“Why don’t we just film it on a phone?”

Can you film stuff on your phone, but make it look classy? Yes, if you do it right. Read our brief guide to creating better quality video on a budget.

Can you film stuff on your phone, but make it look classy? Yes, if you do it right. Read our brief guide to creating better quality video on a budget.

It’s a question we hear daily, and for good reason. The technology in today’s smart phones rivals and even exceeds that used in early HD feature films such as 28 Days Later and Collateral.

Recent films such as Tangerine and Unsane filmed entirely on the iPhone. So, technically, you could too.

What’s the best way to tell your story?

I like to think the choice, of whether to use a smartphone or a “professional” camera, as the same a painter has in choosing to work in watercolours or oils. They’re both paint. They just have a different aesthetic and a different effect on the viewer. Same with choosing which camera to use. Smartphone image quality changes the impact of your story. It doesn’t diminish the story, just changes the perception and expectations.

It’s how you use the tools.

I could give a bag of LEGO to my friend and get back a nice diorama-type scene. Or the same Legos could be used to create the music video that Michel Gondry created for the White Stripes.

Similarly, a smartphone can create this direct and immediate piece of content from a tradeshow. It can also create this short film for Bentley.

A raw and quick smartphone video has built in expectations for the level of quality; audiences are willing to accept some inferior production values that come with that type of film.

To improve production values requires more than a smartphone. Knowing how best to use the tools you have available requires a bit more technical expertise and experience.

In the Bentley film, special lenses, rigs, lighting, production and post-production techniques were used to achieve a look that fit the brand. The production resembled a full-on commercial, but using a smartphone for the camera.

So while smartphones can film both lavish feature films and down-and-dirty UGC, you need professional expertise to get the look right.

So yes, you can film it on your phone. By yourself with some simple tips, or with a professional crew.

Speaking of simple tips, we’ve developed a guide that briefly provides direction for camera stabilization, sound recording, lighting and composition.

To get your free copy, just fill in this simple little form.


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