Everything You Need to Know About Mobile Video Recording

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Your mobile device is capable of so many things, sometimes it’s hard to keep track of the features that mobile apps offer. You can surf the web, check your bank statement, or place an order for take-out right from your fingertips. So let’s say you want to record a video of your mobile device in order to create a tutorial or provide clear instructions for a friend or a co-worker. Thanks to some tips and tricks from TechSmith, mobile video recording has never been easier. Let’s take a look!

The Basics

Before hitting the record button, it’s important to consider a few key factors that can have a lasting effect on the quality of your video.

Audio

Built in microphones on mobile devices are very limited. If you can, try and get as close as possible to the source you are shooting. And make sure to listen for noises around you as well. Make sure there are no cars driving by or buzzing from lights – anything that can interfere with the audio signal.

Lighting

For the most part, cameras on mobile devices work better with as much light as possible. So if you can, avoid dark areas. And also, try to avoid getting the sun, bright lights, or windows pointing directly into the shot. This can dramatically over or underexpose your subject.

Shot Composition

On mobile devices, zooming is very limited. So if you can, physically move the camera forward, back or side to side, to fill up your frame. And try to stabilize the shot best you can. No one likes shaky footage. A good tip is too lean up against something. If you have a tripod or flat surface nearby, that will work great as well.

Apps

Here at TechSmith, here are a few apps that are used for shooting and sharing video:

For more visual demonstration, watch the video below!

Recording a Mobile Device Using a Camera

“Blasphemy!” cried the townspeople as they descended on TechSmith headquarters, pitchforks in hand. “Why would you use a camera to record a mobile device at a screen recording company!?”

Well, consider this method a tool in a toolbox. It can be jarring for viewers to cut from a “real world” camera video with actors right into a screen video. Using this technique eases the transition from your live video to your screen recording. Or Perhaps you’re using an accessory like a new tablet pen that you’d like to review? Maybe your fingernails are on fleek and you want to show off that fresh new manicure. Whatever the case, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, and we here at TechSmith have got your back with some tips on how to make your mobile device look good through a lens. Check out the video below as it takes you through the following tips:

  • Use a solid surface to place your mobile device on
  • Shooting directly down will capture everything on your screen
  • Avoid pointing lights directly at the device to prevent a glare
  • Take note of the focus – try using manual focus and exposure so your camera doesn’t adjust in the middle of the video

Get Mobile Video Files Off Your Device

So you’ve recorded your mobile device, but you want to bring it onto your desktop for editing, saving, or sharing. Here are some tips on the different options available for getting your video off your mobile device and onto your computer:

The simplest option is plugging your phone into you computer with your USB charger. Or if you have an android device, take out your memory card and use a card reader that is hooked up to your computer. Once connected, you can click and drag your video files right into any folder you desire.

But, let’s say you don’t have a card reader or USB cord available. The next solution is wireless or “cloud” sharing options.

But what is the cloud exactly? The cloud, or cloud computing, basically means software that is operated by internet enabled devices. Instead of storing your files on your mobile device or computer, the files are stored on a server somewhere out there in the world. So for these options to work, you will need to have an active internet connection. Here are a few options:

  • Dropbox works on all devices and you are given 2GBs for free to get started with options to upgrade if needed. Dropbox is available for all major mobile offerings.
  • Google Drive gives you 15GB for free to get started and it is compatible on all mobile devices as well
  • Apple’s iCloud offers 5GB of storage for free to get started and works basically the same as the other two. And believe it or not, iCloud is available for Windows users too.
  • Email services put a cap on file size, usually around 25MB per email, so this option can be limited, but still works if you are in a bind.

If you don’t have a cord or you don’t want to send your videos through the cloud because of privacy reasons, another option would be a product that we offer here at TechSmith, which is called TechSmith Fuse. It is a free companion app for a smartphone or tablet that works together with Snagit.

The way it works is that it connects your mobile device to your desktop computer through a WiFi connection. So as long as your devices are on the same WiFi signal, all you need to do is connect your device via a QR code and BAM! Now you can wirelessly send media safely over the network. No cloud storage involved. The app makes it easy to access video on your computer that you’ve captured on your device. You can download it in either the App Store or the Google Play Store.

How to Go From Smartphone Video to Animated GIF

Now that you have your mobile video recording off your device and onto your desktop, you now have the option to turn that video into a GIF! In June of 1987, the animated GIF was born. While the file format is just slightly older than the majority of millennials, it is widely used by people of all ages. The use of the GIF has peaked in popularity in recent years…the reason? Brands are seeking better social-media engagement.

Culture is better communicated and conveyed through visual media like video, which evokes emotion in audiences, and is more effective than static images or text alone. The GIF is a quick, digestible, auto-playing snippet of video, whose beauty is in its simplicity.

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Source: https://giphy.com/gifs/FWNJ8Hdsk3YzK

Creating a GIF is easier than you think. There are several options for tools that will help you make one easily from existing images or videos, either saved locally on your computer, in the cloud, on a flash drive, or from the internet.

Below, you’ll learn how to create a GIF from video you’ve captured on your Smartphone or tablet in four easy steps using TechSmith’s Snagit + mobile app Fuse.

If you would like to follow along with the steps outlined and don’t yet have Snagit installed on your computer, you can download a fully-functioning free trial here.

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Record/Select the video

Open TechSmith Fuse on your device, and either record a new video by choosing Video, or select an existing video to use by choosing Library > Gallery.

If you are creating a new video, be mindful of whether you prefer portrait or landscape orientation. It may also be a good idea to review the footage to make sure you’re satisfied with your brief video before moving on.

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Step 2: Send the video to Snagit

Now that you’ve selected the video you’d like to use from within Fuse, you’ll want to open Snagit on your desktop and select the Connect Mobile Device option.

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A QR Code will pop up. Select Share from within the Fuse app and then scan the code using the box that appears on your device’s screen. The media will be sent into the Snagit editor.

techsmith-fuse-interface-showing-share-option-and-qr-code-used-to-connect

*Sidenote: This works for still images too! You won’t use the still images to create GIFs, but you you can use them to make memes! Sending your still images into Snagit is also a good way to gain quick access to the picture you took of a trade show booth that caught your attention, or the whiteboard full of notes that you captured with your phone that needs to be shared with your team.

Step 3: Select the part of the video you’d like to convert

From within Snagit, you can play back the video. You now have two options.

You can remove the unwanted sections of your video, and then click to create the GIF with all of the remaining content.

Your other option would be to select the portion of the video you’d like to convert and then click the GIF button.

The first option is found to be easier, but it’s really a matter of your personal preference.

snagit-interface-showing-how-to-select-portion-of-video-to-trim-or-use-for-gif

Step 4: Celebrate and share your glorious achievement!

Now that you have successfully created your GIF, get sharing! Post it publicly to your company website, distribute it via email, or share it on social media.

Whether you’ve created the GIF to illustrate steps in a process, provide mini-demos, or maybe just to impress your friends, the use case possibilities are endless. Let your creative juices flow!

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Creating a GIF is easy! If you’d like to view a quick recap, check out this video tutorial.

Are you already creating GIF’s from your mobile video content? I’d love to hear how, and what you’re using them for. Share your GIF, and/or your thoughts, in the comments below!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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Daniel Foster

Daniel Foster is currently strategy lead for Snagit, helping define the future direction for the product. He has been doing tech marketing, communication, and blogging since 2002 and has worked on product since 2015. Tweet him up @fosteronomo or grab some time on his calendar to chat.

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