lenses on iPhone 11, you will be astonished to see the final result.

Stabilizing your shots

Stabilizing your shots can prove to be really beneficial in improving the overall quality of your video. Although Apple has vastly improved the stabilization tech in its new iPhone 11 and 11 pro cameras still, try to stabilize the video by putting the phone on a flat surface, using a tripod or adding a few extra points of contact to your iPhone The absolute best video quality will be produced by using a tripod or gimbal to stabilize your shots. We will discuss further more about stabilizing your videos to improve the video quality.

Making your shots still with a tripod

Whilst newer apple smartphones such as iPhone 11 have great built-in optical image stabilization which makes the footage look great, nothing beats the good old-fashioned tripod. Tripods for phones are usually big and become a hassle to carry around everywhere. To tackle this hassle, the best tripod that we recommend is Adonit Photogrip which fits in your trouser pockets easily and does the work in $39.99. Moreover, it has an integrated Bluetooth remote so you can start recording remotely.

Using iPhone’s software-based video stabilization

Suppose you do not have any tripod or a gimbal available with you. Apple now offers built-in software-based cinematic video stabilization in their newer phones so you do not require external equipment. The iPhone XR only featured this stabilization in 1080p videos but the new iPhone 11 features 4k cinematic video stabilization. Moreover, this software-based cinematic video stabilization is featured in both, iPhone 11’s rear and front-facing cameras.

Clean your lenses

One of the most crucial parts in improving the video quality on your iPhone that people sometimes forget is to take care of their camera lenses. No matter where you are headed, may it be a desert, beach or hiking or just another walk through the valley, always keep a lens cleaning cloth with you. Keep cleaning the lens of your iPhone after every now and then and make sure it doesn’t get clogged with dirt. Most of the time people forget to clean their lenses of the camera, literally the very first thing required for recording a video, and then complain about the quality of the footage being low. Moreover, if you are using external lenses such as Moment Anamorphic or any other ones to improve the video quality on your iPhone 11, then cleaning them is a must. This may sound like a hassle, but this all will prove beneficial in the long run improving the quality of videos on your iPhone 11.

Conclusion

Videography/cinematography is becoming mainstream nowadays. The majority of people are using software for editing their videos, may it be posting videos online on youtube, or just making a well-done Instagram video. As the videography is evolving, new cameras are hitting the market. With the release of new tech each day, mobile phones have improved their cameras a lot. Gone are the days when they were only used to send MMS. Now, with the release of new phones, especially the iPhone 11, the cameras have been vastly improved. There is very little difference left between a high-quality video taken from iPhone 11 and a DSLR. In our article, we have discussed with you various tips and techniques along with some tools to help you in recording a video on your iPhone 11 and making sure it reaches its peak performance. So now, whenever you head out and all you have with you is an iPhone 11, take all these tips and tricks into account and use them to your advantage to make your video quality looks the best.

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