The Best Video Recording Setting for your Smartphone

by Barrett

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution on how to set up your iPhone’s video recording menu. But here’s a great default setting that should handle many of your needs.

If you’ve found yourself suddenly thrust into the spotlight of having to record occasional videos of yourself for work-related projects, you’re not alone.

So many of us have been relying on Zoom and other video conference platforms to stay in touch during the pandemic. Yes, these live virtual meetings are carrying much of the load for video communications, but not every moment can be live. Sometimes, you’ve got to prerecord your message and send it in for editing.

Your Smartphone’s Movie-Making Power
And while you can certainly record a video message using your computer (assuming your webcam is working), you should really consider using your smartphone, which can typically generate a much better image. Plus, you’ll probably have a lot more flexibility finding the right spot at home to shoot in.

Before you activate your inner Francis Ford Coppola, you need to choose your smartphone’s best setting for your video message.

Go with 4K Video at 30 FPS
4K video is usually best, because it’s the highest quality that smartphones can generate. (Plus, 4K will give your video editor some flexibility to reposition you in your shot if that’s needed. It’s possible that the final edit won’t be in 4K. So, your editor will be able to crop your shot without losing image quality.)

But I’d recommend recording 4K video at 30 frames per second instead of 60 fps.

Creating 4K video on an iPhone at 60 fps uses a newer video compression format that Apple has coined High Efficiency. It may be more efficient from a file size/image quality perspective, but the highly compressed codec is harder to edit. In fact, there’s potential for audio syncing problems and dropped video frames. What that means is some computers are more prone to creating editing errors due to the heavier technical lift of handling this video format.

So, unless you’re going for slow motion in the video edit or you’re shooting action footage, which benefits from a higher frame rate, you really don’t need 60 fps. (Plus, 60 fps takes up more storage.)

How to Find your iPhone’s Video Recording Menu
To confirm your video recording setting, tap on:

  • Settings
  • Camera
  • Record Video

And this is what you’ll see.

4K at 30 fps is the way to go!*

It’s Time for your Close Up
*Of course there are exceptions. 60 fps recording might be specifically required or 1080p HD video could be good enough for an existing 1080p edit. Plus, older iPhones can’t shoot 4K at 60 fps. (That trick started with iPhone 8 and iPhone X.)

But If you’re just recording video of yourself talking, and you don’t have other technical guidance, it’s hard to go wrong using the 4K 30 fps video setting.

Just don’t forget to keep your main light source in front of you, your smartphone horizontal and any visual distractions off to the side.

Good luck!