Christian MediaCreativityMedia Production

Is It Time to Shoot Your Project On A Mobile Phone?

When I started out in television production, the cost of a camera was out of sight. And depending on it being a film or video project, the cost continued to climb. But today, we carry around a TV studio in our pocket and more and more filmmakers are embracing the idea of producing projects on mobile phones.

The bottom line is that it’s time to stop complaining that we don’t have a budget or the right equipment to make a high quality project.  In fact, I don’t have to defend myself.  Just take a look at some amazing examples.

This is a short documentary filmed in Paris on an iPhone X:

Here’s Steven Soderbergh’s trailer for his Netflix feature: “High Flying Bird”:

And here’s video from Apple about some amazing student films that were produced on an iPhone:

And if you enjoy wacky comedy, here’s an episode of the brilliantly original “Kid Scripts” featuring Chris Guerra and Ryan Gaul:

And here’s the story of a movie shot on an iPhone by Oscar-winning Director Claude Lelouche That premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

With a wide range of tripods, jib arms, and other production gear designed for a mobile phone camera, it’s time to take it out of our pockets and start filming!

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

3 Comments

  1. Hi Phil, great post. Any insight into what kind of microphone gear is being used for quality cell phone productions?

    1. Great question! I talked to one of my favorite Director/DP’s – Matt Koppin, and here’s his recommendations:

      Recommending the app Filmic Pro for film recording on Iphone.
      https://www.filmicpro.com/

      Audio either recorded separately and synced/mixed later in post via sound recorder (Most common for bigger productions)…

      INDIE SOUND PACKAGE
      https://www.amazon.com/Zoom-Six-Track-Accessory-Headphones-Batteries/dp/B086MR6W2V
      https://www.amazon.com/Rode-RodeLink-Wireless-Filmmaker-System/dp/B00TV90DX0
      https://www.amazon.com/Professional-Broadcast-Microphone-Accessories-Camcorders/dp/B01N35BKCS
      https://www.amazon.com/Neewer-Microphone-Stretchable-Construction-Microphones/dp/B078RHL3D1
      https://www.amazon.com/COLICOLY-3-5mm-Cable-Unbalanced-Adapter/dp/B07YMVFMHG

      OR Recorded directly into the phone with an Apple audiojack adapter:
      https://www.amazon.com/Apple-Lightning-Headphone-Jack-Adapter/dp/B01LXJFMGF/

      via On-Camera Shotgun Microphone:
      https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077YS5ZV5
      https://www.amazon.com/EACHSHOT-Smartphone-Filmmaking-Recording-Microphone/dp/B07WJGRY7X

      Or via Wireless or Wired Lavalier Microphone:
      https://www.amazon.com/Rode-RodeLink-Wireless-Filmmaker-System/dp/B00TV90DX0
      https://www.amazon.com/Rode-smartLav-Lavalier-Microphone-Smartphones/dp/B00EO4A7L0

      Other Iphone Filmmaking Accessories:
      Gimbal: https://www.amazon.com/DJI-OM-Handheld-Smartphone-Stabilizer/dp/B08CMVGVQY/
      Cage: https://www.amazon.com/Smartphone-External-Microphone-Samsung-Cameras/dp/B07N1G1PGX
      Tripod Adapter: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06VXJMMQ3

  2. We embraced the iPhone for our online-based “the #FakeNews Show” primarily because it was the simplest choice for shooting in the 9:16 portrait aspect ratio. Yes, I used to cringe at the rotated phone look, but now we might also use the 9:16 format for our livestream improv show (which uses three iPhones plugged into a video switcher). It has a lot of challenges and some happy surprises, but I have to admit then when I watch content on my phone I prefer holding it upright in my hand and not sideways.

    The iPhone has its own challenges and surprises, so I suggest using one of the many apps that allow for dialing in settings and keeping a more accurate frame count. I also recommend using sync sound (or ADR) for the sound if you have action that has more than one person away form the on-cam mic.

    We also embraced the rotated format (and IPhone) for social media, realizing that our chances of being produced by someone else in Hollywood were very slim. Our content is not “politically correct” by either liberal Hollywood or the strait-laced Church, but we believe there is a market and season for our perspective to be heard.

    Here’s a link to our latest round of videos: http://www.tiktok.com/@fakenewsshow

    Any questions about using iPhones or developing content for it, please email me at emilio at communionfilms dot com.

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