Stephanie Hallett
May 12, 2017 2:27 pm

Let’s face it: home movie footage has never been top quality. Those clips of you opening your Christmas gifts circa 1993? They were a shaky, blurry, out-of-focus mess. (An adorable mess, but a mess nonetheless.) And the quality of today’s iPhone videos isn’t that much better — in fact, we sometimes look at our Snapchats and wonder how technology has come so far, and yet has hardly changed at all.

Fear not, though, friends. If you want to make your iPhone videos look like you graduated from the New York Film Academy (or at least look like you took a weekend-long filmmaking course) we’re here to help. Below, find five tips for improving the quality of your iPhone vids.

1Don’t use the iPhone’s pinch-to-zoom function.

We know pinch-to-zoom is a fun and easy way to get closer to your subject, but to preserve the quality of your iPhone videos, just move your camera closer. Zooming in causes pixelation, and degrades the quality of your picture.

2Lock the focus and exposure on your Camera app.

The auto focus on iPhone is pretty effective for still photos, but it can create unnecessary blur when you’re shooting video. If you’re shooting a single subject, set the shot and then follow these instructions to lock the focus and exposure on your camera.

3Invest in a tripod.

An unstable phone is sure to create shaky imagery, so investing in a tripod (this one’s under $20 and comes with a bluetooth remote) is worth the price tag if you plan to shoot video on the regular. If you have to shoot freehand, try to find someplace to rest your elbows, or squeeze your elbows close to your body for more stability. Your neck can also act as a stabilizer, so try propping your phone on your chin to shoot video (we swear it works!).

4Take advantage of natural light as much as possible.

Your iPhone videos will looked profesh AF if they’re properly lit, so take advantage of any natural light source you can find. If it’s nighttime, try adding lights — even a flashlight or the light from someone else’s smartphone — to your shot to brighten it.

5Edit your videos.

Apple’s iMovie software is free, and it’s pretty intuitive to use. Cut, stitch, and edit your way to iPhone videos that not only look better, but are more fun to watch.