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How to film high quality fitness videos with your phone

Richard Playfair
August 26, 2020

Recommended apps for filming fitness workouts:

Filmic Pro

Open Camera

Recommended Radio Mics for filming fitness videos:

Rode Filmmaker Kit £250

Rode Go Wireless Kit £150

Recommended Head mics for filming fitness videos:

Trantec HM66 £110

Great for both men and women. More comfortable than the AKG with a snap back style adjustment for size. Great clarity and low noise which is why I use this for filming professional videos.

AKG C555 £100

Good for women because it adds more low end sound to your voice giving you more power to cut through the music.

Can also be used my men, but you may need to reduce the bass EQ for in studio teaching. You may need to buy an extra adaptor to attach to you mic pack.

The double ear SubZero (£35) could be a good option as an alternative. I was impressed with the single ear mic (see below) but I’ve not used the full headset. In skin colour it’s more discrete.

If you do lots of lying on your back (e.g. Pilates) you may want to consider a single ear headset like this one from SubZero (£15). The quality is excellent for the price and with no bar around the back of the head, it wont touch the floor or knock of your head when lying down. The fit can be tricky though sometimes if you have small ears. You can bend the wire to fit better – but be careful you don’t break it!

That’s it! Now go and film fitness videos on your phone with confidence and deliver workout experiences that meet the expectations of your audience.

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How to film high quality fitness videos with your phone

Today's blog is written by Richard Playfair from Sweatlife Films who was kind enough share the knowledge about fitness video production with us.

It’s easy to film fitness video with your phone nowadays. The cameras and tablet devices are capable of delivering high resolution HD images. And with the right cable you can also connect external radio microphones to them to improve your sound quality.

The simplest way to film fitness videos with your phone is to do it without music. This helps to future proof your content and avoid any copyright issues or claims if you post your workouts on social media channels.

Filming fitness videos without music also means you have less to worry about when filming. Its easier to focus on delivering great sounding audio instructions from your mic than trying to balance a music mix as well.

If you want to use music in your videos its best to add it in editing. Or invest in equipment that allows you to mix music and your mic with more control for a better user experience.

For most instructors however, filming without music is the best option. This gives your audience the freedom to use any music they choose when they workout.  This means every time they repeat your workout they can choose the music that best suits their mood.

If you’re planning to use either of the two radio mics below then you’ll also need a Rode SC4 cable (£10). This cable converts the stereo output from the microphone receiver to your 3.5mm jack plug on your device. Without this your phone or tablet won’t be able to record the input signal from your microphone receiver unit.

Tips to help you film fitness videos with your phone

  • Film facing a light source to improve the quality of your image. With plenty of light your camera will create the best picture and keep you in focus.
  • If you’re using extra lighting to illuminate your scene, bring your light as close as possible to you to get the most benefit.
  • Lock the exposure on your camera app so the brightness of your video doesn’t auto adjust with slight changes in light and cause a distraction.
  • Try and film your fitness video in an area that isn’t messy or cluttered so following along is easy to do without distractions.
  • Wear colourful clothes and avoid wearing all black. It’s difficult for viewers to perceive position, depth and distance if the instructor wears all dark colours. So choosing what you wear can help your participants to mirror you more effectively.
  • Test your camera setup and field of view before you film for real. Mark the edge of your frame with a water bottle or piece of equipment so you never stray out of shot. Try and fill as much of the frame as possible – your participants will appreciate an easy to see demonstration.
  • Always film in landscape so your audience can cast your video to a TV for the best big screen experience.
  • Make sure your device has plenty of available space to record your video and your battery is charged.
  • Film in full HD 1920×1080 resolution for great quality video.
  • Avoid filming in 4K resolution. 4K is 4 x bigger than HD and creates big video files that eat up a lot of space on your phone; take ages to transfer to your computer and can be a struggle to edit and upload to hosting platform like YouTube.
  • Set you phone to air plane / silent mode to prevent any interruptions like messages or phone calls.
  • Charge your radio mic batteries so you don’t run out of juice
  • Practice your intro and outro and start on time so you come across as a professional.
  • Use a timer app like seconds pro to periodize your workout so your workout lasts your planned duration. It can be easy to loose track of time!
  • If you talk constantly through your workouts your audience may mute your video and follow along by sight. This means they’re not going lose your coaching expertise to help them get the most out of the workout. Without periods of silence it can be difficult for you audience to identify the most important coaching, so be economical with your words and let your coaching cues land before adding more.
  • Keep the volume of your voice consistent so it can be well heard and don’t whisper even if you’re doing a holistic workout. Your audience can always turn down your volume at their end if they think you’re too loud.

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Richard Playfair
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