Follow the rule of thirds. Watch this –
Don’t force viewers to look in the centre, it’s not the news. Consider your surroundings, what/who else is in the frame. If you have other things in the background, try and place them carefully. You don’t want a plant or tree or lamp post coming out of someones head etc. If you are in doubt, ﬁnd a wall. The main point to consider when framing is – what will the viewer think if other things are in the frame? You don’t want to suggest anything unintentionally. It will be best to get the subject to look straight to camera if you can, especially if you ask all the questions at the start. If there are two of you, one on camera and one asking the questions, both stay behind the camera, the one asking questions slightly to one side, out of shot. This way if they do look away from the camera, they won’t look far. We don’t want wondering eyes.!
Try to avoid shooting into the sun. This will overexpose your video. Also you don’t want strong shadows on either side so take a few seconds to position your subject, then look at the iPhone screen to see what the camera in seeing. The ideal would be your light source facing your subject nearly straight on, with the sun not too low and not too high in the sky. If you are indoors in the daytime, try and get near a window. If it is night time, don’t ﬁlm underneath down lights, you’ll create awful panda eyes and your subject will hate you.
The iPhone has a single point focus and exposure system, which sounds complicated, but it makes life easy. I won’t go into the details but the main thing to remember is to hold down your ﬁnger (on your subject within the frame) until the square ﬂashes. A small sign saying AE/AF lock will appear. (On the iPhone 5s you only get the ﬂashing square) This mean if you move around when ﬁlming, the exposure and focus will remain set to the original point that you set. i.e – your subject. Try not to have two people in the frame but if you have to, make sure they equally distant from the camera otherwise one subject will be out of focus.
There isn’t a great deal you can do to control the sound within the iPhone so you have to make your adjustments within your environment. The microphone in the iPhone is pretty good at picking up everything. It is non directional so if you are in a busy room, the iPhone will pick up a lot of background noise. Also if you are outside near running water or a road it is likely that the subjects voice is going to be lost amongst the noise. Try and ﬁnd a quiet spot.
What do you want to know? Why? Think of your questions carefully, leave the questions open. If they want to carry on talking, let them go for it. It’s a good idea to ask them at the end if there is anything they would like to add. This could lead to some great content. It’s easy to tell if someone is comfortable or uncomfortable in front of the camera, if they are comfortable, keep going, it’s better to have too much than too little.
Memorise your questions, or have a small notepad. Be conﬁdent with your questions and be interested in what they are saying.
And of course – it goes without saying – SHOOT LANDSCAPE, NOT PORTRAIT! Vertical video syndrome is dangerous.