10+ Best Tips For Shooting a Movie on iPhone or iPad

Shooting a movie on iPhone or iPad Highlights: An iOS device can be used to shoot almost any type of film. However, if you intend to shoot and edit the video on your phone, keep it short and simple. It’s difficult to watch a long, complex film on a phone or tablet.

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10+ Best Tips For Shooting a Movie on Your iPhone or iPad

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Important Tips 

What to Look for in a Smartphone Tripod

If possible, edit on a computer

Shooting a movie on iPhone or iPad – Your iPhone or iPad can be used to shoot and edit videos. You can also shoot on an iPhone and edit on an iPad, which is useful if you need to edit in the field.

However, computer editing apps can do far more than mobile versions. It’s a no-brainer if you have a Mac: the desktop version of iMovie is far more versatile than the iPhone app.

You'll need a lot of light

The sensors in phone cameras are extremely small. They don’t work well in low light or with high contrast. So, try to film in areas with plenty of light and that isn’t too high contrast.

To reduce contrast, shoot away from the light or use reflectors. If you need to shoot in low light, put your phone in a case and attach a small light to it.

Make sure the sound is correct

Another significant disadvantage of smartphones is their small microphones. For better audio, you have three choices: ignore the live sound, get in close to make the most of the built-in mic, or use a separate microphone. 

The simplest option is to make a film that doesn’t require live sound: add a voiceover when editing, or make a visual story in which you edit images to a pre-recorded soundtrack. 

If you must use the built-in microphone, get close. Use a low-cost lavalier microphone or a wireless or directional mic mounted on a phone case.

Hold it steady

Shooting a movie on iPhone or iPad – Shaky footage is hideous, and smartphones are tough to hold stable in horizontal (‘landscape’) mode. Use a simple clamp, such as the Joby M-Pod, or a more sturdy one, such as the Shoulderpod

Learn how to keep your mobile device steady (rest your upper arms against your body and try to be relaxed). Electronic stabilizers like the DJI OM Gimbals or the Zhiyun Smooth Gimbals will make a huge difference if you can afford them.

Creating your film or video

Making an iPhone film is similar to making any other type of film. You must carefully plan it, shoot different shots, pay close attention to sound, and consider your viewers.

1. Make a film plan

Shooting a movie on iPhone or iPad – Consider why you’re attempting to make a film or what you’d like to say. Can you put your concept in a tweet? If not, you need to put in more effort. 

To plan, create a mindmap and then create a shot list or storyboard, or write a script. Ensure that you have enough images to tell your story. 

>More on film production… 

>Coverage: Camera angles every filmmaker should know

2. Prepare to shoot 

Review the Settings to select the quality of your recording. Even though my iPhone 12 Pro Max can shoot in 4K, I tend to shoot in 1080p HD. However, I use 4K when I want to crop the image without losing any quality. 

To avoid distractions, switch your phone to Airplane mode.

5 Important Steps To Set Up Your Smartphone For Video Filmmaking

Place your device horizontally (in ‘landscape’ mode). 

  • Check that the camera is in Video mode rather than Photo mode.
  • Maintain the device’s position. If possible, use a grip, tripod, or stabilizer. You could also lean against a wall or rest your elbows on a table or the back of a chair. 
  • Double-tap the screen on an iPad to see the full widescreen image (with black bars above and below). 
  • If you zoom the image (unless you have a dual-lens device), the quality will suffer.

3. Listen to the sound

Shooting a movie on iPhone or iPad – Unless you already have a separate microphone, you will only be able to record speech clearly if the iPad is near the sound source. As a result, you’ll need to shoot close-ups. 

Film a short segment and then play it back (on headphones if possible). Is that correct? 

4. Examine the framing and camera placement

Make sure there’s nothing in the background that’s distracting. If the shot is supposed to be a closeup, double-check that it is.

This checklist will help you determine whether you’re ready to shoot.

Tip: Are you filming a piece for the camera? Make sure your speaker is looking at the camera in the device’s corner, not the Apple logo in the center, or they’ll appear shady.

5. Ensure proper exposure 

  • If possible, shoot away from the light. 
  • Secure the exposure. Touch and hold the essential part of the image until the AE/AF LOCK symbol appears. 
  • Then, if necessary, touch up or down on the line to the right of the box to make the image brighter or darker. 

Tip: iPhone cameras struggle with high contrast. To fill in the shadows and improve the quality of your film, you can use a low-cost, folding five-in-one reflector/diffuser.

6. Capture your shot on film

10+ Best Tips For Shooting a Movie on Your iPhone or iPad
  • To begin filming, press the red button once. While you’re recording, it will change to a square (above). 
  • Take at least ten seconds of footage for each clip, or five seconds before and after any action. 
  • To stop filming, press the red button once more. 
  • When the camera is paused, tap the picture icon in the bottom right corner to view your clips. Don’t delete anything unless you’re certain it’s no longer usable. 

Tip: iPhone cameras struggle with high contrast. To fill in the shadows and improve the quality of your film, you can use a low-cost, folding five-in-one reflector/diffuser.

7. Making use of effects 

Shooting a movie on iPhone or iPad – Don’t use effects for the sake of using them. Slow-motion can, however, be used to emphasize or analyze fast actions, such as a sports technique. It can also be used to reduce camera shake in close-ups. It’s ineffective in low light, however, because it requires fast shutter speeds. 

Timelapse can bring static scenes to life, such as skylines or landscapes with moving skies. You’ll need to use a tripod to keep your phone stable.

8. Get organized in preparation for editing

Before you begin editing, use the Photos app to start organizing your clips into Albums. This will make it easier to locate them, especially if you have a large number of video clips on your smartphone. 

9. Use iMovie to edit your clips

Shooting a movie on iPhone or iPad – If you don’t already have iMovie installed, you can get it from the iTunes store. 

Tap the ? symbol at the top of the screen to get tips to help you navigate the app.

As you can see from the clip above, the images appear on the track above the main clip, but the original audio remains audible. 

iMovie allows you to arrange clips, trim them, rearrange them, and add voiceover, cutaways, titles, and effects. You can also add music to your clips or edit them to create a soundtrack. 

You can also apply the Ken Burns effect to pan and zoom still images in iMovie. This is an excellent method for bringing archive clips to life.

Tips 

  • Rename your iMovie project – don’t just call it ‘My Movie 1, My Movie 24’… 
  • Always export a full-quality version of your movie, no matter how you intend to use it. 
  • Don’t remove any of your clips or other media until you’re certain you’ve finished editing and exported your movies safely.

Online filmmaking classes for iPhone and iPad 

Shooting a movie on iPhone or iPad – If you need some basic training to get started with your smartphone’s filmmaking capabilities, I recommend taking an online course like iPhone Filmmaking: From Shoot to Edit – Cielo de la Paz

Cielo de la Paz, an experienced mobile filmmaker/photographer, teaches this CreativeLive.com course. It is a three-hour course with 19 video lessons that cover everything from planning and equipment to location shooting, audio interviewing, and editing. 

Cielo’s course teaches you how to film with the Filmic Pro app and edit with LumaFusion. Cielo’s teaching style is engaging, and her course receives 100 percent positive student feedback. 

In addition, all CreativeLive courses come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Find out more

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About the author: Trent (IMDB Youtubehas 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.

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