How to film good videos with your phone

At Ark we are obviously big advocates of video marketing in all its various forms.  Whilst we help our clients with the more glossy films with high production values  we also believe there is space for vlogs and other promotional films that you can record on your iPhone and use as part of your video marketing strategies.

Video is how people are consuming content.  Providing your videos are on brand then there is no reason why you can’t consider bringing a home made option into your video mix.

We’ve put together our top tips for filming from your phone or your iPad:

  1. Record in landscape not portrait (unless you want the black strips down the side when you upload to social channels)

  2. You need a decent phone with a decent camera. Even the older smart phones don’t have a great quality camera. If this is something you are serious about. Upgrade.

  3. Don’t film with the light behind you. It will cause too many shadows and you wont be able to see the subjects face properly.  If you are filming outdoors, an overcast day is better than a really sunny day.   Sunny days cause lots of shadows.  If you have to film when it’s sunny keep the sun to the side, not behind or in front of the subject.

  4. Sound – there is often lots of background noise, even if its just a general hum of activity. You can buy microphones to clip to your lapel for better quality sound. There are loads on the market and many are under £50

  5. Think about your message – what message do you want to get across to your audience? Do you have a call to action?  Who is it you are talking to?

  6. Practice – Get used to talking to the camera. Pretend you are recording live even though you’re not.  If you manage to get through a first take it often becomes easier than stopping halfway through and starting from scratch.   The more video you do – the easier it gets.

  7. Put your phone in air plane mode so that you aren’t disturbed by incoming calls

  8. Check you have sufficient battery power

  9. Hold the phone still and if you are moving the phone to look at different things hold it in place for at least 5 seconds rather than whizzing the camera around and making your viewer feel sick! You could consider a stand or a stabiliser to help with this.  E.g The Arkon Tripod Holder or the Osmo Mobile Device.  Others are available!

  1. Frame your subject – think of the your screen with a grid over it. You are aiming to have your subjects eyes (even if this is you) 2/3rds of the way up the screen.   If they are talking to someone off camera in interview style you need to leave enough space in the shot for the area they are talking to.

  2. Recycle your videos – think about all the different places and ways you can use the same piece of content.  Your video could go on your social channels, your website, your newsletter and when you have a few could you edit into a mashup or a greatest hits post, for example, and use them again across your various platforms.


Client shortlisted for innovative training video

Our client and leading property consultancy, Fisher German, has won a prestigious award for the innovative training video we produced which will save utility companies thousands of pounds.

Fisher German has triumphed in the Innovation category of the West Midlands RICS Awards 2018 for its Toolbox Talk Video which provides specialist training on construction projects

You can learn more about the project here

Welcoming Ashley to the Ark Team

We are really pleased to welcome the talented Ashley Gardiner to the Ark Media Team.   Ashley is an acclaimed freelance Producer and Assistant Director who will be using his creative talents across a number of our client accounts.

Ashley has worked on many well-known television productions such as Hollyoaks, Casualty and the kid’s animation series Twirlywoos.   As well as his television work Ashley has been heavily involved in a number of commercial and branded content projects for brands such as Ford, Arla Foods and Mum & You.

Ashley comes on board at a great time for Ark as our client base continues to expand (it’s a good job we moved into our bigger office!).

Phil Arkinstall, MD at Ark explains “The video marketing sector continues to grow as brands and businesses realise the importance of video as a comms tool.   As a result, the Ark team is growing so that we can provide our clients not only with the best filming equipment but also a talented team to deliver on a project”.  

Ashley Gardiner joins Ark Media ProductionsHere’s Ashley telling us about himself in his own words: “I started my career after graduating from University with a 2:1 in TV & Film Production.  Over the following 8 years, I worked my way up the ladder from runner to 1st AD and then onto Producing which is where I am now.  I specialise in commercials, branded films, music videos and anything in between”.

Recently Ashley has been working on our projects for Intu Derby, Pirelli (via WAA Chosen) and Fisher German.


Ark Media ranked in the UK Top 50

The team at Ark Media are celebrating being ranked as one of the Top 50 corporate video production companies in the UK.

The Top 50 Report is published by the media industry’s Televisual magazine and as well as the rankings also includes commentary on the state of the corporate video production landscape.

Key Areas Businesses are Facing

The report highlights several key areas that businesses looking to produce videos are facing.  Organisations are understanding that bolder more creative videos are essential to stand out as more and more businesses are producing video content.   The report goes on to say that brands are wanting authentic content that can be repurposed across different platforms, thus ensuring budgets are maximised and that content can be utilised to engage audiences in different places.  4k is also something that clients increasingly expect as well as assistance with the strategic planning of a video campaign rather than simply the production.

What Did Our MD Say?

Phil Arkinstall, Managing Director at Ark Media says “I am thrilled that Ark have been ranked within the Top 50, this is a testament to the work that the whole team are producing.  Businesses are becoming increasingly video savvy. We have clients who use video for both external and internal communications as it resonates and engages audiences much more than any other medium.   The past 12 months have seen us invest in some significant new kit including the ability to film in 360 as well as provide personalised videos which means we can produce really innovative and engaging films.   It’s great to be acknowledged by a publication such as Televisual”.

The report goes on to say that collaborative working between digital, PR and marketing agencies is essential.

Phil continues “We have developed strong working relationships with a number of digital and marketing agencies, they know that utilising the skills, equipment and experience of specialist camera operators, producers and video campaign planners will increase production values and ultimately get their clients a better result”. 

The Top 50 ranking follows an extremely successful year including a number of Award wins such as the Global Video Trend Awards, Vega Digital Awards, Muse Award and an RTS nomination.

How to brief a video agency

If you’ve got your video marketing strategy sorted then you know what you want to achieve overall (if you haven’t you might want to read this article) so writing the brief for your videos should be pretty straightforward – shouldn’t it?

We recommend thinking about the following questions and writing out or talking through your brief with your chosen video production company:

  • What is it you want to achieve? (yes, you have your overall video marketing strategy but what is it you want to achieve from each individual video?)

  • Who are you targeting?

  • What sort of videos are you thinking about?  You may have a vision or need suggestions from the professionals as to what will work best.

  • How are you planning to distribute?  (you overall strategy will likely hold these answers)

  • Who is writing the script?

  • Who is organising filming?

  • Will you be using professionals – actors, voiceovers and so on?

  • Have you thought of how animation may benefit your video (this depends on the type of film you are producing but often animation can be something that is forgotten about in terms of how it can be used in different ways for full videos or as part of videos)

  • Do you have an ideal spend?  Clients can sometimes be reluctant to divulge this information but it’s important to manage expectations. We wouldn’t want a client expecting to have a particular piece of music or George Clooney as a voice over on a £2000 budget!

  • How are you planning to measure success?

Answering the majority of these questions will provide your video agency or production company with a really clear brief for your project ensuring you get what you need to achieve your objectives.

What we’ve been up to so far this year…

It’s only Feb and we’ve already been involved in a number of different client projects.  We thought we would give you a glimpse behind the scenes of some of the video projects Team Ark have been involved with so far this year…

Nominated as business of the year

I am thrilled to announce that we have been nominated for yet another award. The Sutton Coldfield Business of the Year Award.   The Awards ceremony, hosted by the local Chamber of Commerce, will be held on 26th January at The Belfry and we will be at the ceremony with our fingers crossed for a win.

That said we are up against three other local prestigious businesses and organisations – Moor Hall Hotel, Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School and Wright Restaurants so we have some stiff competition.

As someone who was born and bred in Sutton Coldfield, it’s great to be nominated.   I’m really proud of everything the team has achieved during 2017.  More and more people are consuming video content especially via mobile devices and we are seeing our client base increase to include organisations from all sorts of industry sectors.  We have some fantastic plans for 2018 including developing personalised videos and our 360 videos and this would be a great kick-off to the year.  It’s good to be nominated next to other successful local organisations especially my old school – Bishop Vesey!”

Ark had a run of award wins in 2017 and we are hoping this continues into 2018.  In the last 18 months alone we have won several accolades for various client projects. These include a Muse Rose Gold Award and a Global Trends Award for our work on the world’s first dual nation hackathon which was filmed simultaneously in Riyadh and London and supported by the Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.   The Muse awards attracted over 1500 submissions from 35 countries.

In Summer 2017 a team from Ark accompanied local charity, YMCA Sutton Coldfield, on a trip to Israel and Palestine.  We filmed a short documentary of the trip which was nominated for a Royal Television Society Award.

In addition to our UK based work, over the summer of 2017, we also filmed with our client, Blue Explorers Dive Resort in Gran Canaria.  The promotional video work produced has already exceeded targets for the dive school and won a coveted Vega Digital Award for Best Online Travel Video.


An office move

To give our growing team a little more space we have recently moved offices.  Our new address is

Sovereign House, Suite 5, 22 Gate Lane, Boldmere, Sutton Coldfield, B73 5TT

We thought we would show off by showing you around our new office with an interactive 360 video.

360 video is something that we have only just started to offer clients.  It enables you to give your viewers an immersive video experience. Your audience gets to control what they see either by using a VR headset or with their device.  360 videos are a powerful way of putting your viewers in control and ensuring better engagement rates.

Winners at the Vega Digital Awards

We seem to be on a roll when it comes to awards at the moment.  We are now proud winners of a Vega Digital award as a result of our work with Blue Explorers Dive Resort in Gran Canaria.

With over 1,500 submissions from 32 countries throughout the world, this was a great achievement.

Phil Arkinstall, Managing Director at Ark says “2017 has seen Ark working on some fantastic projects and gaining recognition for this work. This particular project saw the team tasked with producing a series of films for Blue Explorers Dive Resort in Gran Canaria.  With a small crew, we were able to produce a stunning brand film which is already generating additional enquiries for the company”.

“I am determined that Ark Media will remain at the cutting edge of video production technology.  We have recently invested in the technology to produce personalised videos and interactive 360-degree videos so we hope to continue our winning streak into 2018” said Phil.

Vega Digital Awavega award - Ark Mediards is an international competition catered to all creative professionals who inspire through concept, writing or design through traditional or electronic media. “We wish to recognize the singular achievements of small and medium-sized web design and advertising companies, and the creative professionals who are the driving force behind global digital communications industry,” said Kenjo Ong, President for the International Awards Associates (IAA). “We hope to find, encourage and reward the newest and brightest stars emerging in the world of digital communications.”

Vega Digital Awards is administered and judged by IAA Global and a carefully selected panel of internationally-recognized creative professionals. Entries in 200+ professional and student categories were rated according to rigorous standards. During the blind judging period, the panellists searched for and identified the most innovative and creative concepts, the strongest executions, and the highest quality in the digital media. Winners were selected from a broad scope of categories, from broadcast and print to social media and emerging platforms.

This year’s Vega Awards competition included entries from 32 countries around the world. “Winning a Vega Award is a career milestone for recipients,” Ong said. “Only the best entries received recognition. We congratulate this year’s winners, and wish them great success.”