By Kristin Twiford published October 16, 2016

How to Produce Quick and Effective Video Content With Your Phone


Video is the rising star of content marketing. In our survey with the CMO Council, 79% of senior marketers say video’s role will increase in overall visual content strategies. And since we all carry powerful cameras in our pockets every day, content marketers have no excuse not to experiment with video.

79% of sr. marketers say video’s role will increase in #visualcontent strategies via CMO_Council @GetLibris Click To Tweet

Not every video can be shot on your phone, but authentic, timely video can have a high impact even if its production quality is lower. It requires little financial investment, has a short learning curve, and offers high potential return. The key here is speed: Quality phone videos are a perfect fit for sharing stories in the moment. Here are three tips for creating effective video content in a flash using your phone.

Quality phone videos are a perfect fit for sharing stories in the moment says @KristinTwiford. Click To Tweet

1. Shoot for a fast edit

If you want to turn video around quickly, take your time while you’re shooting so your edit is easier. Make sure to get enough footage but not so much that it is impossible to sort through all the clips to quickly find the best one. A few long, steady shots are better than a ton of shaky, short clips you can’t use.

TIP: Hold the camera shot longer than you think you should. Clips always feel longer when you’re shooting than they do in the edit bay.

Don’t forget to differentiate your shots. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to get caught up in the action and record everything from the same angle. Remember to think about the editing process as you’re shooting. You will want wide shots of the action as well as tight cutaways so you can avoid jump cuts (a transition between two shots that are too similar, making it look like the subject is jumping from one position to another).

Check out how a tight cutaway allows me to move between two similar wide shots in this sequence:

2. Frame your interviews to tell the story

Interviews can help you create a narrative for your story. If you have a well-framed interview shot, you won’t have to cover the interviewer’s words with B-roll in the video. (B-roll is secondary footage that’s shown when you cut away from your main shot — your A-roll. In this case, your A-roll is the interview subject. In a news clip, B-roll allows the reporter or interview subject to narrate the story as a voiceover, while the B-roll showing the action or the environment is played. B-roll makes your story visually interesting and is key to holding your viewers’ attention.)

Hold your phone at the eye level of your subject. Position the subject on one side of the frame and ask the person to look at you.

To create this shot, I’m holding the camera in my right hand and standing to the left of the camera. My subject is looking across the frame to have eye contact with me.


Check out the full video shot on phone that includes this interview with Aaron Noffsinger on the Kellogg’s #GetsMeStarted activation.

Ask open-ended questions rather than yes-no questions. Questions that start with “Tell me about …” or “Why …” elicit more detailed answers. They allow the interviewee to describe the story on camera. As you’re shooting, listen for soundbites and stop after you have two or three good ones. This will help you edit faster because you won’t have to sift through a long interview.

3. Streamline your post-production workflow

Your post-production workflow should be as seamless and fast as possible so you can publish your content while it’s still relevant. When I shoot video on my phone, I send clips directly to my team’s visual media library so it’s archived and accessible for everybody to use.

Then, I download the clips from the library to my computer and edit with Adobe Premiere. This workflow is the key to a fast edit — I can hit upload as soon as I finish shooting and my clips are ready to edit by the time I get back to my desk.

I like Premiere because it has a user-friendly interface and gives you more control over your content. If you are new to video editing, you can also use apps like iMovie or Magisto.


The iPhone-shot video for Kellogg’s as it appears in the editing stage using Adobe Premier. The 2-minute, 30-second video was edited and published in one day.

TIP: If you are editing video for your blog, edit the clips into a one- or two-minute story. Standard news packages run about one minute and 15 seconds. Write complementary copy to share context or insights you didn’t capture on video. Share short clips on social media with the blog link to drive traffic to your post.


Remember, you’re not editing a documentary or a video for your website’s homepage. Video shot on your phone is intended to be short, compelling, and published quickly. If you plan properly, shoot efficiently, and edit properly, you will be able to produce content that’s more timely and be a valuable contributor to the growth of video in marketing.

How do you use your phone to shoot video content?

Need more ideas on how to create killer video content? Download our latest collection of amazing brand examples: Get Inspired: 75 (More) Content Marketing Examples

Cover image by Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo

Author: Kristin Twiford

Kristin Twiford is the Content Marketing Manager for Libris by PhotoShelter, where she covers visual storytelling trends and best practices. She uses her background in television production, daily news and communications to produce written and video content for social media, marketing and sales. Follow her on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

Other posts by Kristin Twiford

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  • Roger C. Parker

    Very valuable info. I think you were writing specifically for me. Thanks you.

    • Kristin Twiford

      So glad you enjoyed it, Roger! Good luck with your videos – be sure to tweet them at me!

  • Mark DSouza

    Id like to add that you want to take care of audio when you do a video on your phone. Bad audio could really bring down the overall user experience try and use a handsfree, a quiet place with minimal echo and ambiant noise or just have the camera as close as possible to the talent without distorting the face.

    • Kristin Twiford

      Great point, Mark! Thanks! You can also find inexpensive lavalier mics to use with your phone. They’re compact and easy to carry when you’re on the go, and they’re affordable even if you’re working with a tight budget.

      • Mark DSouza

        Thanks for your reply Kristin. I however wouldnt go for a lapel mic with a phone since the handsfree would be more portable. A lapel mic woukd either require you to wire up the talent, youd also need external or battery bower sonce your phone wouldnt provide phantom power to the mic. And if youre going to carry audio equipment and a sound engineer might as well carry a video camera with xlr inputs and a boom mic right. In my opinion a handsfree would do the job much better.

        • Richard Perry

          Agreed. I’ve found the iRig handheld works quite well with the iPhone. Do a comparison with the on-board mic and you’ll find it pretty impressive. I’d prefer the guest to hold it (teach the person how to avoid hand noise) vs putting a lavaliere on.

    • acgunn

      Totally agree Mark, good call. While the cameras on phones are improving rapidly, the in-phone mic has not kept up. I imagine a time that producers will realise that video is on the increase and the accompanying sound must be of high quality

      • Richard Perry

        I’ve found the iRig handheld works quite well with the iPhone. Do a comparison with the on-board mic and you’ll find it pretty impressive. I’d prefer the guest to hold it (teach the person how to avoid hand noise) vs putting a lavaliere on.

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