How to Film with a Cellphone

Instructional Video

Please watch this video for tips and tricks on how to film your video content with a cellphone.

Short Sample –

Call Report Video

When this video project is completed, it will look something like this. Your video will be longer, totaling 5 to 7 minutes.

Guidelines & Information

Dear Awardees,

Congratulations on being awarded funding for your project through the AFRL Regional Network – Midwest! We are excited to inform you that your award deliverables will include an engaging video, in lieu of a presentation, and a brief report containing essential financial information. This document aims to provide guidance and information on the video deliverable, ensuring a seamless and straightforward process for you.

To assist you in creating an impactful video, our Regional Network has designated a multimedia specialist who will support you in storyboarding and providing guidance on the use of short videos and images. The specialist will collaborate with you to effectively showcase the value of your contribution. The resulting video will be shared through the AFRL Regional Network’s website and social media channels, maximizing the reach of your project every six months.

Here are the key details and materials we kindly request you to provide:

  1. Files Submission:

For all file submissions you will receive a link for a Dropbox folder. Please upload all files to the corresponding 4 sub folders:

  • Documents– Such as scripts/ outlines, spreadsheets, and PowerPoint files
  • Photos
  • B-Roll Footage
  • Interview Footage (A-Roll)
  1. Video Content:
  • B-roll- Example 2.1 (footage of your lab processes, including machinery in operation, close-ups of lab products, and lab personnel engaged in their work.)
  • Pictures capturing your lab work and team.
  • Charts and graphics that supplement your talking points.
  • On-camera introduction of all involved individuals with their respective names and titles (please state names clearly on video).
  • A timeline indicating when you need the video to be completed.
  • A breakdown of your lab’s process from start to finish.
  • An outline or script outlining your talking points.
  1. A-Roll- Speaking on Camera: You may be required to film yourself and/or your team discussing your research. Consider addressing the following talking points and topics:
  • Introduce your project and provide a brief overview of your research focus.
  • Share your research journey, highlighting expected and unexpected hurdles, enjoyable aspects of the lab experience, new ideas, and networking experiences.
  • Describe the accomplishments of your research, including findings, problems solved, problems discovered, and potential beneficiaries.

To facilitate the editing process and ensure a smooth filming experience, we highly recommend creating an outline or script for your talking points.

Thank you for your dedication and contribution to advancing research within our network. We look forward to receiving your engaging video and report, which will effectively communicate the value of your work to a wide audience.

Important Terminology

2.1 A-Roll:

A-Roll is any footage that contains auditory information or a speaker on camera, such as an interview. A voice-over is also considered A-Roll. Interview footage does not need to be taken all in one shot. Film a minimum of one paragraph at a time. The full script can be pieced together in the editing phase. Target length for A-Roll is 4 – 6 minutes.

2.2 B-Roll:

B-Roll is footage that visualizes and accompanies the subject matter of A-Roll. It can be close-up or wide shots of equipment, processes, staff working, or products. Clips can be anywhere from 15 seconds to numerous minutes long. Clips will be cut to size in the editing phase.

2.3 Rule of Thirds:

Imagine 4 bars going across your camera screen as seen in this image. You want the person you are filming to land on one of these lines and take up approximately 1/3 of your screen.

Tips for Filming with Your Phone

Dear Scientific and Technical Filmmakers,

As part of your video deliverable, we would like to provide information on capturing footage using your cellphone. We have compiled this guide to help you maximize the quality of your footage, utilizing only the capabilities of your phone.

1. Activate Airplane Mode: Before filming, switch your phone to airplane mode to prevent interruptions from calls and alerts. Phone calls not only disrupt video recording but can also result in the loss of any footage recorded up to the point of the incoming call.

2. Check Battery Life: Filming and storing video files consumes a significant amount of battery power. If you plan to capture , battery life above 60% should suffice. However, if you anticipate filming for over an hour, it is recommended to start with a full battery.

3. Assess Storage Space: Ensure you have sufficient storage space if you intend to film a substantial amount of content. This may be a good opportunity to delete unused apps and photographs to free up space.

4. Focus the Camera: Many phones allow you to lock the focus on a specific person or object by tapping on the screen. This ensures a clear and sharp image.

5. Keep the Camera Steady: Use both hands, a selfie stick, or a portable tripod to stabilize your phone while filming. If these accessories are unavailable, you can attach your phone to a solid object (such as a small water bottle or broom handle) using a heavy-duty rubber band or hair scrunchie. For tablets, securely hold them with both hands.

6. Phone Orientation / Framing: Hold the phone horizontally (sideways) to film in landscape mode, as it results in a more professional outcome.

When filming an interview, avoid having the subject positioned too close to a wall. Additionally, ensure the subject occupies a majority of the screen. For further clarity, refer to the “Rule of Thirds” in ex 2.3

7. Optimize Sound Quality: Position your microphone close to the sound source you want to capture.

Utilize wireless headphones, such as wireless earbuds (Air Pods), which often have excellent built-in microphones for improved sound quality.

Minimize background noise as much as possible (e.g., machinery, vacuums, fans, street noise, intercoms, etc.).

8. Lighting: Whenever feasible, film in a well-lit location.

If natural lighting is insufficient, use lamps to illuminate the subject of your video.

Avoid shadows on the face by placing a piece of white parchment paper in front of the light source to reduce harsh shadows. Alternatively, point the light at a wall or ceiling to bounce indirect light onto your subject.

9. Avoid Pinch Zooming: Instead of relying on the phone’s zoom function, it is preferable to physically move closer to the subject for close-up shots. This ensures better quality and clarity in your footage.

We hope these tips will assist you in capturing high-quality footage with your phone. Thank you for your contribution to our media project, and we look forward to the outstanding results you will achieve.