How to make social media videos with your smartphone

Think you need access to a film studio to make professional-looking videos for social media? Think again. Making slick, eye-catching social media videos is possible with just a smartphone: no fancy kit or expensive editing software required.

Let’s split this into three stages: pre-production, production and post-production.

1. Pre-production

This is where you plan out your video, including writing your script (if needed) and storyboarding the shots you want to take. If you’re new to creating social media videos, keep it simple. Many successful social media videos comprise a single scene with just one or two characters. It might even just be a short video of you announcing something. 

The old adage “start with the end in mind” applies here. What is the overall message or purpose of the video? Make sure everything you plan to shoot supports this goal. 

2. Production

This is the part where you shoot your video. You have two options for shooting: landscape or portrait mode. Landscape mode will likely make your life easiest: hold your smartphone horizontally for a video that will fill the screens of most viewing platforms, but if you know the goal is videos for Instagram Reels or TikTok, then portrait is the way forward.  To ensure your footage is steady, consider a tripod or a gimbal.

The next big rule of shooting video is good lighting. Natural light is best, so try to choose a room with plenty of windows, or better yet, head outdoors. If you do need extra lighting, LED ring lights can help illuminate your face, but experiment with positioning, especially if you’re wearing glasses (to avoid the obvious reflections). 

Almost as important as light is sound. Pay attention to the background noise in your location, and move filming to somewhere quieter if it’s distracting. You might even consider an external microphone which can be purchased for most smartphones.

3. Post-production

You don’t need expensive editing software to elevate your footage. Instead, check out user-friendly editing apps like iMovie, CapCut, Adobe Premiere Rush, or InShot to trim footage, add transitions and text overlays, and more. No need to go crazy on the special effects, but one or two flourishes can help lift your video.

If you want to add a soundtrack, you can find royalty-free music on platforms like YouTube Audio Library or Epidemic Sound. If you’re willing to quote the source, we’ve always loved for quirky music clips suitable for most videos.

Remember to add captions so that people who can’t hear the audio can still follow your video. If you’re uploading your videos to YouTube, you can add captions automatically or you can add them later (for free) using something as simple as Adobe Express..

And one final tip …

Ask for what you want! Just as you might include a call to action at the end of a written piece, take the opportunity at the end of your video to ask your viewers to comment, like and share your video.

Happy filming!


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