Crash landing into the world of social media videography? Buckle up, buttercup. Here’s Drizzle Digital’s no-nonsense, beginner’s guide to video for social. Remember, vertical is king in the land of social scrolling, so flip that phone and let’s get to it.

Orientation Matters: Most video used on social is vertical, so always shoot in vertical format with your phone up and down (9:16). This fills the entire screen on mobile devices, making your content more engaging. Unless you’re shooting longer-form video for Youtube, vertical is your best bet.

Stable Shots: Stability is key. Use both hands to hold your phone. This reduces shakiness and improves the overall quality of your video. If you have a tripod or a steady cam, even better. There are some affordable ones specifically for social on the market.

Shooting Pans: For smooth panning shots, move your body, not just your arms, and keep the movement steady and slow. Start and end your pan with a few seconds of stillness for a professional look. Horizontal pan, left to right or right to left, can give us a nice view of a scene with a lot of people or things going on.

Avoid Digital Zoom: Avoid using the zoom, as it can degrade video quality. Instead, move closer to the subject if a closer shot is needed.

Short and Sweet: We can do a lot with multiple short clips – less than 10 seconds. Multiple short clips from different angles (pans, static shots, etc) are ideal for creating a mashup of the event.

Time-Lapse Videos: If you’re feeling adventurous, try a time-lapse to show a scene or activity over time. Most smartphones have a built-in time-lapse feature. Set up your phone in a stable position, frame your shot, and let it record for a while. Time-lapses are great for showing the bustle of a crowded event or the setup process.

Don’t Overthink the Audio: For the purposes of social, you will likely overlay music on your video or use a voiceover. Clear audio is ideal in case we need it to make a point, but probably not required.

Composition Tips: Follow the rule of thirds – imagine your screen is divided into nine equal segments by two vertical and two horizontal lines. Place your subject along these lines or at their intersections for a more aesthetically pleasing shot. If you’re interviewing someone, it helps to place them a bit off center and have them speak to you just off to the side of the camera. One exception: if someone is speaking directly to the camera, you likely want to center them in the frame.

Leave Room to Breathe (and for Graphics Later): It helps if you leave space around your subject for adding in graphics or text later. The safe area for Instagram and TikTok reels can get tight, so leave some space around the edges of your subject — particularly on the right and bottom.

Good Lighting: Natural light is your best friend. If indoors, shoot near a window. For outdoor shoots, the golden hours (shortly after sunrise or before sunset) provide soft, flattering light.

Backgrounds: Be mindful of what’s behind your subject, particularly in the context of big busy conferences with advertising that you might not want to feature. Look for simple, uncluttered backgrounds or ones that add context to the event. 

Engaging with the Camera: Encourage those being filmed to interact with the camera naturally. Eye contact and a genuine demeanor can make videos more relatable and engaging.

So there you have it! Armed with these tips and your trusty smartphone, you’re now ready to conquer the social media world, one well-framed, perfectly lit, vertical video at a time. Go forth and film like nobody’s watching (even though they totally will be).