5 Tips for Creating Video for Mobile Devices

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Almost 30% of mobile users are watching videos and the numbers are only expected to rise .  As a result, it is becoming increasingly important to create video for mobile devices in addition to your regular channels.  While it is easy to find information on the best practices and tips for shooting a normal video to be viewed on a computer screen; tips for creating video for mobile devices are very different.  Smartphones and tablets have different screen sizes, are used in different environments including loud bars and parties and are viewed differently than someone sitting in front of a large monitor.  Here are 5 things to think about when creating video for mobile devices.

1. Use the Highest Quality Audio Possible When Making Mobile Videos

Mobile devices often have low quality speakers making it difficult to hear in a noisy environment.  If someone is sharing a video in a crowded space, especially if the speakers face downward and not towards away from the screen towards you, you need to insure everything is as clear as possible to get the message across.   This is why you need the highest quality and cleanest audio possible.

One thing you can do is record the audio at the maximum level your microphone will allow without going into the red zone.  Think about it this way, if you are looking at a gauge that has yellow, green and red, if you talk too loud into your microphone it can go fuzzy or hit the red zone.  If you talk too quietly, it may not pick up your voice, which would put you in the yellow zone.  Testing your voice level a few times to find where the green spot is and then making sure you stay there is one of the first steps.

The next thing you can do is try to find a soundproof area to record in.  By doing this you can help eliminate distracting background noises on your audio track.  You may want to try recording a few different times after thinking about both of these and then head out to a happy hour one night and play all three on the mobile device you are creating a video for to see if people can hear and understand the vocal track.  Whichever one is easiest to hear and understand is your winner.

creating video for mobile

2. Keep the video size relevant for the purpose

Depending on what the purpose of your video is, you may want to keep it as short as possible.  If your video is meant to go viral and be shared; a shorter video can make it easier to load, play and send to friends because of the file size.  If your video is instructional, you may need to keep it longer.  Someone looking for instructions on how to install a pump to prevent flooding in their basement may need every step and not want to have to run up to their computer for each step.

While someone may be happy watching a 15-minute video seated in a comfortable chair for something funny, trying to do the same on a 3.5 inch screen can strain their eyes causing them to stop watching.  By keeping the size targeted to your goal, you can begin to create more useful videos that better serve their purpose. This can also help lower the bounce rate, increase total views and also help your overall video SEO efforts.

3. A series instead of one long one

If you’re creating a video on how to install something or build a piece of furniture, the video will probably be fairly long.  Because the person is using a mobile device to watch, it could be tricky to get to the parts they actually need.  Because of this you may want to create a series and also a playlist so they can easily get to the step they are looking for and not worry about load times, scrolling, etc…

The series offers multiple other benefits.  You can potentially get more rankings in the search engines for more keyword phrases, increase channel views to show relevance and that the content is good as well as have happier customers that can actually find what they need faster and more efficiently.  If they are accessing the videos from your website, you could easily use a Viewbix player and the YouTube app to stream the entire series through the player so that they don’t have to go back to YouTube and search for the right one.  Instead it can feed in order.

4. Use Large Text, Zoom in and Take Advantage of the Video Description

While TV’s can be well over 50 inches, few smartphone screens are over 5.  This means that objects and text that look great on a monitor or TV may make your audience squint on their mobile devices.  To make up for this, you should use large text and close up shots of important things when creating video for mobile devices.

YouTube annotations are not compatible with many smartphones.  Because the mobile video viewing demographic seems to be growing, you may want to go through all of your old YouTube videos, decide which annotated links or text are the most important, and then add those to the actual video.  If it doesn’t take away from the video when you’re showing it, and it is important, then it is probably a better option.  The best way to test this is to watch your videos and see if your annotations are showing.  If they are not, then find a fun way to add them in with writing, arrows and phrases, etc…creating video for mobile devices

5. Keep Important Information Centered and Away From Thumbs

Because smart phones are not the most ergonomic devices, your viewers’ thumbs can potentially cover whatever objects or information are on the far right or left side of the frame.  Although they are likely to adjust their fingers if they know it is blocking something, if they were blocking it from the beginning they don’t know to move their fingers at all.  This can be especially bad for your viewer if there is a surprise, or small but important object all the way to the side of the screen.  By keeping all of the important objects centered within the frame, or zooming in on them, you can help to ensure that your viewers get the most out of your video and see everything you needed them to.

With more and more people buying tablets and smartphones, creating videos specifically for mobile devices is becoming increasingly important.  These devices have audio, video, and viewing limitations that traditional video didn’t have to worry about.  The thing you need to remember when creating video is that it can be shared in loud places where noise can be an issue, people are holding the device so certain images or parts may be blocked and because they have to load, connectivity and size can be a serious issue that affects other channels like video SEO.

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  • Terry Simpson

    Great article. Underscores the rule of thumb for video production: put yourself in the shoes of your audience. How and when will they be watching and on what device? And Why will they be watching (entertainment, education, enlightenment)?