From the Blog

Shooting on Mobile: Effective Tips in Creating Films Using Phones

There’s no use denying how smartphones have made our lives easier and more convenient. We use them for our everyday communication and as an effective tool to stay connected to our work. Wherever we go, we are able to access services through such devices, saving us from the hassle of going to the establishments.

But smartphones go beyond every person’s daily necessity. They don’t only provide convenience but also a way to express one’s creativity like those who have a craft in filming. Because they are basically integrated with cameras, smartphones have made video recordings straightforward. And if you have the interest in making films, then you can use smartphones to jumpstart your skills.

Aside from being handy, smartphones are also cost-effective. You don’t have to hire a production crew to get things started. You just have to invest in a high-definition camera phone, then apply these very basic tips in creating amateur films using your smartphone.

1. Look for well-lighted areas

Since smartphone cameras usually have smaller lenses and sensors of images, the proper lighting becomes very critical. While shooting videos, make sure that you do it in areas that are brightly lit. This will prevent you from capturing unnecessary grainy areas and shadows in the video. However, be keen not to directly point your camera at sources of bright lights as this may lead to overexposed footage or a damaged lens.

In addition to that, the lighting should be steady and stable since most smartphones’ image sensors react to sudden lighting changes. In case this becomes challenging, try using white balance and back-lighting settings if they are available in your application settings.

2. Be steady and stay nearer to the subject

While recording, keep the phone steady to avoid blur, rolling shuttered, or distorted video footage. In order to achieve this, make use of your hands to hold the camera, then keep it close to the body as you record your video. This can be tiring if the video takes long with varied sequences, but there are ways to stabilize your recording. You can use camera cages, tripods or stabilizers, or even shelves, desks, chairs or tables to support the phone.

To have a clear, well-focused subject, stay close to the image since smartphones make use of digital zoom, unlike the optical zoom. This will also capture minimal digital noise as you shoot your videos. The digital zooming helps get the subject closer, but it gets pixelated, which means the images are of low-quality. This is primarily the reason why you should get nearer to the subject when making videos using phones.

3. Prepare everything you need

Before starting off your video recording, it would be ideal to be in possession of all shooting locations, actors, scripts, props and other necessary equipment. Apart from that, always make sure that your phone is fully charged and has enough available memory for storage to accommodate high-definition footage files. Remember, your phone relies on a rechargeable battery, which can drain quickly drain when recording videos.

4. Don’t record vertically

Having two vertical black bars on the video sides really ruins a nice footage. In order to avoid this from happening, set the phone in a landscape mode rather than a portrait orientation when recording. This captures more actual footage and makes the videos more pleasing to watch on a wider screen. As much as possible, avoid vertical shooting unless you’re only capturing a single subject that only stays in one place.

5. Give importance to audio

Even if the video is good, it becomes futile if the audio is of poor quality. But that can be forgivable if you have plans on adding new audio when editing it. However, most smartphones’ built-in microphones are not properly positioned. While recording the video, you will most likely capture the ambience of the environmental sounds in the location, which may compete with the important audio. This becomes quite impossible to remove.

When shooting videos using smartphones, it’s highly advised to do it in a place where there are less distractive sounds. But if it can’t be helped, most professional videographers record the audio separately. You can shoot the video first, then take care of the audio using an external device like a recorder. It’s a recommended and effective method.

Conclusion

It is really lucrative and fun for amateur filmmakers to make great videos. In order to achieve this, it may help to start employing your skills using smartphones. If you’re up to the challenge, then give this a try. With the errors you make, use them to improve your abilities. You’ll never know, the world may know who you are with the films you make through your smartphone.


The Best Shorts in Your Inbox!

Every week we send an email with the top short films from Film Shortage.


Subscribe!