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Video Creation Frequently Asked Questions


How do you plan your video?

There are various different ways you can plan your video from writing a script, using a storyboard and schedules. 

You can find more information as well as downloading templates of these here.

What do you include on a storyboard?

Storyboards are a great way of getting your ideas on paper and help communicate within your production team. They can assist in visualising your concept to create an effective shoot. They are used so your crew know what it is that you are trying to achieve and therefore what they need to shoot. But also, they can help you move through the filming process easily and efficiently.

A storyboard is split into boxes and lines. The boxes are used to draw and indicate what it is that needs filming, whether it’s a close-up or a wide and what to concentrate the shot on. The lines are there to provide more description to the crew or remind yourself what you want to achieve. For example, you could include notes on the camera angle, props, locations, any camera movement, etc. Alternatively, you may want to add dialogue, so everyone knows when that shot begins and ends.



How can I get better lighting for the shot?

Mobile devices need light to perform well, with good light engaging your audience with your video.

Some tips you could take are:

  • Trying to shoot on a cloudy day as this can result in a nice soft and even lighting, allowing for a detailed image.
  • If it’s a sunny day, try to shoot in the shade to avoid dark shadows and over exposing.
  • If filming indoors, use the natural light by setting up the shot by a window.
  • Bounce light around by using a mirror or white card.

For more information about lighting to create different moods in your video, learn more here.

How do I get good sound through my mobile phone?

Your mobile phone will have good sound as it is primarily designed to be a phone, however you can improve the quality your get out of it.

  • Find where your microphone is located in your phone so you don’t cover it when holding your phone.
  • Ensure your subject is placed as close to the microphone in your phone as you can.
  • If you are at a location, consider the noise happening around you, even the smallest background noises can have a major effect in your final video.
  • If possible, it might be worth considering using an external microphone, this will improve the sound quality, especially if filming in a loud location.

To learn more about good sound click here.

How do you manually set the focus and exposure?

With the camera app open, press and hold on the area of the screen to lock the AE/AF Lock function.

How to enable the grid on your iPhone or iPad?

Within the Camera app on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad there is an optional grid that could help you better frame interviewee or objects. Using the rules of thirds can improve your videos and images from the ordinary to the extra ordinary, and all is done extremely easily!

  1. Click on Settings from the Home screen of your mobile device.
  2. Scroll down and click on Camera.
  3. Here there is an option for Grid, turn the feature On by tapping on the slider.
Which camera is better quality on my phone?

Always try and use the rear camera on your mobile device, as it often has a higher resolution to the front facing one.



Can I add still images or logo in to my video?

Yes, you can add images or logos to your video by uploading in the same way you upload a video file into your editing platform.

If you are wanting to have a transparency background you need to make sure the file is a .PNG file.

Can I slow down/speed up my video?

Within the editing software or app, you are using there are possibly options for you to alter the speed of the clip you have shot. However, it is always better to have planned into your shoot if you want a slow-motion or quickened up shot before you begin shooting as it can affect the quality of the video if you do it afterwards. Most mobile devices have an option to do this when filming, so use this to your advantage.

Can I use any music in my video?

This is a complicated issue but if you still want to use music that someone else has created then you need to know the legal implications of doing so. Therefore, when it comes to adding music onto your video you need to think about the copy-right licenses surrounding the track you have chosen. Most tracks come with some kind of license attached to them which you need to be aware of before adding it to your video. However, there are plenty of copyright free material you can use some of which you can find on your site here.

The Creative Commons are an organisation that allows people to add copyright-licences to their work. Allowing the creators to clearly define what which rights they reserve and which they waive for the benefit of the people who are wanting to use it in their work.

How do I add text to my video?

All editing platforms should come with an ability to add text to your video. There will probably be a separate tab where you can either create your own text or add in a template for the text.

Text can appear by itself, over a video or image, full screen or within the lower thirds (usually used for name titles in an interview).

How do I get video from my mobile device on to my computer?

The easiest way to do this would be connecting the USB cable that comes with your mobile device to your computer and download the footage from there.

Alternatively, some editing packages have apps that you can download and transfer your footage from your device, which will then appear within the editing package.

How do you add a voiceover to my video?

You can add a voiceover in a number of ways depending on what software you are using to edit your video. The software may have a built-in voiceover tool which you could use to record it while watching the completed video.

Otherwise you could use your mobile device or camera to record a clip as you have done with all your visual shots, but when you bring it in to add to the edit you just use the audio and disregard the visuals.

I’ve filmed everything in portrait, can I turn it round?

Most editing software’s or apps allow you to rotate your clips, however this will mean everything is on its side so it’s best to remember to record landscape if that is what you are after for your final film.

What can I edit my video on?

You can edit on just about anything device from a desktop computer to a laptop to a mobile phone.

There are various different editing software/apps that you can get for each of the devices. Some work from the machine itself so you’ll have to make sure your clips are available on that particular machine. While others work online, with clips are stored within the cloud and are therefore accessible on any computer or device.

What size/resolution/format should my videos be?

Video should be the largest quality you can have it, but you should consult the platform of where it’s going to hosted once completed about their requirements.

1920 x 1080 is full HD

1280 x 720 is standard

.mov or .mp4 id the usual format for a final video file.

Why can’t I e-mail my video?

A video file can be large and most e-mail suppliers have a limit to what can be attached to an e-mail.

Editing on the computer

Editing software

Examples of editing software

Edit in camera/while shooting

This is when you've plan your video and you are only shooting exactly what you want the final video to look like.

Software editing

You can edit a video on a variety of different software. It can depend what you know already or what's available to you to which you end up using.


iMovie is a free Mac based software available on both your iOS or OS device. You can easily add your clips to the timeline and add titles, music and effects. There are plenty of online videos to help with using iMovie.

Editing on your mobile device

Most mobile devices now have the capability to do a basic edit, whether that's just topping and tailing or sticking multiple video clips together.

iOS devices have gone a step further and added a video editing app called 'iMovie'. This is the same 'iMovie' you will find on all OS systems but has been redesigned for mobile devices.

Windows Movie Maker

Windows Movie Maker is freely available for windows-based computers. You can quickly turn your photos and videos into a finalised video, adding special effects, transitions, audio and captions.

Adobe Premiere Pro

Adobe Premiere Pro is a professional software that you have to pay for. Students do get discounts on it and it is available to University of Derby students on the library computers.

Adobe Spark 

(You can use your Facebook or Google account to sign in, but it’s free)

Adobe Spark can help you created 'social graphics', 'web stories' and 'Animated videos'. It also has apps you can add to your phone/tablet: 'Spark Post', 'Spark Page' and 'Spark Video'. Adobe Spark also has a blog which has some useful tips and tricks for filming.


WeVideo is an online editor that makes it easy to capture, edit and share your video. It has a free plan, alongside their paid for plans. The benefit of this being online is that you can edit and view anywhere.

Editing on an iPad



The final stage of creating a film is post-production or editing. This is when you put everything you have shot together to create your film. It is best to organise your edit from the beginning and then once you have a rough cut add any extras to the film. Finally remembering that when uploading you may need to reduce the size of your video.

Creating your Video

The process of editing can be a daunting prospect for anyone who has never done it before but should be fun to see your idea coming to life. By following the earlier steps of planning, storyboarding and filming, you should have an idea of what your final video outcome is going to look like and what message(s) you are trying to convey to your viewer.


Edit at your desktop on your computer.

Mobile Devices

Film then edit on your mobile devices.


Music can change the emotion of a film, so pick wisely.


It's a good idea to review your film.

Editing at a computer

Edit on the go with your laptop.


Add a voiceover to add context to your meaning.


Titles and text can bring the full understanding of your film together.

Final Film

You can now view your final film on all your devices.

Before you begin

Once you have shot your video it's now time to start putting it together. It is probably a good idea to have a look over the pre-production documents you created at the planning stages. The get organised. Upload your footage through a USB cable or card reader.

Keep all your footage together in a folder and back this up.

Remember to save your work or set auto save into the programme that you are using. You don't want to have spent a few hours editing for it all to be lost through the programme crashing.

Be Organised

Choosing the footage you want to use

If you've not shot much you could load them all onto your computer. However, if you've shot a lot you may want to select the ones you think you'll use. But don't delete anything unless you are 100% sure you aren't going to use it later.

Create a project

Open the editing package you are going to edit from. Create a new project and name it.

Add the clips to your project

You will need to import your clips into you project through your chosen editing programme.

Get organised

If you are working on a large project, it's a good idea to create 'bins' or 'folder' to store the footage into. If you split the footage up into different part this will make it easier for you to edit and know where certain clips are.

Editing on the computer

Start editing

If you made a storyboard at the beginning of the process it should make it easier for you to place the shots together.

  • Put the shots in order on the timeline. (The video is coming together)
  • Trim the beginning and end of the clips, so you only have the footage needed. (Rough cut of video)
  • Trim more precisely the clips and check the audio levels.
  • Add effects and transitions.

This will give you a great idea of how the final film will look.

Keep fine tuning this, by going over the edit and changing anything that stands out to you that shouldn't. It could be a good idea to also get a second option on it to see if they spot anything you've missed.

The finishing touches

Now you need to go over the video and make sure all the transitions work smoothly and the colours match from shot to shot. Also making sure that the sound is correct, with no dead silence or music drowning out any speech.

Finally, you can add any titles and any logos to your finished video. These could be at the beginning, name titles for anyone interviewed or possible credits at the end - if you have created a longer film.

Exporting your final video

Once the video is completed and you are happy with it you can now export a high-resolution copy to play on other devices. If you need to upload it somewhere you may need to export a lower quality copy or compress the video to a smaller size.

Editing on an iPad
Filming on an iPad

Styles of filming

Ways to film

There are various different styles of filming you could do to create a video. Each one would create a certain feeling for your viewer, so you need to pick the right one for the message you are wanting to portray.

Presenting styles


If you are undertaking an interview, you will want to plan some questions beforehand which are clear with your videos' message.

  • Make sure you have good, clear sound - you want to be able to hear what the interviewee is saying.
  • You can either ask the questions with yourself on camera or can ask with you sitting by the side of the camera. Therefore, you will only see the interviewee and will probably remove you actually asking the questions.
  • The interviewee would be sat on either the right or the left of the frame of the shot, looking towards the opposite side.

Piece to camera

By completing a piece to camera video you'll be talking directly to camera.

  • The person delivering the information with be positioned in the centre of the frame looking out to camera.
  • The sound quality needs to be clear and audible for the audience to understand your message.


A documentary video has aims to inform the audience of a particular subject or point.

  • An interview may be included within a documentary, so follow the points above.
  • The video may also call for a presenter and therefore may want to do a piece to camera, again follow the directions above.
  • With a documentary you will probably be adding in other shots (cutaways) to show and emphasise what message(s) you are wanting to get across to the audience.


Creating an advertisement video is a great way to promote a particular object, area or place.

  • An advert may contain a voice-over.
  • The video will be concentrating on the object or place you are advertising. Therefore, you'll have probably include some nice close-ups.
  • An advertisement video could be used for a number of things, including selling a product, informing the audience of a place to visit or what an area has to offer.

Video blog

Video blogging is something that is usually used through the internet.

  • They usually contain videos, images and text.
  • As they are hosted mainly on the web they can be easily distributed to other people.
  • They can be used to inform, introduce or share information with your audience.
  • They can be pre-recorded or even created as a live broadcast. 

In film a cutaway is a shot placed between a continuous shot to show the viewer more information, to indicate something important or emphasise what is being portrayed in the video.

Filming on a mobile phone

Filming on a mobile device

Mobile Phone Infographic

Why film with a mobile device?

Using a mobile phone or tablet is common in everyday life and using them to film is not anything new. However, using these devices to actually create a produced video for an audience to either communicate a message, teach a subject or give instruction is still relatively uncommon, but quite easy to achieve.

Mobile devices now have the ability to produce outstanding video footage as well as having access to easy to use editing software.

There are many reasons why mobile devices are great to record with:

  • The camera quality is good and getting better with advances in technology.
  • You can use editing apps on the device.
  • It's easy to upload and share, using online sites like YouTube.
  • Most people have a device with them or can easily get access to one.

Follow our quick guide on how to reduce the camera resolution on your mobile device. This will save space on your phone/tablet when filming and reduce any upload time once completed.


Filming on an iPad


Tips for filming

After you have planned for your video it's time to start filming. It's a good idea to prepare a list of locations, actors/interviewees and props needed for the shoot, this makes sure you don't forget anything important.

Portrait vs Landscape

You need to consider where your final video will be hosted.

Most of the times you should be filming landscape:

However, there may be times that it would be better to film portrait:

Portrait filming

As long as you can justify your reasoning.

Use when appropriate

Using a tripod

If possible it's always better to use a tripod, as this will steady the shot and make it easier for the audience to watch.

However, there are occasions when you may make a creative decision to have the hand-held effect.

Recording sound

Having good audio will make your film. If you are recording an interview it would be best to have a clip-mic, but if you are unable to get a mic make sure you are close enough to hear the interviewee.

Test your knowledge - Filming on your mobile device

iPad on Tripod




The production process is essentially the filming of your video. This stage will be a lot easier if you have gone through the pre-production guidelines and planned for your video.

Before you start filming make sure you are confident with the equipment you are going to be using. Practise with it before you get to your location to save time when there.

When you are ready to start filming there are a few camera techniques that you should be following to create the best video possible.

You could even use a mobile device to film your video, as you usually have your phone or tablet close by.

Tips on getting the best for your video

Here are some techniques to get the best from your camera or mobile device, specifically looking at lighting, composition and audio. Getting these three elements right can dramatically change you video for the better.


A well lit video is visually appealing, defined and colourful. Try to choose a good location and adjust the subject using these tips:

  • Place your subject facing towards the light.
  • Get plenty of light to stop the video looking dull.
  • Use reflective surfaces which spread light around the room, giving nice soft shadows.
  • Take advantage of the natural light by making sure it is shining on your subject as opposed to from one side or from behind.
Light position diagram
Manually set focus and exposure

On some phones you'll be able to manually set the exposure of your shot. If you press and hold the screen it will bring up the AE/AF Lock function. Setting the Auto Exposure helps if you are moving from an outside to an inside scene, within the same shot, and will stop the phone from changing exposure during the shot.

Setting the focus is great for close-up shots as you can make sure the camera stays focussed on a particular point within the scene.

  • If bright light is making your subject squint, slightly turn them from the light to make it more comfortable.
  • Avoid shooting with your main light source behind your subject as this creates a silhouette.
  • Avoid setting up directly under overhead lighting. Move the subject backwards or forwards to avoid the unwanted dark shadows this causes on your subject.
  • Avoid dark locations as all cameras perform less well in low light.


This defines how your subject is positioned in the frame in relation to the environment they are in.

There are two factors to consider when composing your shot - the camera angle and where the subject is framed in the shot.

The camera angle is created from the camera's position in relation to the subject. Depending if the camera is looking up at or down on the subject, it will have different connotations for the viewer. Try to have the eye line of the subject on the same level as the camera, especially when filming an interview.

Using the guide of the rule of thirds when framing is a great way to compose a shot. If filming an interview place the subject on one of the horizontal lines looking into the frame.

Composing a shot

Although you could show what you intended with one shot, it makes it more interesting to the viewer if you mix the shots up a bit and use shorter clips, as well as being able to pick out more detail within the scene.

When planning the shoot, think about what shots will complement the master shot and add to the message you are trying to get across. This could be as simple as getting a wide of your subject and then a close-up to show any detail.

Mobile devices don't have zoom lenses, they only have digital zoom features which will reduce the quality of the image. Therefore, try to find a position so you are close enough to your subject, so you don't have to use the zoom.

Long/Wide shot

This shows the subject from top to bottom but is dominated by the surrounding area. A great way to establish a location.

Full shot

This shows the subject from top to bottom, with them filling the frame.



This is in-between a full shot and a medium shot.




This shot fills the frame with the subject, for example the person's head/face. You will see the characters emotions and reactions well with this shot.

 Extreme Close-up

This shot emphasises a particular area of the subject. If on a person it could be the eyes, to fully show their emotion to the viewer. Or to show a detail on the particular object being shown.

wide shot
full shot
Medium shot
close-up shot

An overview of composition

  • Place the camera at eye level with your presenter.
  • Once framed avoid moving the camera during recording.
  • Avoid framing where your subject is cut off at the neck, waist, knees or ankles.
  • Hold the camera as steady as possible - lean against a wall or pole for support if possible - ideally a tripod of sorts is best.
  • Consider a cheap phone holder (or make your own for free!) and rest it on a table to get a steady shot. 



Good audio is essential to any video, as it is important to convey the message as clearly as possible.

Use a clip mic if possible to get clear audio.

Lead and lag time

When you are interviewing someone it's a good idea to add lead and lag time at the beginning and end of each clip. This is when you leave a bit of time after you've hit record before you get the person to start talking and again once they've finished leaving a couple of seconds before stopping the recording.


It is worth considering the following factors that affect sound quality when shooting a video interview:

  • The distance from the mic to your interviewee (ideally place your subject 100-150cm from the camera microphone). If using a clip mic this plugs into the camera/mobile device and then clips onto the interviewee.
  • How quiet/loud (shy/confident) is your presenter?
  • What is the level of background noise in your location?
  • Always do a test recording to check audio quality.
  • Move location if the audio is not clear.

Test your knowledge - Production


Copyright free material

Using other people's work in your film

When creating a video, you may want to add some extra footage or images into your final piece that you were unable to shoot yourself. However, you have got to be aware of who owns the materials and you'll need to check the copyright on them before you use them. There are some places where you can access copyright free material, please see the links below for a few examples.



Max Pixel


Video Pexel


YouTube Audio Library

Creative Commons

The Creative Commons are an organisation that allows people to add copyright-licences to their work. Allowing the creators to clearly define what which rights they reserve and which they waive for the benefit of the people who are wanting to use it in their work.

For more information:

Creative Commons

Making the storyboard


Planning your video

This is the first stage when creating a video. At this stage you can note down all your ideas on how you want to tell your story. You should be able to tell your story in a few words; if you can't you need to rethink or simplify it.

Once you have your idea set you can begin writing a script and designing a storyboard for your video.

Before you begin filming make sure you have all your actors or interviewees and locations sorted. Don't assume you can film in a location, ask permission first. It's also a good idea to check out the location for lighting and sound issues that may arise during the shoot.

Make sure you also get all the actors/interviewees release forms signed before you begin shooting, these make sure you get all the permissions for filming and won't hold your film up once you've completed.

Editing at desk

How to plan before filming

Video is a powerful medium but can be labour intensive to produce. Planning is about making the task manageable and having a clear rationale for your video is essential to do this. Planning helps avoid a “needle in a haystack” scenario, where you are left trying to extract meaning from raw footage in the editing process. If this happens it is often quicker to go back and re-shoot the video you meant to make the first time around.

Considerations when planning your video are:
  • The context of the finished product.
  • The expectations of the audience.
  • A location that supports the subject matter of the video.
  • How long will the video be?
  • What copyright rules do you have to follow?
The Brief

Writing a brief at the beginning of the project will help you clarify the aims of the video and help you think about organising things like the style, locations and equipment you will need.

Download a template production brief here.

The Script

Write your script first and then develop the storyboard from this.

A script, even if it's just a rough outline, will help you during the actual shoot. Making a script before you start shooting is essential to make sure that you don't waste time during the recording. Even if the actual words change during the shoot, having everything planned out before will ensure that you get the content needed in the right place at the right time, making editing a lot easier.

Download an example script here.

Remember when writing your script, you need to plan the completed video to have a start, middle and end. Ask yourself:

  • What is the first thing you want your audiences to see or know?
  • What information do they need to know by the middle of the video?
  • What do you want your audience to go away with at the end? This could be a call to action or further research, etc.

The Storyboard

Storyboards are a great way of beginning to visualise your script and idea. They can include a lot of information on a large professional production, but you can make this process more simplified for you video. 

Here are a few tips to help you: 

  • Use one panel for each scene. This will help reduce the time it will take, by concentrating the planning of the video to a strict number of panels.
  • It doesn’t matter if you’re not a good artist. Most of the time stick men can give as much information. The use of arrows is great to show actor/interviewee/object direction or any possible camera movement.
  • Write any useful information about the scene under each panel. Including script, ideas, direction, etc. This is useful if you need to pass this over to someone else, they can follow the storyboard and create your concept.

Download a storyboard template here.


It's useful to go and see any locations you choose to use; visit them to check for any permissions needed. Make a note of any lighting or sound issues that might cause problems when filming and see if you can fix them. Make sure you can get the camera angles and shots needed in the chosen space.

Test Your Knowledge

Filming on an iPad

Quick Guide

Initial ideas to completed video

Here are a few steps that you should follow when undertaking making a video:

Creating better videos with your mobile device


  • Plan your video with a production brief.
  • Write a script with a script template.
  • Create storyboards.
  • Decide on questions if it's interview based.
  • Contact all locations and seek permission if required.
  • Visit any locations and check for any lighting or sound issues.
  • Get all actors or interviewees to sign a legal release form.


  • Become confident with the equipment by practising. If you're using your mobile device check out the advice here.
  • Use the available light to your advantage.
  • Place your subject facing towards the light.
  • Avoid having the main light directly behind your subject.
  • Avoid dark locations as all cameras perform less well in low light.
  • Compose your shot so there's nothing distracting in the frame.
  • Make sure the mobile device is landscape, unless there's a valid reason for it to be portrait.
  • Have the camera on eye level to your subject.
  • Using the rule of thirds is a great way to compose a shot.
  • Avoid moving the camera once you've got it set up.
  • Use a tripod if possible or steady the camera as best you can.
  • Use a mic, if possible, when interviewing.
  • Otherwise get as close as possible to the subject.
  • Choose a location with little background noise, as this will be distracting to the viewer.
  • Always do a test recording of the audio to check the levels.
  • If it is not clear move to a quieter location.


  • Look over all your footage to decide what you'd like to be included and where, this is the best time to look back at your planning documents.
  • Back up your footage.
  • Create a project and name it.
  • Add the clips to the timeline in the order you want.
  • Once you have a rough cut of the video, keep looking over it again and again till you're happy with it.
  • Add in titles, effects and sounds where they are needed.
  • Remember to keep saving your project so you don't lose anything.
  • Export the final video at the highest quality, then compress it if it's needed for upload.
Clapper Board

Video Creation

Creating your very own video is simple

We have created a step by step guide to basic video creation. Including how to use your own mobile device in the process, to help you produce informative educational videos.

When you make a film, the process can be split into 3 distinct areas: