Nowadays, making films on a budget is very easy thanks to the technological leaps that smartphones like the iPhone have made. At this point in fact, you simply don’t have to invest in expensive equipment in order to get started.
For the beginner filmmaker who is looking to get into iPhone videography or starting a new YouTube channel, here are some tips to help you get shooting with just your iPhone.
1. Always stabilize your video
While most newer models of the iPhone come with stabilization technology, shooting a handheld video can give you a somewhat shaky finish. The key to making your footage look smooth is investing in a smartphone gimbal that can give you that professional polish.
When you’re using a gimbal (which to be clear doesn’t have to be an expensive accessory), capturing cinematic footage becomes a lot easier. For instance, you can capture tracking shots, create smooth pans and tilts without a tripod, and get a nice crane up shot from a low squatting position.
If you don’t have one, meanwhile, keeping your elbows close to your body will help hold your hands steady and reduce unwanted tremors.
2. Make sure your lighting is on point
When shooting on your iPhone, experimenting with a variety of settings can help you achieve the mood you’re looking for from a lightning perspective. On the other hand, tricky conditions can demand additional solutions, and while it’s not always possible to carry a full-fledged cinematic lighting kit with you there are some more portable options.
Today, a lot of filmmakers are using LED lights, which are often fitted with lightweight high-density interconnect PCBs. These are modern printed circuit boards in which components are packed into denser casings, making for more lightweight electronics that are just as capable. This, along with the generally simplified mechanical builds of LED lights, makes for some intriguing options if and when you need a more portable lighting kit.
3. Back up your footage and make sure you have enough storage space
There’s nothing worse than getting carried away with shooting a video and running out of memory space on your iPhone. Especially if you’re shooting in 4K video for that high-definition quality, you’ll be requiring a great deal of storage space.
To remedy this issue, exploring cloud storage solutions or local storage can help you build your library of footage. Depending on your storage needs and budget, you can check out Google Drive, iCloud, Dropbox, or external hard drives. Also, make it a habit to regularly back up your files so you have a safety net to fall back on.
We also recommend upgrading your iCloud storage so you can upload your footage to the cloud without worrying about available storage.
4. Take advantage of iPhone’s Videography features
Modern iPhones are packed with amazing features that can rival any professional videography gear when put in the right hands. The new iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max offer Cinematic mode with depth effect, which you can edit after shooting the video. You can shoot in Cinematic mode in different lenses on iPhone including Wide, Telephoto and TrueDepth camera. This gives your iPhone video a professional look that is good enough to fool people who would not be able to tell if the footage was recorded on a mobile device.
You can also shoot macro video with your iPhone 13 Pro that includes slo-mo and timelapse. Shooting a macro video will give your filmmaking an extra boost and professional touch that even many expensive cameras cannot achieve.
Familiarizing yourself with in-app Camera settings can also help you in achieving great results as you can change video settings on the fly more easily.
5. Find a unique angle and take advantage of your freedom
Finally, you may not have access to the full suite of features that a dedicated video producing company can give you, but you do have some unique advantages when you’re shooting with mobile.
According to Victoria Mapplebeck, who shot and directed the first short film on an iPhone X, the process can be highly liberating. She mentions how you don’t need to go through the time-consuming process of obtaining shooting permits and can get away with shooting covertly with your iPhone.
This can give your shoot a more candid feel, giving you the ability to experiment with unusual angles and locations. In addition, you can find other solutions to working with a tight budget like making your own music.
In short, there’s no right and wrong way when it comes to using your iPhone to capture content on film. Investing in additional equipment can help you achieve a more professional finish, but breaking the rules and doing things your own way can be another way to go.
At the end of the day, it’s as easy as using the tools you already have to develop your filmmaking ability. All you need is the confidence and drive to get started.