Everything You Need to Know About Mobile Video Recording

Your mobile device is capable of so many things, sometimes it’s hard to keep track of the features that mobile apps offer. You can surf the web, check your bank statement, or place an order for take-out right from your fingertips. So let’s say you want to record a video of your mobile device in order to create a tutorial or provide clear instructions for a friend or a co-worker. Thanks to some tips and tricks from TechSmith, mobile video recording has never been easier. Let’s take a look!

The Basics

Before hitting the record button, it’s important to consider a few key factors that can have a lasting effect on the quality of your video.


Built in microphones on mobile devices are very limited. If you can, try and get as close as possible to the source you are shooting. And make sure to listen for noises around you as well. Make sure there are no cars driving by or buzzing from lights – anything that can interfere with the audio signal.


For the most part, cameras on mobile devices work better with as much light as possible. So if you can, avoid dark areas. And also, try to avoid getting the sun, bright lights, or windows pointing directly into the shot. This can dramatically over or underexpose your subject.

Shot Composition

On mobile devices, zooming is very limited. So if you can, physically move the camera forward, back or side to side, to fill up your frame. And try to stabilize the shot best you can. No one likes shaky footage. A good tip is too lean up against something. If you have a tripod or flat surface nearby, that will work great as well.


Here at TechSmith, here are a few apps that are used for shooting and sharing video:

For more visual demonstration, watch the video below!

Recording a Mobile Device Using a Camera

“Blasphemy!” cried the townspeople as they descended on TechSmith headquarters, pitchforks in hand. “Why would you use a camera to record a mobile device at a screen recording company!?”

Well, consider this method a tool in a toolbox. It can be jarring for viewers to cut from a “real world” camera video with actors right into a screen video. Using this technique eases the transition from your live video to your screen recording. Or Perhaps you’re using an accessory like a new tablet pen that you’d like to review? Maybe your fingernails are on fleek and you want to show off that fresh new manicure. Whatever the case, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, and we here at TechSmith have got your back with some tips on how to make your mobile device look good through a lens. Check out the video below as it takes you through the following tips:

  • Use a solid surface to place your mobile device on
  • Shooting directly down will capture everything on your screen
  • Avoid pointing lights directly at the device to prevent a glare
  • Take note of the focus – try using manual focus and exposure so your camera doesn’t adjust in the middle of the video

Get Mobile Video Files Off Your Device

So you’ve recorded your mobile device, but you want to bring it onto your desktop for editing, saving, or sharing. Here are some tips on the different options available for getting your video off your mobile device and onto your computer:

The simplest option is plugging your phone into you computer with your USB charger. Or if you have an android device, take out your memory card and use a card reader that is hooked up to your computer. Once connected, you can click and drag your video files right into any folder you desire.

But, let’s say you don’t have a card reader or USB cord available. The next solution is wireless or “cloud” sharing options.

But what is the cloud exactly? The cloud, or cloud computing, basically means software that is operated by internet enabled devices. Instead of storing your files on your mobile device or computer, the files are stored on a server somewhere out there in the world. So for these options to work, you will need to have an active internet connection. Here are a few options:

  • Dropbox works on all devices and you are given 2GBs for free to get started with options to upgrade if needed. Dropbox is available for all major mobile offerings.
  • Google Drive gives you 15GB for free to get started and it is compatible on all mobile devices as well
  • Apple’s iCloud offers 5GB of storage for free to get started and works basically the same as the other two. And believe it or not, iCloud is available for Windows users too.
  • Email services put a cap on file size, usually around 25MB per email, so this option can be limited, but still works if you are in a bind.

If you don’t have a cord or you don’t want to send your videos through the cloud because of privacy reasons, another option would be a product that we offer here at TechSmith, which is called TechSmith Fuse. It is a free companion app for a smartphone or tablet that works together with Snagit.

The way it works is that it connects your mobile device to your desktop computer through a WiFi connection. So as long as your devices are on the same WiFi signal, all you need to do is connect your device via a QR code and BAM! Now you can wirelessly send media safely over the network. No cloud storage involved. The app makes it easy to access video on your computer that you’ve captured on your device. You can download it in either the App Store or the Google Play Store.

How to Go From Smartphone Video to Animated GIF

Now that you have your mobile video recording off your device and onto your desktop, you now have the option to turn that video into a GIF! In June of 1987, the animated GIF was born. While the file format is just slightly older than the majority of millennials, it is widely used by people of all ages. The use of the GIF has peaked in popularity in recent years…the reason? Brands are seeking better social-media engagement.

Culture is better communicated and conveyed through visual media like video, which evokes emotion in audiences, and is more effective than static images or text alone. The GIF is a quick, digestible, auto-playing snippet of video, whose beauty is in its simplicity.


Source: https://giphy.com/gifs/FWNJ8Hdsk3YzK

Creating a GIF is easier than you think. There are several options for tools that will help you make one easily from existing images or videos, either saved locally on your computer, in the cloud, on a flash drive, or from the internet.

Below, you’ll learn how to create a GIF from video you’ve captured on your Smartphone or tablet in four easy steps using TechSmith’s Snagit + mobile app Fuse.

If you would like to follow along with the steps outlined and don’t yet have Snagit installed on your computer, you can download a fully-functioning free trial here.

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Record/Select the video

Open TechSmith Fuse on your device, and either record a new video by choosing Video, or select an existing video to use by choosing Library > Gallery.

If you are creating a new video, be mindful of whether you prefer portrait or landscape orientation. It may also be a good idea to review the footage to make sure you’re satisfied with your brief video before moving on.


Step 2: Send the video to Snagit

Now that you’ve selected the video you’d like to use from within Fuse, you’ll want to open Snagit on your desktop and select the Connect Mobile Device option.


A QR Code will pop up. Select Share from within the Fuse app and then scan the code using the box that appears on your device’s screen. The media will be sent into the Snagit editor.


*Sidenote: This works for still images too! You won’t use the still images to create GIFs, but you you can use them to make memes! Sending your still images into Snagit is also a good way to gain quick access to the picture you took of a trade show booth that caught your attention, or the whiteboard full of notes that you captured with your phone that needs to be shared with your team.

Step 3: Select the part of the video you’d like to convert

From within Snagit, you can play back the video. You now have two options.

You can remove the unwanted sections of your video, and then click to create the GIF with all of the remaining content.

Your other option would be to select the portion of the video you’d like to convert and then click the GIF button.

The first option is found to be easier, but it’s really a matter of your personal preference.


Step 4: Celebrate and share your glorious achievement!

Now that you have successfully created your GIF, get sharing! Post it publicly to your company website, distribute it via email, or share it on social media.

Whether you’ve created the GIF to illustrate steps in a process, provide mini-demos, or maybe just to impress your friends, the use case possibilities are endless. Let your creative juices flow!


Creating a GIF is easy! If you’d like to view a quick recap, check out this video tutorial.

Are you already creating GIF’s from your mobile video content? I’d love to hear how, and what you’re using them for. Share your GIF, and/or your thoughts, in the comments below!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

The post Everything You Need to Know About Mobile Video Recording appeared first on TechSmith Blog.

Tips for Recording Your iPhone, iPad, or iPod

With the release of iOS 11, iPhone and iPad users finally can record video of their screens. But, if you’re like me, your first thought might have been, “Why would I want to?” So, I gave it a little thought and came up with six quick, but good reasons to record your iPhone screen or iPad screen.

Why Record Your Screen?

1. Demonstrate a process

We all have friends or family members who just can’t remember how to do something on their smartphone. The next time I get a call from my mother wanting me to remind her how to post a video to Instagram, I won’t talk her through it, I’ll record myself doing it and then send her the video. Then, the next time she forgets, she can just refer to the video. Unless, that is, she forgets I sent her the video.

Of course, this doesn’t only work for technologically challenged friends and family. You can use this same functionality to help a customer who has contacted your support team with a software question, a colleague looking to relearn or learn a new process, and a lot more.

2. Record an error or software bug

This is the perfect example of show, don’t tell. Sometimes when I encounter an error or bug in the app I’m using, I struggle to describe exactly what I was doing when it happened. Now I don’t have to. Instead, I can record a video of what I’m doing when the error occurs and share it with the app creator to help them better identify what’s happening.

This is also helpful for your in-house development team. If you’re part of a team working on an iOS app, screen recordings can be an essential way to show the rest of your team what’s happening so you can get that patch out as quickly as possible.

3. Demonstrate new app features or functionality

Whether you’ve created a new app or just updated an existing one, video is a great way to show people the features of which you’re most proud. You choose to do a series of short videos highlighting individual features or a more detailed version. Either way, you can show exactly how it works. Plus, iOS 11’s ability to capture narration means you can explain what you’re doing, too.

4. Create an App Store preview video

Much like a video demonstrating new features or functionality, App Store video previews are a great way to show people exactly how your app works, what sets it apart from the crowd, and maybe even provide that extra incentive for a potential customer to click that Buy button. Depending on your app, you can do a comprehensive overview, a more in-depth view of features, or any combination you can think of.

5. Give feedback

More and more, mobile devices are replacing our desktop and laptop computers. Now you can review documents and images, and offer feedback from just about anywhere. iOS 11’s new screen recording feature allows you to do even more. Now, instead of typing out your comments in an email or text, you can record your thoughts and changes while reviewing. Whether you choose to record narration or let the visuals do the talking on their own, you can be sure your recipient will know exactly what you mean.

6. Record yourself playing a game

Share your Pokemon Go! conquests with the world. Enough said. As for me, I’m still trying to master 2048 like it’s 2014.

Tips for recording your iPhone screen
Just like with any screen recording, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind to ensure your video is the best it can be:

  • Be sure to turn off notifications. Nothing ruins a good screen recording like a popup notification of a text message or a new like on Instagram.
  • Trim the beginning and end. You can do some light editing in the Photos app. At the very least, trim the portions at the beginning and end where you start and stop the recording. For more advanced editing, such as adding callouts, text, or music, you can import your video into a video editor like Camtasia.
  • For a more professional polish, start with a script. This is especially important if you’re highlighting features or creating an App Store preview video. This ensures you know what you want to say and how you want to say it.
  • For even more polish, use a microphone. If you’re going to narrate your video, your device’s built in microphone will capture your voice (and everything else going on in the room). A microphone can be a great way to better isolate your voice so you’re more clearly understood. For more information on mics, check out this great blog post from my colleague Matt Pierce.

So now that you know why you would want to record the screen of your device, here’s how:

It’s easier than ever to start recording your iPhone and other iOS device screen and turn it into a movie. You no longer have to worry about mirroring your device onto your laptop to record what’s happening on your screen.

Can’t see the embedded video? Watch it on YouTube.

TechSmith Capture is an iOS video capture app that lets you create high-quality mobile demos and how-to videos right from your phone or tablet.

These tips will help you get great results the first time you dive into iOS screencasting.

1. Enable screen recording

The first thing you’ll need to do is enable screen recording on your device. Screen recording on your iPhone is simple, but your device is not automatically set up to record right out of the box.

To turn on screen recording go to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls. Scroll down and tap the plus icon next to Screen Recording.

You should now have access to screen recording in your Control Center.

2. Don’t lose track of time (and storage)

As the saying goes, “just because you can doesn’t mean you should”. Just because your iPhone can record virtually unlimited amounts of video doesn’t mean that’s something you should do.

As far as I know, there is no time limit to how much you can record your screen. The only limit is the amount of empty space on your iPhone hard drive.

You should be aware, however, that your video recording can randomly stop during very long recordings.

3. Clean up clutter

If the iOS home screen will appear in your video, consider changing your wallpaper and creating a new page with just one icon.

To change your wallpaper back to an Apple default: tap Settings > Wallpaper > Choose a New Wallpaper and you’ll see options for Dynamic or Stills. Choose a wallpaper, then Set > Set Home Screen to make it the new wallpaper that appears behind your home screen icons.

Change wallpaper on iOS

4. Enable do not disturb mode

This will prevent notifications or phone calls from popping up in the middle of your recording.

To enable do not disturb (also called “sleep mode”): Tap Settings > Do Not Disturb > Do Not Disturb then scroll down and select Silence: Always.

5. Lock orientation

Before you record, make sure to decide which way will you be holding your device while recording: up-and-down or sideways. It’s best to lock orientation so you don’t accidentally tilt the device during recording. If you do that, your recording will stop or the content will looked squished.

To lock orientation: Hold your device the way you want to record. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open Control Center. Tap the padlock icon.

How to lock orientation on iOS

6. Turn off display zoom

If you use zoom mode on a newer iPhone or iPad, you may want to turn it off. If you leave it on, you will not capture the full resolution possible. Using an iPhone 6 in zoom mode, for example, generates a recording at 1136 x 640 instead of 1334 x 750.

To disable zoom mode: Tap Settings > Display and Brightness > Display Zoom | View > Standard > Set. Your device will restart.

7. Unmute your device

If your device is muted via the silence switch, the audio coming from your device will not be included in your recording.

If the content you’re recording has its own audio—like the sound effects in a game—you will want to unmute your device so it is captured.

8. Turn off in-app music

If you’re recording a game or app that has both background music and sound effects you should turn off music within the game settings.

Why? Because the music will compete with your narration. Instead of recording the music in real-time, you can record the sound effects and import the music later into your video editor as a separate track.

Turn off in-game music

9. Free up resources

Capturing is intensive and requires a lot of system resources. This is especially true if your device has a limited amount of storage. To make sure you get good performance during capture, close all other apps, including anything running in the background.

10. Create a new page

To make a new page on your home screen, long-press the icon of an app you’ll be showing in your video, then drag it to the right edge and a new page will appear.

Create a new page on iOS home screen


11. Use a good mic

If you need professional sounding narration, you’ll want to get an external microphone that plugs into your device. Or you may want to think about recording your audio separately after you record your screen.

To get better sound right from your phone, I’d suggest using earbuds with a built-in microphone or purchasing a lapel microphone.

But if you are planning on recording your narration in post production you’ll want to find a solid external microphone.

Much like on your iOS device, using your computer’s built-in mic to record narration is not usually the best idea, as you’ll probably pick up a lot of room and fan noise. Ideally, you want to get ahold of a good-quality USB mic like an Audio-Technica AT875R or a Blue Yeti USB Microphone.

Looking for the best microphone? Check out our list of best microphones for recording video.

recommended USB microphones

12. Record in a quiet place

Move to a quiet environment or at least isolate yourself and the microphone from noise. The most common noise culprits: heating or cooling vents, your computer’s fan, doors closing, dogs, or sirens.

If you can’t quiet your environment as much as you’d like, try covering your head and the mic with a blanket (looks funny but it works).

Recording in a clothes closet is also effective. You may even want to invest in a tabletop recording booth.

Portable recording booth

13. Use music

Most videos are helped along by a suitable music soundtrack. If the app you’re recording doesn’t have its own music, consider adding a track that helps set the mood. There are many sources of royalty-free music online; some of our favorites are:


These tips should save you time and frustration when recording your iOS device! Have some tips of your own? Post a comment and share what you’ve learned!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

The post Tips for Recording Your iPhone, iPad, or iPod appeared first on TechSmith Blog.