How to set up to film a video on your phone


Over the last few years, video has become a popular and engaging way to communicate with our online communities.  

On average, 78 percent of us watch online videos every week (Hub Spot), and for good reason, as they are personal, memorable and engaging. As churches, including video in our online content, is a sensible move if we want to grow our online communities and reach more people with a message of faith and hope. 

When it comes to how you create a video – what do you need to know? What’s the correct way to set them up? Where should you put the light source? What do you need to know about sound? Read on to find out what you need to know to set up and record your video straight to your smartphone.

All of this information can be applied when broadcasting on Facebook Live or doing a Live Story on Instagram. Read our blog on going live here.

Step one: Find the light source 

  • Find a quiet place with good natural light. 

  • Place your subject, standing or sitting, in front of a nice and clean background. Take your time to move and reposition the items to create your set.  

  • The light source should be at a two or ten o’clock position of your subject.

If this is not possible, keeping the light source in front of the subject is always better than behind it! 

Step two: Get your equipment ready 

  • Install the phone on a tripod for a steady shot. You might need a specific frame to hold your phone. 

Here below are some samples of gear you could use: 

For the best sound quality, use an external microphone and place it as close as possible to your subject.

You can use a shotgun or lapel microphone. Here are some examples:  

If you don’t have an external microphone, choose somewhere quiet to film, to get the best possible results. 

Step three: Frame your subject 

If your film will be posted on YouTube, Twitter or shown on a screen in church, record in landscape orientation 16:9 (so place your phone horizontally),  

If the purpose of the video is for Instagram or Facebook stories, or the Facebook and Instagram newsfeeds portrait mode is more appropriate

  • Film in HD, if your phone allows it, as many do nowadays. 

  • Make sure your subject is in focus, not the background or any other element in the frame. 

  • If you want to just interview someone, the interviewer should stand or sit right next to the camera and the interviewee should look at them, towards the side of the lens. Also keep the interviewee slightly to the side of the frame, like in the picture below. They should not look into the camera lenses for an interview.

  • But if you want the interviewee to leave a message to the audience, they should look directly into the camera, to engage with the audience. So, keep them in the centre of the frame. 

Step four: Get ready to film 

  • When you brief your interviewee, tell the subject to always start answering by rephrasing your question as a statement.

For example: “What is your favourite food?” 

The proper answer would be “My favourite food is pasta.” They should not just answer: “Pasta.” It helps to give a bit of context to the sentence. 

  • Press the record button and run a test asking your interviewee to talk into the camera. Listen back to the audio through some earphones, in case something went wrong.  

  • If you are happy with the framing and sound, start your recording! Once in a while check if the phone is still recording too. 

These are a few tips on how to set up for an interview. And, do not forget, the best tip is… practice!  


How are you using video for your online community? We’d love to hear from you, tweet us at @churchofengland and tag us in your videos on InstagramFacebook or Twitter

Mariano Gobbi
Content Producer 


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