The Smartphone Film-maker Checklist with your Script
The smartphone cameras are getting better and better every year, and many filmmakers have already started using smartphones as their primary filming equipment.
Soderbergh, the director of Unsane (which was shot entirely on iPhone 7 plus), says that shooting films using smartphones is the future. Sean Baker, the director of tangerine also filmed the movie on an iPhone.
There are numerous tools and apps out there for enhancing the quality of the video footage shot on smartphones. We are going to discuss some of the apps and the tools for improving the video quality and how you too can do this from home with a minimum budget.
1. Switch to Filmic Pro
The default camera apps on the smartphones are generally not that great. They usually don’t have many features, which reduces the video quality and makes it look like an amateur shot it.
So, it is recommended to switch to a 3rd party app. There are plenty of great ones available to choose from, but we recommend Filmic pro. This is because the filmic pro app has all the features of a DSLR camera ranging from manual shutter speed, ISO to shooting log.
2. Shoot Log
What is Log? Log is a picture profile which is available on most of the high-end cameras. Shooting with a log profile makes your video flat, and so you will get a high dynamic range.
This gives you more control over the video during the color grading process. On the other hand, shooting with a standard picture profile makes it difficult to color correct the footage. Also, the log footage often looks more cinematic than the one shot with a standard profile.
Lighting is what that separates professionals from noobs. If you don’t set up proper lighting, it’ll definitely show up in the video. As we are using our smartphone for shooting the film lighting is very crucial.
This is because smartphones don’t have full sized sensors like on professional cameras like Arri or Red, so they need more light.
Buy lights and learn to light a scene correctly, and by that, you can make your footage cinematic. Different kinds of lighting tell different types of stories. The same scene with different types of lighting can change the mood dramatically.
There many types of smartphone lenses available on the market. These lenses help us create varieties of shots like macro, wide angle, fish eye and much more. These shots might add depth to your story establishing a sort of connection with the audience.
5. Stabilizing the video
Your mobile is prone to shake, and so you need to stabilize your footage. Most of the smartphones today have Optical Image Stabilisation or Electronic Image Stabilisation for stabilizing the video.
But if your smartphone doesn’t have these things, then I’d suggest you use a tripod or a monopod. You can try and make your own DIY tripod by watching some youtube videos. Even if you do have EIS or OIS, it’s better to get a tripod anyway to prevent distortion of the video.
6. Mobile microphones aren’t great
Don’t ever try to record sound using smartphone except if you want your audio to sound crappy. There are many inexpensive good quality microphones available on Amazon. Rode VideoMicro, Takstar SGC-598 are some examples. You can also buy lavalier mics which provide good audio at a very low price.
7. The Essentials
We’ve listed some of the essential things that you need to have when going for shooting. These things include
>A copy of the Screenplay
These things might come in handy during filming, and so we highly recommend taking them with you. Being prepared can help to improve the quality of the footage shot.
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