A Guide to Phones and Front Facing Cameras| 22nd July 2015
With Miituu, taking videos with your front facing camera becomes a powerful communication tool. Selfie videos are no longer just holiday souvenirs or fun updates for friends - you can use them to share valuable communication with audiences to make a real difference. But what phone is best? There are many issues with selfie cameras or front facing cameras on modern smartphones, and here is our rundown of them.
Front facing camera position
The best and most natural videos are where you look directly into the camera. Some natural eye movement is good, but in general focusing on the camera brings you closer to the viewer. It is like you look into their eyes when you talk. With many modern smartphones this can pose a little bit of a challenge, as so many front-facing cameras are positioned off-centre, making it hard to see yourself and look into the camera at the same time. So instead, many videos end up with the viewer not looking quite eye-to-eye with you, or your eyes shifting between looking at the camera and at yourself, checking to see that you’re looking OK.
The phones that have the best camera positions are the iPhones that have the camera right in the middle of the screen. Most cameras on Android phones are either in the top right or the top left, and some are more towards the centre than others. Those are not the only options though! We’ve seen phones with the front camera placed in the lower corner of the screen, which is really impractical. When you next buy a new smartphone with a front facing camera, consider your needs and try recording a selfie video to see how the camera position suits you.
Landscape vs Portrait. How should you be filming with your phone?
There is a lot of debate around how to use your camera when recording video with your phone. Should you always film in landscape position, or is the portrait mode better? The answer is actually pretty simple. If you are recording a video selfie, use the portrait mode - you are the one in focus, and portrait mode captures your face in the right size and format to make it easy and comfortable for the viewer to focus on you and what you are saying. If you are filming with the outward facing camera, hold your phone so that you record in landscape format, as you'll be capturing backgrounds and shooting in the classic film format. So the rule to remember is: use the front facing camera in portrait mode, outward facing camera in landscape mode. It's that simple!
Challenges with front facing cameras
It’s bad enough that the camera is off-centre and makes glancing into it a bit awkward. Some phones have the selfie camera so inconveniently placed that your hand accidentally covers some or all of the lens. Trying to use front facing cameras with low quality, especially when the regular camera is top-notch is a common frustration for customers who might not have checked the quality of both options in the shop. And with the front facing camera often rubbed up against your face, which might have skin products, makeup or just be a bit sweaty, means that you often have to clean the front camera properly before you use it!
Best phones for taking selfie videos
There are many great phones on the market, and those with the best front facing cameras tend to be favourites among people who use their phones a lot for videos and photos of themselves. There are so many great use cases for sharing videos from your front facing camera, from sharing your opinion and recording issues, to pitching ideas and distributing management updates in an organisation. For those with high-spec demands, there are several guides around about what the best phones are for selfie videos. This list collates several extensive reviews of phones with good front-facing cameras, and concludes that HTC Desire Eye is the best selfie phone. Do you agree?
Selfie camera accessories
The now ubiquitous selfie-stick gets a lot of stick (!), but for selfies of larger groups or when you want to record yourself and the landscape behind you, they are surprisingly handy. You get a good selfie-stick for under £10, and Time Magazine have recommended their favourite selfie stick based on extensive research. Another useful accessory for those recording a lot of videos with their front facing camera, for instance business leaders sharing updates with their company, or teams doing staff communication, an extra phone camera lens can be a good investment. This fits onto your phone, and also makes sure the camera is centred, taking away the frustrations of camera angles slightly to the left or right of centre. Here are some popular lenses available.
Best use of selfie videos
While selfies and selfie videos are often just fun, social or slightly narcissistic, there is a lot of professional and business value. More businesses than ever use video to communicate with larger audiences, whether they are staff, customers or board members. In these situations, making sure you have the best tools available for recording good video on your phone is key. And using a software solution like Miituu also makes it easy to manage and distribute your videos on any platform, from intranet portals to websites, in emails or on videowalls.