We’ve all heard the idiom ‘a picture paints a thousand words’ – and it seems that videos are even more effective. According to the leading research and advisory firm Forrester, a minute of video is thought to be worth around 1.8 million words, and viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text.

When it comes to engaging new candidates and showcasing your company, videos are enormously powerful. It’s so much easier to convey feelings and emotions through images or videos than through words.

But, videos need to be authentic and glossy, over-produced corporate videos can often have the wrong effect. So when it comes to onboarding especially, it’s much better to equip yourself, or your employees, with a mobile phone and shoot real footage that you can knit together to make a video that really reflects what’s great about your organisation and your people.

It may seem that putting together your own videos is an expensive and daunting task, so we’ve highlighted some useful tips for recording footage with your mobile, and also picked out three easy to use video editing tools to help you stick your footage together, proving that you don’t need to be Steven Spielberg to create good content for your portal.

Smartphone in camera stand

Tips for recording on your mobile

Most of us already have all the equipment necessary to create professional looking videos in our pockets. Even expert video content creators are seeing the benefits of swapping high-tech equipment for smartphone cameras to shoot, and it’s easy to see why. With so many free/cheap apps out there which allow you to extend your camera’s functionality, you can easily achieve great looking onboarding videos on your mobile. Here’s our top tips on how to get the most out of your smartphone’s camera.

Get your lighting right

Modern mobiles usually work well in both daylight and artificial light, but it’s worth taking the time to make sure you get the result you are looking for. Before recording, identify where your main light source is, and alter the camera’s position or the position of the subject accordingly. Avoid recording in any back-lit settings (i.e. when your subject is in front of the light source), otherwise you’ll end up with a featureless silhouette, which is far from ideal! Instead, position your light source either to the side of the subject or behind the cameraman to get the best results.

Clean your lens

Ok, it doesn’t take a genius to figure this one out, but it’s surprising how often people forget to do it. A dirty lens leads to blurry, poor quality footage, so get into the habit of cleaning your camera with a soft lint-free cloth (as recommended by Apple) before you begin shooting.

Landscape, not portrait!

It’s vital that you use landscape, rather than portrait orientation when filming. Portrait is less aesthetically pleasing for the viewer to look at, and it’s obvious that the video has been shot on a phone. By keeping your phone horizonal when recording, you’ll create better, viewer-friendly footage, and you’ll also be able to capture more in the video as it allows for a wider shot.

Manual zoom

If possible, you should avoid using your phone’s zoom function – digital zooms enlarge the image’s pixels and its quality therefore diminishes. It’s much better to get closer to the subject. You’ll get much clearer footage and achieve a higher level of professionalism as a result.


Although most smart phones have fantastic video recording capabilities already, accessories are a great way to further enhance the quality of your videos. There’s nothing like a shaky camera to detract your viewer from the video’s content, so investing in a tripod to steady the camera would be a sound purchase. Additional lenses can also be bought to enhance the quality of your phone camera (to get a wider shot for instance), and you can buy external microphones to improve the sound quality of your audio.

Once you’ve got your footage recorded and ready, it’s time to put it all together. We’ve picked out three useful video editing tools that you can use.


Biteable sell themselves as being the ‘world’s simplest video maker’, and you can see why!
With their simple drag and drop timeline function, and quick preview and publishing options, it’s easy to put together fun, engaging videos. With hundreds of stock animations, photo scenes and pre-made templates at your disposal, you have a whole host of styles to choose from, and you can upload your own footage, pictures or music, to make the video more personalised to your company.



Moovly is a flexible tool with higher levels of customisation and depth. Although users may initially find it more difficult to get to grips with, all in all, it’s not an overly complicated platform to use, and you’ll be able to create much more personalised and in-depth videos as a result. With over 600,000 templates, videos, animations and sounds on offer too, it’s well worth the $5 a month subscription fee.



Maybe you already have a company slideshow that you could repurpose to use on your portal, or a bunch of photos from the last company outing that shows the social side of your organisation. Why not use PowerPoint to convert it to a video – add a voiceover, some music and add it to your portal. You’ll have engaging, informative content, with minimal hassle.


Help new joiners with a video in your onboarding portal, which can be found in our HR systems. Are there any other tips or tools you’ve found particularly useful when creating videos? Leave us a comment with your suggestion and we’ll add them to the list!

Chris Wells author image

Chris Wells

A graduate of the University of Birmingham, Chris is an experienced marketing manager who now works for prestigious publishing firm HarperCollins.