Acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh shot an entire movie on an iPhone, and he’s not the only one to try it. You don’t have to have be set on conquering the arthouse theater circuit to make a great video of your own with your iPhone. You just need to know a few tips to spruce up your smartphone filmmaking skills.
Lighting. A steady hand. Creativity. Apps. A lot of factors go into shooting a quality iPhone video. Apple’s iPhones already sport a reputation for having quality cameras, so it’s mostly about learning how to get the most out of them.
From video apps to smart tips, we’ve got you covered on your journey to making better videos. Your YouTube followers and your family and friends will love your new foray into iPhone filmmaking.
Try a new iPhone video app
Apple’s iOS Camera app is an easy and familiar way to shoot video, but there are other options that can put powerful features right at your fingertips. Here are two very different possibilities:
ProCam 6: You enjoy tinkering with all the available settings on a digital camera and you want extreme control over your video. Sound like you? Check out the $5.99 ProCam 6. If you’re familiar with the ins and outs of a DSLR camera, then you will find those manual controls re-created here. ProCam 6 is a solid option for adventurous filmmakers. If you just want to make some quick cute cat videos, then you might prefer the built-in camera app or our next app suggestion
Spark Camera-Video Editor: The Spark Camera-Video Editor is all about making it easy to compile beautiful videos. You can film, add filters and music, and edit all within the app. This is a simple video-making solution that's self-contained and intuitive to use. The app is free to download, but you can opt for a $2.99/month or $29.99/year Spark Pro membership that gives you more filter options, access to a music library and more advanced editing features.
Take better video footage with your iPhone
Follow these tips to capture clearer and cleaner video clips.
Clean your lens: Before you start filming, check that your camera lens is free from smudges and dirt. Apple suggests using a soft, lint-free cloth to gently clean your phone.
Hold steady: You already know that vertical video is a no-no. Shaky videos also aren’t much fun. To avoid too much movement, use both hands and focus on staying steady. A tripod or monopod can be helpful for this, or you can set your iPhone on a solid surface. Even bracing your elbows against your body or a table can work, too.
Consider a stabilizer: Hollywood filmmakers use a fancy camera mount called a Steadicam to get smooth shots. You can get a mini-sized equivalent for your iPhone. You will find options in all price ranges on Amazon. Just look for a smartphone stabilizer or gimbal.
Throw some light on it: Dark shots can be effective if you’re going for a moody look, but bad lighting is never in vogue. Turn on a lamp or overhead light, open a window curtain or experiment with the direction you're facing when shooting outside. Proper lighting can make a huge difference between a video looking muddy and a video looking sharp.
Edit your iPhone video
Now that you’ve got your raw video together, it’s time to make it into something cohesive you can share with friends or with the world. This is where Apple users have it easy. You already have the iMovie app available to help your turn those clips into a cinematic masterpiece.
The iMovie app is powerful, but there can be a bit of a learning curve to figuring out all the details. The best way to sort it out is to go ahead and dive in and play around. When you start a new project, you can work from scratch or choose a trailer-style template. Those templates are a great way to get familiar with how iMovie works.
If you prefer to edit your video on a bigger screen with a laptop or desktop computer, then check out our Komando guide to free and low-cost video editors.
Stepping up your iPhone video-making skills can be addictive, whether you choose to approach it like you’re the next Alfred Hitchcock or you prefer to just have fun. Just be sure to hold your iPhone steady and shoot horizontally!
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