Orca’s Guide to Creating Short-Form Videos for Social Media

September 5, 2023 | lora reuther

It’s widely known that video remains the dominant medium on most social media platforms. With the majority of our online scrolling revolving around Instagram reels and TikTok videos, brands are eager to create and share their own video content. Videos have proven to achieve greater reach and engagement compared to photos or other posts. If your brand is considering launching a TikTok or Instagram page and you’re eager to share compelling video content, we invite you to explore our guide to creating short-form videos for social media to help you kickstart your journey.

Video Gear – What You Need to Get Started

It’s easy to get started creating short-form videos for social media. Of course, you could purchase all of the bells and whistles and spend thousands of dollars on a high-end camera, lighting, and editing software, but a lot of videos shared on social media by influencers are being created right on their phones. A good phone known for recording quality video is a great place to get started. Digital Camera World offers a list of the best phones for video including the iPhone 14 Pro Max. 

For audio recording, you can rely on your phone’s microphone, but if you’re looking to create serious content consider purchasing an external smartphone microphone. It will improve the overall sound quality of your videos but also make it easier when filming or recording voiceovers. A popular option is the Boya M1 and you can pursue more options in Guiding Tech’s microphone guide

Lighting is one of the most important steps when filming and can be the deciding factor on whether your video looks good and performs well. Well-lit, bright, and clean environments make the visual experience more pleasant for the audience. If your budget does not allow for lights opt for shooting outdoors if possible and film around the golden hour – the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset. If filming indoors, set up near a window to take advantage of the outdoor lighting instead of harsh overhead lights in your home. This can be tricky so you will have to try different angles or try bouncing the light off of a piece of poster board onto the subject’s face.

If you have the money to invest in lighting, ring lights are a popular choice and can even attach to your camera or phone for ease when filming. You can go even bigger with professional studio lighting or an LED light. Check out this guide on the best lights for video filming from Expert Reviews.

Let’s tie up a couple more loose ends before we jump into filming. To get a steady shot, invest in a phone tripod. It’s very hard to film when holding your phone  – without stabilization, your video will come out shaky. To get a stable shot you can try the Manfrotto Pixi Mini Tripod + MClamp which is the top choice on ZDNET’s guide. You’ll want to look for a tripod that is portable, lightweight, and easy to use. Don’t forget to bring along your earbuds, a portable charger, and a nice bag to carry everything including any props you decide to bring along. 

How to Come Up With Content Ideas

Now that you have all of your equipment to film you’re going to need some nifty ideas and maybe a script before filming. It isn’t absolutely necessary to plot out every scene or write out all of the dialog before filming. In fact, many influencers prefer to film spontaneously for a more natural, organic feel. Your audience will want to feel like they are connecting with you and having a conversation. At other times, planning out your videos will be important and you will want to have the idea and the essential details planned out. 

But where to find cool and trendy video ideas? The first place to start is to dig around your own imagination. Plan a brainstorming session with your team to come up with ideas that fit your brand’s aesthetic, voice, and personality. Ask yourself questions like these to come up with ideas: What products are you currently promoting? What are your customer’s needs? What questions do your customers have about your product? Are there any seasonal themes or cultural trends that tie into your product? Asking these types of questions and more will help you to find unique angles. Don’t just rely on that thought. Spend many hours scrolling through TikTok or Instagram to see what trends are popping up. You can find inspiration for your videos but also get a feel for what your niche is wanting at the moment and how your product can deliver. 

Using a social media calendar to plan all of your videos is essential to stay on course. It’s important to post consistently and often to keep your audience engaged and checking in on your page. After you have the ideas in place, plan when you will shoot, edit, and share them by using your calendar. Having a month’s worth of content ready before the start of the new month is the best way to ensure you are sharing often and doing it efficiently. 

The Day of the Shoot

It’s production day! Did you remember to pack everything before heading out in case you are going to a different location? Have a checklist on hand to make sure you remember to get every shot along with any specific notes on dialog or position. Tidy up your space to ensure there isn’t any clutter or other products you don’t want in your video such as food or electronics. Give yourself enough time to record so you don’t rush your shooting. Test out shots before filming to help correct any issues and shake out the nerves. Test your sound and lighting to make sure everything looks and sounds good before filming to avoid having to reshoot. Did you remember to bring along your crew? Grab a friend or employee who is savvy with makeup or props. 

When filming, remember that each platform has different video requirements. Whether it’s the length of the video, the size, or the format, review each social media platform’s requirements to make sure your video uploads correctly. You can check out this video sizing guide from Sprout Social.

And take several takes of your video just in case. Once you get back to your computer you want to avoid having to go out and film again. 


You’ve done everything right and have all of the perfect video shoots. Now it’s time to piece it all together. Editing short-form phone videos for social media can be easy if you use the app to record your video content. Instagram and TikTok provide in-app editing to shoot, edit, and post immediately. However, if you capture your video off the app or on a professional camera you’ll need to use video editing software on your PC or phone that suits your needs and preferences. 

After you’ve imported your video footage, review all of your cool shots to find the best moments and begin to piece it all together. Trim any unnecessary content or imperfections. You want to keep your video concise while having an engaging story. Enhance the visuals by adjusting brightness, contrast, and saturation levels. Experiment with creative effects, filters, and transitions to add flair. You can find these right in the app if you are using the social media platform to edit. Don’t forget to listen closely to the audio to remove any background noise and adjust the volume levels. If adding music, you’ll want to ensure that you can hear the person above the music and that the music isn’t making it sound too busy. Once you are finished editing, export the video in the format suitable for the social media platform you are posting to, and share it with the world!