When Apple’s CEO Tim Cook was featured in popular CBS news program 60 Minutes last december, he had said that there are about 800 engineers working solely on the iPhone’s camera. Well, given the quality of iPhone’s cameras, that doesn’t seem like an exaggeration does it?
Ever since its inception, iPhone has set the benchmark for the quality of smartphone cameras. It captures crisp high quality images and videos and even works relatively well in low light environments. And that’s why it can be the perfect device for online video creators who are always on the move and can’t carry bulky shooting equipment with them. In this article, we’ll tell you how you can shoot professional quality videos, use other tools to make them look better and use the right apps to put it all into a nice package.
Anyone who uses an iPhone can vouch for its usability and simplicity. However; shaky videos, inaudible sound recording and wrong framing can always ruin the fun. But when you use the right apps, lenses and tools to record videos, you can avoid those issues.
Apple’s iStore provides a wide range of apps to choose from and there are quite a few lenses and tools available in the market to cherrypick from. Of course there are other high quality smartphones available in the market, but as Jonathan Ive said, “It’s easy to be different, but very difficult to be better”. And that’s what Apple does really well – making everything a little better than others.
Before we start listing out things that you can use, here’s some inspiration –
Movies and shorts shot on an iPhone:
I Play With the Phrase Each Other:
This film was shot entirely on an iPhone on a $17,000 budget! Shot in Black & white, the plot of the film revolves around just phone calls. Clever framing and a tight screenplay make this a really nice watch.
This movie is the story of a transgender sex worker who comes out of the prison after a 28-day sentence only to discover that her boyfriend/pimp has been cheating on her. Director Tim Baker only had $120,000 to make this film but he has left no stone unturned to make it a stylistic indie gem. The film was shot on an iPhone5s using an anamorphic lens adapter by Moondog labs and the app FiLMiC Pro.
Famed is the perfect example for a gorgeous looking short film shot using minimum gear. It was first uploaded on popular online video platform Vimeo and gained popularity as it was selected as a ‘Staff Pick’. The script was reportedly written through the course of a night and was shot on an iPhone 4s.
Searching for Sugar Man:
This academy award winning documentary revolves around the rumoured death of popular American folk singer Sixto Rodriguez in the late 1990s. Late director Malik Bendjelloul used an iPhone to shoot the movie after he ran out of budget halfway through!
Uneasy Lies the Mind:
This 88 minute long feature film directed by Ricky Fosheim won the best film award at the iPhone Film Festival in 2014. Shot using an iPhone 5 on a shoestring budget of 10 thousand dollars, Ricky faced a lot of trouble since most of the movie was shot in a snowy landscape.
Now that you have some inspiration, it’s time to shift our focus to the apps and tools that you can use. Typically movie editors deal with video files which are heavy in size. There was a time not so long ago, when this was impossible on a smartphone. But technology has moved forward so rapidly in the recent past, now we have editing software’s that you can easily use on a handheld device!
Here are some useful apps that you can use on your iPhone:
FiLMiC Pro app can turn your iPhone camera into a broadcast worthy High Definition video camera. This powerful app has the ability to speed zoom, better control on audio quality and can generate videos with Frame Rates upto 240 FPS. If you have professional tools like audio meters, stereo microphone support etc, you can give your video a pure studio quality look and feel using this app.
Price – $9.99
This app allows you to record videos at 60 FPS along with 1000 FPS slow-motion and fast motion capabilities. You can slow down your video to half of its speed and trim the footage using the mini editing suite.
CinemaFX for Video:
If you want your movie to have a peculiar color tint like the one in ‘The Matrix’, then this is the perfect app for you. This can be useful to differentiate your video’s recording with others. It is arguably one of the most comprehensive video FX apps in iTunes.
Splice – Video Editor:
This app comes with a built-in store that lets you purchase sound effects, music tracks and a variety of other licensed content material. After editing your video using Splice, you can share it directly to Social Media. With comprehensive features like Speed Control, Narrator, Text Overlays, Trim/Cut options etc, this app can probably bring out the Michael Kahn in you! 🙂
Using this app, you can turn 4K videos into high quality movies! Its simple editing tool lets you recreate trailers and short movies in no time! You can choose from 15 ready-made movie themes, add sound effects or musical score from the built-in sound effects library or iTunes or GarageBand.
When writing scripts for your project, Celtx Script can support you with a wide variety of options like starting your story with an index card, arranging scenes with drag/drop feature, breaking down your script etc. You can also share the script with your cast and crew!
If you want to record an interview and make it look like a talk show, CollabraCam is the app you’re looking for. It can put the Live Multicam Production studio right in the palm of your hands!
Action Movie FX:
This app lets you add Hollywood special effects to videos that you shoot. It was awarded the Apple App of the year award in 2012 and is a product from the stable of J.J Abram’s Bad Robot Productions. You can add special effects used in actual Hollywood movies to the videos you shoot and make people go WOW!
Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X are a couple of other apps that we’d highly recommend. But – a good quality post production is only useful when the quality of footage shot through the iPhone is good enough.
Here are some lenses you can use to shoot high quality videos:
Moondog Labs anamorphic adapter:
Manufactured by the Moondog Labs, anamorphic adapter lense is designed for serious iPhone filmmakers and photographers who want to create compelling, professional-looking films and photos. These lenses are iPhone 5/5S compatible accessories and enable filmmakers to shoot wide format imaging with organic flares and distortions like Hollywood feature films. There are different varieties of lens adapters you can choose for different variants of iPhones such has 5/5s and 6/6s.
This is one of the best brands in this space, known for its superior quality iPhones lenses. Plus the fact that Casey Neistat (YouTube celebrity with more than 2 million subscribers) endorses and uses in most of his YouTube videos adds to its credibility. Moment’s lenses attach to your iPhone’s lens using a special plate. Its a thin, strong piece of metal that adheres to the back of your phone like a sticker. It allows you to screw on (pun intended!) different lenses just like how you do with a DSLR.
Price: $100 Starting
Olloclip is like the Swiss Army knife and has become one of the biggest names in the iPhone lense market. Thanks to its super-handy attachments, it has grown really popular and has already shipped over one million lenses! With innovative products like 4-in-1 lens for iPhone 6/6s & 6/6s Plus and Active /Macro Pro Lens, you can have the best picture quality at an affordable price.
Price: $75 Starting
CamKix lens set:
The kit contains four lenses: an 8X telescopic, a wide angle, a macro and a fisheye lense. The total price for these lenses comes at around $42.99. If you want to get serious with your filming skills, then this is the kit for you.
This trio kit includes a macro, super wide and 2X tele lens along with a tripod mount cum camera case. The kit can help you create high quality videos with relative ease.
Tripods you should check out:
You can turn it upside down, shoot in awkward positions and record at ground level while you are moving. This tripod lets you do it all! It is great to shoot action scenes or capture a running dog etc.
Price: $ 74.95
From the home of Tiffen – a leading manufacturer of imaging accessories, comes Stedicam Smoothee. It acts as a tripod to your iPhone and helps you to shoot motion videos without any shakes and breaks. The Smoothee gives some Tangerine (2015) scenes the effect of a classic steadicam shot or a crane, all done with an iPhone.
Get started now!
These are incredible times for creative people. If you have an idea, some money (you don’t need a lot) and some time at your hands, becoming famous is not as difficult as it was. You can be world famous just by talking about your life, showing your dance moves or just doing some crazy street stunts you like doing with your neighborhood buddies. Times have changed and access to fame is not just limited to the few privileged. Save up some money, do some homework, buy a couple of tools, download apps and start a YouTube channel. You can be the next internet celebrity!
If you have seen someone using an app or a tool that can be added to this list, please drop a line in the comments section. All the very best and may the force be with you!
Being an artist, movie buff and a media enthusiast, content writing is my career train. I am a proud alumni of Symbiosis Institute of Media Communication (Pune) and currently working for Vidooly.