5 Important Steps To Set Up Your Smartphone For Video Filmmaking

Set Up Your Smartphone For Video Filmmaking – It’s the day before shooting a feature with your smartphone. You are going through your pre-production checklist to make sure nothing is missing. 

You have your shot-list completed, your call-sheet has been sent out to the crew, you have all the filmmaking equipment needed for shooting at the front door ready to be loaded into your car, but there is one more thing you need to do, and that is making sure your smartphone is ready to start shooting.

To have your Smartphone ready for filmmaking, you will need to do some digital clean-up before you head off to set to start shooting your jewel.

Smartphones by AppleSamsungGoogle, and Huawei have the video capabilities to shoot incredible footage, but you need to spend some time to set them up properly to do the job. Just a few simple steps to set up your smartphone for video filmmaking will help evade obstacles later when you are out filming and give you better performance with your Smartphone.

In this article, we will break down 5 Important Steps To Set Up Your Smartphone For Video Filmmaking to avoid any issues with your Smartphone when you come to start shooting video.

Related Article: Best Cinematic Video Smartphone – iPhone 12 Pro Max Vs Samsung S21 Ultra

5 Important Steps To Set Up Your Smartphone For Video Filmmaking
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Switch Smartphone To Airplane Mode

5 Important Steps To Set Up Your Smartphone For Video Filmmaking

The first step in setting up your smartphone before shooting your first scene is to make sure it’s in aeroplane mode for the entire day. Yes, this is the mode you use when flying, but there’s a purpose for it: it prevents your phone from connecting to your network provider while allowing all other features to function normally.

Smartphone designers included this feature so that you can use your phone on a plane without it interfering with any of the aircraft’s systems.

So, what’s the point of filming in Airplane mode? When you put your phone in Airplane Mode, it prevents you from receiving phone calls or text messages while you’re filming.

Even if you put your phone on vibration mode without turning off aeroplane mode, this could add extra shakes to your video and destroy a perfect take. If you’re the captain of the ship and everyone looks to you as the set’s leader, a minor error like not putting your phone on aeroplane mode will make you appear to your crew as an amateur filmmaker.

Keep the aeroplane mode off but flip the wifi connection button to on if you need to access wifi to post to Facebook Live while shooting. This way, you’ll stay connected without getting incoming texts or phone calls.

If you’re not going live on Facebook, it’s preferable to use the Do Not Disturb function, which will block incoming calls while still allowing you to contact your phone network provider.

Not all notifications will be disabled when using Airplane Mode. Video recordings can be interrupted by the Clock, Calendar, and Reminders.

To prepare your smartphone for filming the night before, go into each of these applications and clear off any notifications that may cause you to miss your video shoot. You don’t have to delete everything; just the notifications that might alert you to the fact that you’re recording.

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Screen Brightness

7+ Best Tips On How To Make A Smartphone Movie For TV & Cinema
Photo Courtesy of Filmic Pro

Make sure your smartphone’s screen is set to maximum brightness when you set it up for filming. The reason for this is because if you reduce the brightness of your display, you will be unable to see the correct exposure of your photos.

Any changes you make to your image in your video camera app may result in an image that is under or overexposed. So, before each day of photography with your smartphone, make sure that the brightness on your phone is set to full to ensure proper exposure.

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Full Battery

Full Battery - set up smartphone for filmmaking

When it comes to setting up your smartphone for filming, it’s also important to make sure it’s fully charged before the first shot of the day. I know it may seem obvious, but there are reasons to make sure your smartphone has the most battery life possible.

With my favorite smartphone filmmaking app, Filmic Pro, the recording will interrupt and stop when the battery reaches 20%, and then it will stop again at 10%

So, to avoid this from happening during your day of recording, make sure you have a fully charged battery. When this happens on set, it may be a tremendous hassle and cause unnecessary delays that you don’t want.

If you’re concerned about battery life on the day of filming, you should only charge the phone while you’re not using it. Charging your phone while filming might cause the battery to overheat, resulting in lost video clips.

Also, make sure you have a few fully charged portable battery chargers with you! You never know where the nearest power source is to charge your smartphone. 

Smartphone Processor Speed

5 Important Steps To Set Up Your Smartphone For Video Filmmaking

You don’t want a huge CPU drain on your smartphone when you set it up for filmmaking because of background apps running in the background. Close down all apps running in the background on your smartphone except the ones you’re using on set if you want it to run smoothly while filming.

While each smartphone has its unique method for shutting down background apps, it’s critical to do so before each day of shooting.

Only having one app open reduces the burden on the Smartphone’s processor, allowing the app you’re using to run at its best.

Also, make sure you only have one video camera app active at a time, as having numerous camera apps open at the same time can cause issues. Plus, keeping everything turned off save the app you need for video helps your battery last longer throughout the day.

Clear Up Your Smartphone Drive Space

How to set up your Smartphone for video filmmaking

Before you start filming, make sure your smartphone has plenty of free space on its hard drive. When utilising a smartphone to make a film, this is critical.

With today’s smartphones shooting at a minimum of 4k resolution, you can find yourself in a tight spot if you start filming only to discover you only have 100MB of free hard drive space.

Depending on the Bit Rate of the video files occupying your smartphone’s hard disc, three to four minutes of video captured at even 1080 HD can amount to a few megabytes. This can quickly pile up over the course of a day of photography, so you’ll need some free space on your smartphone to handle it.

It’s critical to frequently clean out and delete any unneeded data from your smartphone to ensure that you have enough storage space for filming.

A smartphone must have at least 10% of its hard drive free to move data around and function properly, but adding video files during filming will require far more hard drive space.

Make sure you back up your smartphone files, such as family photos or videos, to an external hard drive or computer the day before you shoot, and then erase them from your phone.

Make sure the rubbish bin is empty before permanently deleting these files from your smartphone. I understand that with Apple products, you may believe that files have been destroyed just to discover that they are stored in a hidden recycle folder. This frees up space on your smartphone for the days when you’re shooting.

After you’ve eliminated any unneeded video files from your smartphone, examine if there are any additional files you can get rid of. Unwanted documents, videos, emails, the cache of your web browser, and other stuff can quickly fill up your Smartphone’s hard drive.

How to set up your Smartphone for video filmmaking

When using Apple products, the iTunes app is another programme to keep a watch on for MP3s and videos that have been downloaded. These files might take up a lot of space on the hard drive of your Smartphone. To make room for your video files, you may need to erase these data.

While I understand that setting up your smartphone for filming isn’t exactly fun, it’s essential to have a working filmmaking smartphone on set.

Also, go through your smartphone to see if there are any undesirable apps that you aren’t utilising. I’ve seen apps on my iPhone that I haven’t used in years hogging a gigabit of hard drive space that might be used to store 4k video files.

Install only the apps you require and delete the others. I’m not suggesting that you get rid of everything that isn’t related to video production, but if you have numerous game apps installed, consider whether they are necessary. When you’re installing new apps, keep an eye on the size of the installation file.

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Trent has spent 10+ years working on an assortment of film and television projects. He writes about his experiences to help (and amuse) others. If he’s not working, he’s either traveling, reading or writing about travel/film, or planning travel/film projects.

Trent’s film Noelle’s Package was shot on an iPhone, click here to check it out.

Want to Learn More About Filmmaking?

Become a better filmmaker with the MasterClass Annual Membership. Gain access to exclusive video lessons taught by film masters, including Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Spike Lee, Jodie Foster, James Cameron, and more.

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