Insights Livestock

9 tips for recording video on your phone


Video is the most powerful way to reach new people online with your farm story, and it can be done easily with a smartphone. If the content is good, the video production quality doesn’t matter. In fact, it makes it seem more authentic. It’s important to remember that the best videos are entertaining, relevant, and useful.

If you decide to use video of your farm, here are some tips I recommend:

1. Always shoot horizontally

If you shoot vertically, it’s very difficult to edit in another movie app. And if you want to add photos later, it will be practically impossible to do.

2. Use a tripod or put your phone on something stable

Filming while holding the phone in your hand is asking for stability problems. This could distract the viewer from seeing and hearing your message.

3. Lighting is important

Try to record in a lighted area that is not in direct sunlight (so you aren’t squinting into the light).

4. Frame yourself to the left or right

Don’t center yourself in the middle of the video. It makes it harder to add text at the bottom of the video and the viewer’s eye could be distracted by the symmetry of the shot.

5. Get close to the phone for audio

Most phone microphones have difficulty picking up your voice if you are too far away — try to stay within five feet if the surrounding area isn’t too loud.

6. Depth in the background

Don’t shoot yourself or anyone else against a wall or shadowed background. Try to get some depth behind you to make the shot interesting. For instance, put a tractor behind you or kneel down by the calf hutches.

7. B-roll helps the viewer

If you can get B-roll (extra footage) or photos and edit them into the video, there is a greater chance the viewer will remain more engaged. Next time you catch the news, watch how many times the segment cuts to a person on the scene or includes B-roll to help keep your attention.

8. Do no use the zoom!

Most phones do not have a good zoom lens, and video looks worse in zoom mode. If you aren’t close enough, move closer.

9. Practice, practice, practice! 

You can always delete what you’ve done and try again.

My two favorite apps to edit video are Video Show and iMovie. Both are easy to use and are free.

For an example of a great video shot on a phone, check out what Jess Peters of Mackinson Dairy Farm has done. If you need help making videos, reach out to me at or ask me how to join the checkoff’s Dairy Hub, where I include how-to training on making videos.

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