Whether you're a videophile or a casual videographer looking to capture life's precious moments, your Android phone can help you grab plenty of footage and share it with the world. And, with the help of a few choice apps, you can even carry and play movies right on your phone.

Capture Video

Android includes robust capture capabilities that are limited only by the power of your phone's built-in camera. Though that doesn't mean a complete HD experience on most devices, it does mean your phone can serve as a suitable stand-in when your camcorder is out of reach.

To start shooting video on your phone, launch the Camera app and toggle it to Video mode by tapping the small camcorder/camera switch on the right side of the screen. (This step should seem obvious to most readers, but it's important to hold the phone horizontally as you shoot, since there's no such thing as portrait mode in video.)

Android Camera

While the camera's default settings generally do a good job of automatically compensating for various lighting conditions, you can also fine-tune your capture settings by tapping the Menu button on your phone and choosing Settings. Here you'll find options for adjusting the capture quality, video duration, white balance, and color effects.

Most of the time you'll be shooting in high quality, which can take up a fair amount of space on your phone's SD Card. However, if you're planning to share your videos via MMS messaging, shoot them in low quality to make sure they'll be small enough to send. You can set video duration to 30 seconds (which is good for MMS), 10 minutes (the maximum length for YouTube), or 30 minutes (which is pretty darn long).

Auto white balance is enabled by default, and usually the results are decent. But if you plan to stay in one place while shooting, it's best to select your white balance manually, according to the lighting in your environment. Android's Camera app gives you options for incandescent lighting, daylight, fluorescent lighting, and cloudy days.

If you want to get fancy (some might say obnoxious), you can also opt for colour effects, applying a sepia tone, a negative effect, or a colored tint to your footage. But honestly, if you really want to be creative with your video, just export it to a video editing program on your PC and make changes there. The results will be better and you won't mar your original footage in the process.

When you're happy with your settings, tap the red Record button on the screen to start capturing. And when you're done, tap the same button to save the recording to your SD Card.