6 Tips to capture great “Point of View” video in your smartphone qualitative project.

Smartphone qualitative is an amazing tool to let you see your participants’ lives from their point of view. Sometimes that means riding along on their smartphone and having them video key moments of their daily lives. 

Other times, “point of view” is meant literally, as in “I want to see a video of people actually wiping down their counters and cleaning up around their kitchen, captured from that person’s point of view.”

Point of view capture is easy to do using the Over the Shoulder app; that is, unless the activity you want to see your audience do requires them to use both hands. Here’s a list of activities participants probably won’t be able to do, because they can’t easily hold their smartphones in one hand and do the activity you want to witness with the other:

  • Opening almost any type of package 
  • Making food or drinks, preparing a meal in their kitchen
  • Sorting and washing clothes and cleaning around the house
  • Most beauty or skincare routines (e.g, applying lotion, doing hair, shaving, etc.)

But never fear! By using the right approach and special tools, you can capture true point of view video of just about any activity - even the tricky two-handed ones. 

We’ve tested numerous point of view video capture approaches over the years. Here’s our quick list of tips to help you add it to your next project:

  1. Provide your participants with a point of view smartphone holder to make the task easy. We tested out all of the  available point of view smartphone holders we could find to see which ones are best for smartphone qualitative. Our reviews, recommendations and explanations can be found here.
  2. Choose a point of view smartphone holder that lets your participants see what they’re recording, and gives them easy access to the screen and buttons on their smartphone. Being able to see what they’re recording and see the instructions you’re giving them is crucial to capturing what you want to see and makes the experience far easier for participants.
  3. Carefully consider what you want to capture, and what angle you want to see it from. Some smartphone holders hold the smartphone up higher for a “bird’s-eye” view, others capture from closer to the participant’s eye level. Usually devices that hold the smartphone a little below the participant’s eye level get a better view of what’s going on and capture clearer, more stable video.
  4. Good point of view smartphone holders are reasonably cheap, so choose a seller who will let you order holders and ship them directly to your participants for you. In our experience, it’s easier to let participants keep the holders after rather than coordinating their return.
  5. Ensure that you include a quick tutorial assignment that shows your participants how you want them to set up their point of view smartphone holder. The set-up of a point of view smartphone holder isn’t difficult, but getting your participants set up correctly makes it easier for them and will get you dramatically better-looking videos.
  6. Carefully think through how you’ll walk your participants through the process of capturing point of view video. Tools that walk participants through activities with screen-by-screen instructions make it easy for your participants to capture exactly what you’re looking for without getting confused of frustrated.

Here's an example of a point of view video capture done with the Over the Shoulder app and a "Neck Rig" allowing the participant to unload their dishwasher using both hands, and capture the action. In this case, we've stripped out the audio, but your participants can "narrate" what they're doing and how they're feeling about the process as they capture video.

Want to include your audience’s actually point of view to your project? Give us a call, we’ve got experienced teams of project designers and project managers that would be happy to help!