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How to make a mobile phone movie look better

Tips from the creative software publishing company, Serif

FILMING our adventures and re-watching them afterwards is one way to re-live them.

These days we can all get pretty good video results even from using a mobile phone. But the quality is almost never as good as a stand-alone camcorder.

Often when we’re out doing adventure activities, we only have access to a mobile to grab some footage of something exciting that folds out in front of us with no time to prepare.

Even so, there are ways to make a mobile phone movie look better with some clever editing and Simon Monahan from the creative software publishing company, Serif, has put together these five tips to keep in mind.

Don’t edit on your phone

“Your phone might have a video editing app but it won’t be as good as most of the video editing software available to PC users. Unedited footage might be fine if you absolutely have to get your video online ASAP, but most of the time that probably won’t be necessary. Take the time to download your footage to a PC and use good video editing software. Look for features that can remove camera shake and ‘noise’, two common problems with mobile/cell phone footage.”

Aim for big elements

“If your movie will be viewed on a small screen, bear in mind that small fonts and details will be hard to make out. When recording, get as close as you can or zoom in so whatever you are filming is easy to see on the screen. In your editing software, crop your movies to remove uninteresting objects and background space as much as you can, and make sure that any text you use is legible so it’s easy for viewers to see the action.”

Edit the sound too

“You will rarely, if ever, get amazing sound quality when you shoot a movie with your phone. This can make footage less enjoyable to watch. One of the easiest ways to make your video better is to enhance the sound. It’s not just a case of increasing or decreasing the volume, you should try to cut out as much ‘noise’ as possible to make the sound clearer. Alternatively, remove the original recorded sound and add a music soundtrack – just make sure you aren’t infringing on anyone’s copyright if you are sharing the video online.”

Keep the file size small

“Some people struggle to keep all on their music, video and picture files on their phones; those types of files can take up a lot a space. Whether you fall into this category or not, it is good practice to try and minimise a video’s file size without losing too much quality. Experiment with different file types and settings to find the combination that works for you.”

“You don’t need any fancy equipment and you don’t even need a top-of-the-range PC either, especially if you are editing movie files from your phone because the file size will be relatively small.”

Serif is the company behind the software MoviePlus X5, which is getting the thumbs up from movie makers as being one of the easiest to use.

Watch a video of how the software works here

About the author: Dan Tye

Dan came up with the idea for Adventure 52 after realising there wasn't a single publication focusing on adventure. He has been a pilot in the RAF, a ski instructor and has spent the past 12 years as journalist for motorcycling, flying and adventure magazines.

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