Have you ever seen Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” commercials? They showcase vivid colors, dynamic shots, and generally beautiful cinematography that’s possible with nothing more than an iPhone. While it’s true that higher-end smart phones can be used to film some pretty impressive videos, the average person probably won’t be able to achieve this. Why not? Because those Apple commercials weren’t just casually shot by a random iPhone owner; they were filmed by a professional team, complete with a producer, a lighting director, a photography director, and more.
What does this have to do with being a TikTok creator? Well, TikTok creators live and die by the quality of their videos. Even if they focus on things like research or presentation above videography, the quality of the camera they’re using does count. Some creators are known for their up-close-and-personal style, which is filmed on a phone or a small camera. Others have videos that are more sleek and put-together, that are filmed with professional-grade cameras and expert videographers.
Which option is the right one for you? That will depend on things like your preferred filming style, your budget, and several other factors. Below you can find the pros and cons of each option, which should help you make the best decision.
Pros of filming with a mobile phone
- There’s less of a learning curve
Using the camera on your phone isn’t rocket science; in fact, you’ve probably already figured out the basics. Once you’ve determined which angles are most flattering and adjusted a few settings, there isn’t much else for you to do. You don’t have to worry about iris control, white balancing, or the other complexities of professional cameras.
- They’re more compact
This has a lot of implications for the way you can film with a phone camera. Not only can you easily hold it at arm’s length, but you can also prop it up on almost anything, put it on a selfie stick, mount it to a skateboard, and much more.
- They’re easier to use
Since phone cameras are made so that anyone can use them, they don’t require much tech know-how in order to operate. You can literally just pull it out of your pocket and start filming, and make a tolerably good video. Plus, the average person is much more likely to have a smart phone than they are to have a professional-grade camera; this alone makes phones a much more accessible way to film videos.
- They’re less expensive
Sure, smart phones can be quite expensive – but they’re still a lot more affordable than professional videographers. You’d have to spend a good chunk of money for each video made by a professional, but a high-quality phone can be purchased for a one-time cost of around $1,000. If your budget doesn’t extend that far, you can even get a phone with a decent camera for $500 or less.
Cons of filming with a mobile phone
- Poor audio
Mobile phones aren’t great at capturing sounds that are made from just a few feet away, which can limit the types of videos you’re able to make.
- Choppy zooming
Regardless of the environment you’re filming in, you’ll probably have to zoom in or out occasionally. This feature is pretty uneven on smart phones, which can lower the overall quality of the video.
Pros of using a professional videographer
- They’ll give you a great result
When you hire a professional to film for you, you can rest assured that every detail will be taken care of. From the lighting to the visual storytelling, a professional videographer will know exactly what to do.
- They’ll provide end-to-end services
A videographer service obviously focuses on the filming first and foremost, but that isn’t all they do. Most professionals will also take care of pre- and post-production if needed, such as development, background setup, editing, and so on. If you were doing everything on your own, you may have to spend a ton of time doing tasks (like video editing) that weren’t really your forte.
- They’re more experienced
You don’t know what you don’t know, which certainly isn’t a plus when you’re filming videos. A professional videographer will know all the tricks of the trade, and will be able to apply them to your videos. This will result in much higher quality content, which can be a key factor in attracting followers on TikTok.
Cons of using a professional videographer
- They have longer turnaround times
This can vary drastically from one videographer to the next; another factor would be the overall complexity of your videos. However, if the alternative is for you to shoot and edit basic videos with your phone, then a videographer would definitely take longer. Not only will they be spending more time on your videos, but they’ll also have other clients to take care of as well. Although this will result in longer turnarounds, you can still get your videos uploaded on time as long as you plan ahead for a steady stream of content.
- They’re more expensive
No surprises here – hiring a videographer will definitely cost more than shooting videos on your cell phone. Not only are you paying for their time, but you’re also paying for their expertise, and that of their team members (if applicable). Fortunately, it’s possible to cut down on costs in some cases. For example, you don’t necessarily have to book a full-service videography team; you could take over some aspects of development, or outsource video editing to someone who can do it more cheaply. You could also hire someone who’s fairly new to videography, since they’ll have lower rates than someone with a decade of experience.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure it’s a good fit for your TikTok account. Filming with a phone can have a more personal, approachable feel, while a videographer can bring a sleek, professional feel to your content. There’s plenty to consider here, but the information above should help you figure out exactly what your TikTok videos need.