Film making by phone

As a cameraman I have been brought up using professional cameras, lenses and microphones to achieve good quality video content for my clients. But increasingly we are filming not just on larger pro equipment but also with smaller hand-held devices and even smart phones. Many mobile phones today have the ability to shoot very good video and some phones now have small editing apps allowing you to cut your clips, add transitions and even put on a music track. So with this in mind I thought I would put my iPhone 14 to the test.
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Shooting a short video on my iPhone

I decided to shoot a short video to promote local artist Gina Pipet in and around her studio in East London. Everything was shot on my iPhone and we even manage to record a voice-over so that Gina could narrate her own story. Then I brought all the footage into the iMovie app on the phone and cut up the shots and added transitions (cuts) and music etc.

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Filming with a mobile phone isn’t straightforward

Firstly, holding it steady isn’t easy; so investing in a grip that mounts the phone is a good idea. Also, getting the focus correct requires some practice as the phone lenses do not work the same way as camera lenses and I sometimes had to   tell the phone (by tapping the screen) exactly what part of the shot needed to be sharp. But with some work the end results can look quite impressive. The main thing to remember when shooting with a mobile phone is that while you can get good quality video images the phone won’t create a story for you. Every good video should tell a story and that is something you will have to plan for yourself. A series of shots, however well edited, don’t create a strong narrative. My advice would be to plan your story in advance; ask yourself who is your audience and what exactly is it that you want to tell them? Then get some practice with your phone, maybe even buy yourself a phone grip, and finally decide what shots you are going to use. Editing on a mobile phone is fiddly but that is mainly because you are working with a small screen and you have to drag and drop things using your fingertips.

All in all the end result with my video was pretty good and you can see it here. Everything you see (and hear) was shot and edited on an iPhone 14. If you would like some tips on improving your video skills with a mobile phone we run bespoke half or full day courses and we even will give a few hours tuition if that is what you need.