Using your computer to monitor your smartphone

How To See Your Smartphone On A Laptop

Using your computer to monitor your smartphone – like a big external monitor would solve a lot of problems don’t you think? The biggest problem facing the solo smartphone video maker is the front/back camera dilemma: The back facing camera is generally higher resolution but in situations where you are filming yourself, you can’t see what you are filming. There is a solution as I reveal in the video below.

When I’m shooting with my Canon DSLR I can control most of its functions from my laptop via a long cable. The solution I have here doesn’t offer you that level of functionality from a smartphone but it does let you monitor the back facing camera on a laptop via wifi.

Mirroring Devices To A Computer

There are two parts to this hack. The first is using your computer to monitor your smartphone camera with a mirroring app called Reflector by Used extensively in classrooms to mirror smartphone and tablet screens to a laptop and projector, it serves our purpose well too. Using Reflector you can frame up shots easily – although you do still need to zoom manually on the phone if you need to.

The second part is to start and stop the camera when you are ready to go. As I mentioned before, this is easily achieved with an inexpensive bluetooth shutter release. In fact with an Iphone you could probably do this by voice command using Siri.

Reflector also lets you record what you’re filming but that isn’t a feature I personally have a use for. The quality is not ideal for a start – not terrible by any means but nowhere near as good as your phone’s back camera. The whole point here is to take advantage of that camera’s better resolution after all. The same goes for sound. I always record audio separately and marry sound and video together in the edit. Again, Reflector records audio too but it will only be as good as your camera or laptop’s in built microphones i.e. Not great.

A Flexible Solution

You can start using your computer to monitor your smartphone with Reflector for free as they offer a 7 day trial. You will have their logo watermarked on any recording you make during the trial period but that’s not a problem for this application. It’s then available in single or multiple licences. A single cost $14.99 and the unit price goes down the more licences you buy. Finally it works with both Mac and Windows computers and with both IOS and android devices.

You’ll find Refector 2 at