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The Top 5 Smartphone Video Production Tips You Need

Filmmaking changed forever when our phones turned into video-ready cameras. Before smartphones came standard with high-end cameras, we had to either outsource our video production or rent expensive gear. Today you have a high quality camera in your pocket every day of the week. 

Using your smartphone to capture video isn’t quite as easy as snapping off a great selfie. A little more goes into putting together a video, but don’t let that hold you back! There are plenty of artists putting together award winning movies made on smartphones. 

To make the most out of your smartphone, you’ll need to learn the basics. This blog covers everything you need to know to start making high quality movies using nothing more than the smartphone you already own. 

Start With Software

Whether you have an Android or an Apple phone, it likely came bundled with some photographic software. These built-in apps are designed with photography in mind. 

While these apps are great for still images, most of them weren’t made with video in mind. 

To get great video off of your smartphone, you’re going to need to give your hardware a boost. There are many dedicated video apps in the app store of your choice. You want to find one with solid reviews and a great reputation. The best way to find one is to see what the artist you like are using. Search around for filmmakers making content similar to what you are hoping to create and find out what apps they are using.

Most of these apps have free “light” versions, but the paid stuff is typically very affordable. After all, the whole point of this is filmmaking using gear we already have! 

Speaking of gear, let’s take a look at your smartphone.

Let’s Talk Gear

Today’s top smartphones are built with 4k graphics in mind. Many of the latest phones can even handle this while in video mode. If yours can’t, don’t let that get you down. Hollywood movie studios still use lower resolutions like 2k as a standard and the smaller size of today’s viewing screens means that lower resolutions images can get better results. 

So the smartphone you own is likely already good to go for filmmaking. 

As far as additional gear goes, that’s all project dependent. Lighting and sound will likely require additional gear for some truly great results, but the basics can all be handled on the phone you already own. 

In order to get good results, you still need to know the fundamentals of filmmaking. 

Film Basics 

If you put a two million dollar camera into inexperienced hands you will get shaky results. Likewise, your smartphone in the hands of a legendary filmmaker could make a great movie. 

These are the basics you need to know if you want to start filming on any camera including your smartphone. 

  • Steady Shooting - Shaky footage went out of style in the mid 2000s. A good rule of thumb is to have three points of contact on your camera for basic stabilization. You can even purchase stabilizing rigs for your smartphone! 
  • Lighting - No amount of filmmaking experience or gear can make up for not being able to see your subject. You can use the natural light of the sun or indoor lights for basic applications. External lights will give you the freedom to control your lighting and shoot as you please. 
  • Composition - You’ll hear this a lot: The Rule of Thirds. Imagine you can draw a grid with six boxes on a screen. Your subject should be taking up the middle two vertical boxes. Advanced techniques use other “thirds” in this grid for more interesting shots. 

These basics will have you getting solid results even with the most basic gear! 

Getting Great Sound

Sound is a fundamental aspect of film. 

Your smartphone can take great pictures, but the built in microphone is really only there to handle phone calls and video chats. 

To get great audio for your film, you’ll need to take a note from the pros and plug an external mic into your phone.

There are many external mics specifically designed for this purpose. Look for a shotgun mic designed for smartphones and you’ll have sound just as good as your video! 

Putting it All Together

With the right filmmaking app, good sound, and an understanding of filmmaking basics, you can make a great movie with the smartphone in your pocket! 

Now that you know the basics, get out there and start filming! 

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