How to: video the office party on your phone

5:03 AM Edited by Blony

As the 25th lumbers near, we’re well and truly into Christmas party season. Want to capture the finest photocopying incidents and booze-laden footage to blackmail your boss? Read on and we’ll show you how in our video cameraphone tutorial.

Set the resolution
Ignore the number next to your phone’s camera sensor: that resolution in megapixels is for still images, not video. Your phone will shoot at a lower rate, but it may still be good quality – the iPhone for instance films at a smooth 640×480. Samsung’s m8910 Pixon has a really impressive 720×480 resolution for sharper images, while a model such as Nokia’s N86 has both a 640×480, 30fps mode, as well as a secondary (front) camera, which records at 352×288 pixels and at 15fps.

There’s no reason why you don’t want it set to the highest possible, so open up the video camera options in your phone and make sure the resolution is set to High, or the largest number available. The only exception is if you’re planning on sending a video MMS message, in which case choose the MMS mode, 176×144.

The better the resolution, the better the quality of clips – but don’t think that using a lesser resolution isn’t such a good option, because if you’re recording for anything longer than a few minutes it will allow you to capture more footage on your phone.

Prep your distance
Video cameras on phones still can’t match dedicated handheld camcorders and they still struggle with zooming. Because they don’t have optical zoom like digital cameras, they can’t zoom in without losing picture quality. Pick your battles wisely, and make sure you stand reasonably close to whoever, or whatever you’re catching on film – a few metres at max. Unless you want to keep them anonymous!

Choose your scene mode
If you’re outside in bright light, you can probably go ahead and rely on your phone’s video camera auto settings. But this is a Christmas party – if it’s indoors, and in low light, you’ll want to change modes if you can. Open up your video camera options, and look for lowlight or indoor modes to get the best shot. And if you’re inside, turn on the flash light too, but remember it’s a major battery drain if left on.

Stay steady
Depending how late on in the evening it is, this one could prove tricky. But do your best to keep your hands steady – it can be easier to hold the phone with two paws rather than one if needs be. Otherwise your video will end up jittery and janky looking.

Watch the clock
Phone video cameras can sometimes record for a surprisingly long time, but remember they’re usually limited by the amount of storage space onboard the phone or memory card. Some phones will count down the time you have left to record a shot on screen, but not all, so check ahead with your phone brand’s website if you’re planning on filming lengthy toasts.

Once your video’s shot, stop recording and let the phone process it. Now it’s time to upload. YouTube is the easiest place to go. Many phones, Sony Ericsson handsets and the iPhone for instance, come with an easy upload option built in, but if not, you can use an app such as iTookThisOnMyPhone to do it for you on your mobile. Beware though that if you’re not in Wi-Fi or 3G reception, you’ll be uploading for a very, very long time.


  1. gailcav said...

    Very nice blog and very informative. Looks like you are a real tecchie. Keep up the good work!