Tips to Shoot High Quality Interview with Smartphone

5 Tips to Shoot High Quality Interview with Smartphone for Beginners

Mobile journalism has become more and more popular in these days. Shooting short interviews with smartphone is more convenient.

It’s portable, small, and super light. You can easily pack it in your backpack with some accessories like tripod, clip-microphone or external light.

But, how can we produce a high quality interview just with this simple device?

Below are 5 tips that you can try:

1. Choose The Right Space:

A good space or location is very important in deciding the quality of the interview. You will only succeed if your surrounding place meets enough 3 following standards: limited noise, enough light and attracting background.

First of all, nobody wants to watch an interview with too much noise beside the talk of the main characters. It’s hard to hear, then hard to understand the main content. You should make sure to find a place where there aren’t many people around and, of course, no building work is being carried out.

Secondly, a space with enough light would be the best. If you must shoot the interview in a room, choose a seat beside the window. However, you need to be aware of the sun changing position outside the window since it’s gonna change the direction of the light.

One more thing to remember is that you had better avoid your subject to have their back to the window because their face will look dark and the window behind them will just be a big white block.

If you are not going to produce an outdoor interview, then preparing an attractive backgound is a necessary step. Who’s gonna watch your video if the backgound behind your subject is a mess? Try to arrange everything before the interview and also be careful of awkwardly placed objects!

2. Manually Adjust The Functions Of Your Phone Camera:

Normally, we are familiar with the auto mode of smartphone’s camera. Maybe we are just too lazy to customise everything ourselves.

However, if you want to increase the quality of your video, you should adjust all the features by your hands.

For example, you can turn on Manual mode to change the settings of the following features:

  • Shutter speed: is the length of time that a frame is recorded. The slower the speed is, the more light your camera will record, then the faster your video will be broadcasted, and vice versa.
  • ISO: is the sensitivity of your camera to the available light. Remember these formulas:

Lower ISO number = More light required = You will have to use lower shutter speed  = Less grains

Higher ISO number = Less light required = You will have to use faster shutter speed = More grains

  • Metering: helps to measure the brightness in a particular area of the frame.
  • Exposure Compensation: allows you to alter the exposure reading that your camera evaluates based on the metering mode that you select.
  • Auto-focus: lets you choose the focusing mode of the lens
  • White Balance: supports your video to get an accurate colors.

3. Use External Microphones:

As we all know, the most important factor to an interview video is the sound. Since viewers are going to watch a talk between 2 or more people, good audio is definitely essential.

Technically, every smartphone is designed with an in-built mic. If you are using a modern smartphone, perhaps it also has a good-quality in-built mic.

However, none of them are suitable for interviews. You will never get great sound unless the phone is really close to the subject’s mouth. Therefore, external microphone is the best solution.

There are 2 popular types of microphones: lavalier mics and shotgun mics.

Lavalier mics is also known as clip-on mics. They are small portable microphones that can be hidden behind your clothes.

External Microphones

Lavalier mics is chosen by lots of people for its convenience and also for the ability to record the sound equally well from every direction. A good lavalier mic for smartphone has about $20 – $50

On the other hand, shotgun mics is also a good choice. They are designed with uni-directional condensor that allows them to record the sound well from only one direction.

shotgun mics


You may think it is not as convenient as lav mics, but to some aspect, it can produce better audio than the latter.

You can purchase any of the above microphones from only $15-$20. Sounds reasonable for a high quality interview right?

4. Invest in extra lights:

If you have to shoot an interview in a dark room, you should prepare external lights, otherwise your video will end up with a poor quality image.

It’s absolutely very difficult to carry a full lighting kit when you are recording with a mobile phone. Therefore, the best option here is choosing some portable lightings.

choose portable lighting

There is a wide range of LED light brands for you to choose on the market. These lights usually have a cold shoe adaptor so you can mount them above your Smartphone. This is a good solution when you need to light a subject quickly.

The price for these products is also various. You can decide based on your budget. Anyway, whatever you buy, make sure it has a cold shoe mount or adaptor so you can slide the light on to a rig. That way it will be put nicely near your Smartphone during the interview record.

5. Put your smartphone on a tripod:

You can’t hold your smartphone for hours by your hands to shoot interviews. Your arms will be tired, and your video will be shaky. In this case, using a tripod is a perfect option.

Tripod is a three-legged stand for supporting a camera or other apparatus. It is portable, and can help to stablilize your phone’s camera, preventing it from being vibrated. You won’t need to worry about bad-quality image caused by accidental movement of the camera.

The price for this useful tool is only $15-$20, not too expensive compared to the value it can produce for your video. You should consider purchasing one if you want your videos to be liked and watched by more viewers.

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