Yes, you can make video with your iPhone that people will watch, even without these absolute essentials, but not for long and not on a continuing basis. So, for example, you can film your cute kittens playing for a few minutes and post it on your Facebook profile and it might go viral.
However, if you are charging a reasonable amount of money for people to take your course and learn from it, the idea is to keep the video quality from being a distraction. Here are the three most important factors to address when making videos with your iPhone or any smart phone.
- Audio – I’m putting this one first because people can learn from a poor quality video as long as they can hear what you have to say. Nothing will turn them off faster than sound that is buzzy or not loud enough. To address this, you must consider the microphone quality of your phone and the ambient noise level of your recording space. It is possible to record adequate (not great) quality audio with your phone’s internal microphone IF the phone is very close to the speaker and if there is no other noise in the room. However, it is much more likely you will records adequate sound using even an inexpensive external microphone, such as the Boya lavalier. This mic cost about $20 and has a 20-foot cord, so it’s a great choice. If wires or clipping a microphone to your shirt are undesireable, you can also get good sound from an iPhone compatible shotgun microphone, such as the Rhode mini.
- Lighting – This is the second most important aspect of making a quality smart phone video, or any video for that matter. It isn’t 100% necessary to invest in a fancy lighting kit. Good lighting can be accomplished by shooting in front of a window with diffused light, or by arranging the lamps you already have to shed balanced light on your face. As you progress, you may find that an LED ring light or a set of LED panel lights will provide consistency and flexibility for your video needs, however.
- The third essential is to keep the camera steady – I’m putting this last, because most smart phones produced in the last few years have excellent anti-shake mechanisms that allow you to shoot hand-held video that is watchable. However it is super-easy to find ways to stabilize your camera phone by using an inexpensive tripod, or even a stack of books to lean the phone against.
So these are the three basics needed to shoot good video of yourself or someone else as they teach, using any smart phone. Remember, this is just one option for educational videos. You can also use screen casting software and teach using the content on your computer screen, such as slideshows or screenshots. Both a good options and it’s great to mix them up for your course. It is certainly important to use video of a real person speaking to the camera (and through that to a wide audience) to promote your courses, so as long as you have a phone with a camera (who doesn’t these days) and cover the three points above, you are ready to go.