The first summer shooting challenge is here for Smartphone Video Newsletter subscribers!

Any creative process takes practice but it’s sometimes hard to know what to create. So let me give you some ideas and technical tips over the summer months to get your creative juices flowing.

Constructive feedback can really help as well. If you share your video through the WeTransfer link below, I’ll give you some pointers. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Even just 3 or 4 clips edited together is worth getting some feedback on.


Your privacy is important to us so here are some important points about sharing your video:

  • The transfer is private and once I’ve given feedback on your video I will delete my copy.
  • If you are filming inside your house make sure to hide anything private (documents, photographs, etc.) that you wouldn’t want someone else to see. This is a good habit to get into for any filming you do when. If you’re shooting in your office you should always do a check for sensitive information that could be on display.
  • You can simply choose one room in your house and practise your camera moves there rather than taking me round your whole house!
  • Alternative Task: you can use the same camera settings and movements to shoot a completely different subject. For example, film nature or the buildings you pass when you’re on your next walk.

The challenge: a tour of your house

Last week I ran a webinar for an Estate Agency looking to create video tours of their properties on their smartphones.

It’s a vital new skill for them at this time.

Video provides a more immersive and dynamic viewing experience than simple photos can. And who knows how long all our businesses will be forced to operate, in some capacity at least, from a distance.

While most of us are still on lockdown the one place you can practice making a video is your own home! So why not follow these tips and make a video tour of your own house?

No matter what your business, you’ll learn vital video skills by following the process. What’s more, I’m sure you’ll have fun!

My video

My house is a bit of a mess and the only room I had time to make presentable was the kitchen. So this is a limited tour! However, it gives you an idea of the camera movements you can incorporate.

I shot and edited this on an iPhone 10 in about half an hour. For some shots I used a Hama wide angle lens but you can see the edges of it in some shots. You have to be really careful fitting these lenses. If you spend more money on a brand like Olloclip you’ll find a lens that fits more snugly on your exact model of phone.

We’ve collated all our recommended smartphone video equipment on our Comsteria Store page. Any kit mentioned in this post can be found in our store.

Camera settings

Frame Rate: 60 frames per second. Your phone will shoot at 30 fps by default. Change to 60 fps so you can slow the footage down in the edit. This will smooth out the slight shakes in the footage from moving your camera handheld.

Resolution: set this as high as your camera allows at this frame rate – 4K or 1080p HD

St the frame rate and resolution before you begin filming.

Wide Angle Lens: if your phone has 3 lenses select the super-wide lens.  If not you might want to buy an attachable wide angle lens in future but that’s not necessary for just practising.

Lock focus and exposure:  set and lock the focus on the main feature in the room you are filming e.g. if you’re doing a slider shot emerging from behind a tree, you should set the focus on the wall of the house rather than the tree.  Lock the focus so the camera doesn’t pull focus while you record.


I went completely handheld for this attempt. It’s worth a try to see how smooth you can get the footage.

Using a phone holder like the iGadgitz will give you more surface contact and will help you hold a steadier shot.

The ultimate piece of equipment is a motorised gimbal like the Osmo Mobile 3. This will stabilise your footage but there’s still a knack to using tit. You have to move slowly and keep your legs bent to stop the vertical bounce that comes with walking naturally,

This footage was shot using a gimbal which makes it much smoother than the handheld example above. This footage was filmed for The Wee House Company.

Camera movement

There are 3 main camera moves to incorporate. They involve moving the camera left/right; up/down; in/out. But don’t simply twist your body left or right or tilt the camera up/down. This will lead to quite static shots.

With these shots you need to move your feet as well. These 3 shots imitate what filmmakers do when they mount a big camera on ‘dolly tracks’ or a crane. The whole camera moves. It doesn’t just pivot on a static axis. So you need to move your whole body. It’s hard to keep the shot steady so go for quite small movements to begin with.

Slide left/right – move your whole body from left to right.  Hold the camera steady in front of you as you move.  Use something in the foreground to ‘slide’ out from behind (door frame or fruit bowl) revealing the whole room or house with the subtle move. 

Push in/out – Slowly walk towards the house or into the room.  For focusing you should stand at the end point of the move, lock in the focus then return to the start point and begin shooting.  Alternatively you can walk backwards (push out). 

Crane up/down – this is the hardest shot to perform steadily especially without a gimbal.  Again this works best if you find something in the foreground to increase the sense of movement. A selfie stick can help to give you greater height.

Shoot for the edit

To ensure your shots hang together seamlessly in the edit, you need to ensure the pace of your movement is consistent throughout.

It’s helpful to count to 5 or 10 in your head and try to move the same distance for each shot. It will look jarring if you cut from a really slow movement to a really fast movement.

That goes for the direction of movement too. Transitioning between two slide left shots will look really smooth whereas a left to a right might look odd.

That said, variety is important in the edit as well.

Edit your video

Most video editors will open a new project at 30 frames per second by default.

If you find the speed tool slow the video by 50% to 30 fps. Any shakes in the camera movement will be smoothed out a bit by doing this. The speed tool is usually easy to find, marked by a timer or clock icon.

Project settings in LumaFusion

If using LumaFusion you can set your project frame rate. I chose 24fps in my edit and reduced the speed by 50%. This is considered the ‘cinematic’ frame rate and the slowed footage looks even smoother with this setting.

Use cross dissolves to get smooth transitions and add an inspiring music track. Pace your edit to fit in with the music and voila! You have a real estate video.

Share your video

You can share your video with us here via WeTransfer. We won’t share it with a third party and we’ll delete the file once we’ve sent your feedback.

Time to get shooting!