Written by the Lenovo Companion App Content Team

Ever wonder how much money it’d take to create professional-looking videos? You could invest in expensive equipment or hire a professional. Or you could use the camera you carry around in your pocket every day. With proper technique, it’s possible to get some surprisingly good videos on a camera phone. The key is to pay close attention to lighting and sound. And, of course, get comfortable with basic editing techniques.

“Don’t throw a bunch of money at shooting videos,” says Lenovo Videographer Chris Uy. (You may remember this tip from our beginner's guide.) “If you have a decent camera, there’s really no need to spend a lot more to make them look good.”

Instead, Uy says, you can use low-to-no-cost software to edit the videos you’ve captured on your favorite mobile device. Tap into these super simple secrets from the pros to produce your own killer creations.

Polish the video you’ve captured.

Try to focus on getting as much right as possible when filming your video. Definitely pay attention to the lighting and sound so you won’t have to spend as much time editing.

But we do realize even with the best possible lighting and sound, most videos will still benefit from touchups. A few simple “polishing” methods can turn a  video into something you’ll be really excited to share. For example, you can use an app like Windows Movie Maker to:

  • Crop out parts of a shot you don’t want to appear in the final video
  • Trim out sections you don’t need, like those awkward before- and after- moments when someone’s turning the camera on and off

If you really want to go pro, an advanced tool like Adobe Premiere will offer even more functionality you can use to clip, drag and drop your way to high-quality productions.

Keep it simple.

When you’re first starting out, it can be tempting to add a lot of text annotations and slow motion effects. But these mistakes can lower the overall quality of your videos.

For a polished look, stay simple. This means going easy on transitions. Video editing apps will let you control how your movie plays from one video clip to the next, with options to bounce, slide and even zigzag. In the end, all those fancy options can get really distracting.

“In movies and professional commercials, you’ll notice that most transitions are straight cuts and simple dissolves," says Uy. "These types of transitions are best for most videos."

The same goes for sound, speed and visual effects. Simpler is almost always better.

Get great audio.

True, you don’t want to go crazy with sound effects. But that doesn’t mean you have to feel stuck with your original audio. Many of the best online videos play to a backdrop of background music instead. Uy recommends YouTube’s free audio library for a great song selection. Or you could check the Vimeo music store to license video-friendly soundtracks. Lenovo also has a partnership with OpenLabs, the creators of Stagelight software, which enables you to easily create music on your PC

And finally, watch a few of the latest tutorials offered by your video editing app of choice. When you’re just starting out, these are often the fastest, easiest and cheapest ways to learn how you can start strong and finish with a flourish.

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