9 must-try tips to improve your TikTok technique

Earlier this week TikTok revealed its 10 most viral videos of 2022. With this in mind, we take a closer look at the highest-ranking TikTok videos to identify some top tips to improve your TikTok technique…

Of course, we know that TikTok is the social media app of choice for those wanting to express themselves through short videos, sharing, and content discovery. Whether it’s singing, dancing, comedy, and lip-syncing, users can’t seem to get enough of the short clips.

Making TikTok videos stand out is key to thousands if not millions of likes or followers. Armed with a smartphone or camera Tiktokers are getting more creative and using technology, like gimbals, to push the limits of creative video making.

Together with the team at ZHIYUN, who manufacture smartphone and camera gimbals, we’re providing our top 9 tips for making those go-viral videos.

1. Light it up 

Set the tone, mood and atmosphere with lighting

Lighting is an essential aspect of producing a successful video. TikToker Christian Shay mentioned that lighting is very important, so choose what works best for you. Use proper light control and manipulation for texture, the vibrancy of colour, and luminosity of your subjects.

A handy tool to help you out with your lighting is the ZHIYUN FIVERAY F100 light stick, a portable photography tool with six different lighting effects including fire, faulty bulb, and candle, allowing you to create ambience and illuminate your subject, day or night.

2. Fake a drone shot 

Aerial shots are possible without a drone

“Pushing Forward” is a straightforward shot. Attach your gimbal to an extension pole, tripod, or monopod, extend and raise it over your head, and then begin walking forward toward your subject.

Here shadow sensitivity is key: your extension pole and camera, like a drone’s shadow, can get in the way of the shot. Avoid your shadow in the shot by being cautious when shooting, i.e. don’t shoot with the sun directly behind you. 

3. Do the Ninja walk 

Get the right walk for that smooth level shot

TikToker Lacapture said that smooth videos necessitate the use of additional skills, such as the Ninja walk.

Keep your knees bent and your muscles engaged but still allow for movement. Now take a step forward and roll your foot gently from heel to ball of your foot while compensating for the small differences in height with your legs.

This will take some practice and may feel strange at first, but your videos will become smoother and smoother with each attempt. 

4. Mix it up 

Change up shooting style for added interest

When people get their first gimbal, one of the most common mistakes is thinking they have to use the gimbal for every shot.

Mix it up! If we take our inspiration from movies, most don’t have gliding shots all the time. Most use a shot mixed with still or handheld shots. Take a moment and think about what you want to show with the gimbal shot.

5. Choose your mode 

Select the right mode on your gimbal to open up a world of cinematic possibilities

Most gimbals are pretty straightforward and work in a similar way, with a set of modes tailored to specific filmmaking scenarios. Some modes, for example, limit one or more of the pan, tilt, and roll axis movements to make shots smoother and other modes allow you to move in any direction, giving your gimbal complete control.

TikToker Davidddodle shared on his channel that the most commonly used modes with gimbals to help you get to capture some awesome stylised footage include:

  1. Auto face tracking – here the gimbal will lock onto and follow your face without your having to move the gimbal

  2. Inception mode or a 360-degree spin shot

Other gimbal modes often employed are: complete follow, follow pan, locking and view.

Have a play shooting in different settings and find a mode that works for you.

6. Explore dedicated gimbal apps

Apps allow you to explore your creativity

All gimbals come with apps, for example, the ZY Cami app. This app is adaptable and it can provide Tiktokers with an intuitive solution for the creation and editing of video content.

You can let your imagination run wild with a 4K video recording at 60 frames per second. 

Or you can choose panorama mode which manages to capture the magnificence of landscapes, while timelapse, hyperlapse, and motion lapse modes add dimensions and perspectives to your video.

7. Time-lapse for a movie feel

Turn your video into a movie scene with motion time-lapse mode

Many of today’s films and TV shows use this technique to emphasise journeys or the passage of time, and it has always been an effective feature.

Almost all new phones include timelapse features that allow you to create videos that are easily editable and better suited for individual and small-scale content creation.

In general, static subjects won’t help much. Something has to move in the background for it to be interesting.

8. Take control with your gestures

Taking a photo or recording a video is now as simple as making a V peace sign gesture

TikToker Btypep mentioned in his video that by using a gimbal with your phone you can start your videos with hand gestures such as the v-shaped peace sign or presenting your palm forward and it will automatically track your face to start shooting. It can even track your face to make filming easier. 

A good starter gimbal to choose for this feature would be: ZHIYUN SMOOTH Q4, a compact stabiliser with an extendable rod for extreme angle shooting. It offers gesture control, as well as slow-motion shooting.

9.  Capture fast-paced action

Moving shots add dynamism

When you film something on your smartphone it’s often a bit shaky, so you can use a gimbal which uses sensors and motors to stabilise and support your phone camera. This is even more important when filming shots with a lot of movement such as your latest dance or sports routines. Dynamic shots add interest and draw in your audience.

A smartphone gimbal such as the ZHIYUN Smooth 5, using your camera’s autofocus and the gimbal’s modes to pan and lock onto your subject, will aid in the stabilisation of your content and the creation of smooth clips.

Chris Price