Often videos shot with a smartphone are shaky—smartphones are designed in the first place for phoning and not for shooting video.
Fortunately, for this very reason, many smartphone cameras have optical stabilization and that helps a lot to reduce shaky videos. No one likes to watch shaky videos.
In this post, I will look at ways of avoiding shaky videos.
The advantage of a smartphone is that if you are confronted with an interesting event, you can whip out your phone and capture the event on video. How to avoid shaky video? The idea is not to move your smartphone while shooting video.
Make your settings, frame the shot, and then start the video. Hold your smartphone with both hands and elbows tucked against your body.
There will be still be some shakiness at the start and end of the clip. That is OK as this will be cut out during editing.
Now walk/move to the next position where you want to shoot, get settled and start process again.
Shooting handheld does not work that well for me. As a senior, my hands are shaky—doctors politely refer to it as tremors. So, I prefer to use a tripod whenever possible.
Using a tripod is the best way of getting steady video. The downside is that it is something extra to carry and it takes time to set up.
Traditionally camcorders are attached to the tripods quick release plate with a ¼ inch screw fitting. But smartphones don’t come with a ¼ inch hole so one needs some kind of adaptor. There are many on the market and vary in quality.
Typically, one end screws onto the tripod’s quick release plate, and then you have some kind of spring-loaded clamp to clip your smartphone into. They come in different sizes depending on the size of your phone.
There are two things to watch out for. In many cases the spring mechanism is not very secure, and it is possible for your expensive smartphone to fall out!
The other problem is that the adaptor can interfere with the smartphone’s buttons. For example, many Lumia phones have three buttons with little space between them.
I have found the Glif adaptor to be narrow enough to fit between the buttons of my phones. It does not have a spring so it is more secure.
In many cases a mini tripod will do the job nicely—and they are easy to carry along. Because they are small you need to place them on table, a rock, a stack of books to get the height you need.
The Gorillapod is very popular because it is very adjustable.
My favorite is the Manfrotto Pixi. It is very sturdy and works well if you have to shoot handheld too.
The Travel Tripod
Professional tripods are deliberately sturdy so that they can accommodate heavy camcorder with huge lenses. This would be overkill when used with a little smartphone—there is nothing wrong with using it if you already have one, of course.
However, don’t waste your money by buying a cheap tripod! You will certainly be disappointed.
My recommendation is to buy a travel tripod like the Manfrotto Befree with a video head. This tripod folds up really small for easy carrying, yet will allow to get steady video.
Making Good Videos with a Windows Phone