The Smartphones. Almost each and every one of us has one of these powerful devices in our pockets. It enables us to not to each other but has the potential to be used as a tool to produce content.

With the use of your phone, you can be making content for your YouTube channel, music video, vlogs TVprogrammes and even feature-length films, all with little or no budget.

Our last #TVCMasterclass gave our guests the tools to do just that. Hosted by iphoneographer Cassius Rayner, who spent the last five years’  dedicated to the world of smartPhone filming.

Tangerine (2015) was the first feature film to be shot entirely on a mobile phone and get a worldwide cinema release. Read more here

In the BBC 2’s series Exodus, the production team gave camera phones to people attempting to reach Europe, allowing viewers unprecedented access to places regular film crews could not go. Channel 4 has also commissioned a ‘user-generated content’ this time contributors have been given mobile phones to document their dating lives over a period of a year.

SmartPhone filling or iphonegraphy as it’s called in the states is here to stay.

Got an idea? Have a story you want to share? there are now no more excuses armed with your mobile phone and bags of creativity the world too can be your oyster.

Top five tips for shooting with your mobile phone:

  1.       Plan your shots before shooting

Just with any production planning, your shots is crucial.  Think about the narrative or message you wish to tell your audience before you pick up your phone. This focuses your mind and rids yourself of useless footage and it also makes editing easier. Cassius recommended using the tried and tested standard five sequences, to begin with, which consists of wide, medium, and close-up shots.

  1.       Frame your shots and think about your lighting

Always film in landscape and consider the rule of thirds. Enabling the grid setting on your smartphone will help you with this and ensure your shots are naturally appealing to the eye. As with any object you are filming always place the important elements of your shot either slightly left or the right of the frame. This rule of thumb will give you interesting shots each time. Exploit natural light where possible, ensure your subjects are lit appropriately.

  1.      Quality of shots

To steady your shots you may need to invest in kit, this can range from a simple selfie stick which cost around £10 or something a bit pricier such as a tripod or Beastgrip. This is all dependant on your budget, but if money is an issue, holding your elbows as close to your body as possible, or leaning against a wall will help you to steady your shots.

Sound quality is always going to be an issue with your phone, you should also consider investing in a mic to ensure you get the highest quality. Find a list of suggested accessories here.

  1.       Do not zoom

To keep the quality consistent, whatever you do, do not zoom in. Although it may look fine on the camera, when it comes to the edit, the change of quality will be clear. If you need to get closer, get closer, whenever possible. That is the beauty of the smartphone, it allows you to get dynamic and interesting shots you may not be able to get with a traditional camera.

  1.       Utilize the camera settings on the phone

Many smartphones have numerous settings to enhance your footage. Dependent on the make of the phone, this includes slow motion, stop motion, hyperlapse among others. If you want more tools in your tool box, there are many apps available on relevant app stores.

Recommended apps:

Android – Open Camera (free)

iPhone Filmic Pro or Verifeye Media Pro Camera (free) 

For more information on smartphone filmmaking check out mobilefilmmaking.com. And check out details for our next #TVCMasterClass here.