Are mobile phone shoots a great option for shooting your short or feature film?

Are mobile phone shoots a great option for shooting your short or feature film?

Many filmmakers are shooting their short or feature films on a mobile phone. Mobile phones manufacturers have increased the quality of their video cameras in recent years and this has opened up opportunities for the indie filmmaker and is worth considering. If you decide to shoot your film on your phone camera,  you could save a huge sum of money and angst. 

Is it as easy as just grabbing your phone out of you pocket and shooting? No it is not and this is the rub.

Filmmaking principals still apply and it will be necessary to have additional elements such as audio equipment and crew.  First, please be aware of two of many films that have been shot on mobile phones and found huge success. Please watch the trailers after reading this post.

  • Unsane Director Stehen Sordenberg Stephen Sordenberg shot Unsane on the iPhone 7. He directed the Oscar winning Traffic and Ocean’s Eleven and He had a $million to shoot. He chose to shoot on an iPhone 7.
    You can check out the trailer later on YouTube 
  • Tangerine  Director Sean Baker  shot on the iPhone 5. 
    One of the big winners at Sundance  Film Festival that year and a very successful film.  See trailer here

So if great filmmakers can do it, why can’t you? Well here are some things you should consider.

  1. Get the best app for your camera. The one that filmmakers use is Filmic Pro. This app will give you more compression on your image and more control over the image. In Australia, it costs a very reasonable A$22 and is an absolute necessity for the mobile phone shoot. I love it and it really helps with shooting on my mobile phone.

  2. Have Stablizers and Grips gear
    I personally bought an Ozmo and it gives that Steadicam smooth feel as you shoot shots with it. I bought mine at my local Apple Store but you can buy them online or at JB Hi Fi. Also getting grips gear for your phone is a great idea. It is not that expensive.   Beastgrip, an online store, is a great place to get rigs and grips gear for your mobile phone.

  3. Audio and Lighting Gear and Crew:
    Having great location sound is a must for any short film or feature film. It can be a reasonable price to buy sound equipment such as a Tascam or Zoom along with a shot gun mic and boom and clip on lapelle mics.
    But you need to know how to use them and get some extra crew to use them. It is always a better idea to record sound externally from your camera.  This is essential if you are shooting short films or feature films.

  4. Lighting: Stephen Sordenberg shot 85% of his film with available light. But lighting a set will add a filmic look to your film. This is particularly important with night-time exteriors.  If you have lighting for your film shoots will add production value.

  5. Film Production Value: Makeup and Costumes and not to mention creating a good looking production design on your sets is essential. This will help your film be festival worthy and also will advance your filmmaking career.

  6. Great postproduction.
    Learning to Edit and add music, titles and colouring is a must for the indie Filmmaker.
    Shoots only gain shots that are the building blocks of any film. It is true to say that the film is actually made in post production.

  7. It is more involved than it might seem and many people can feel somewhat lost.  A really good filmmaking course can fill in the gaps and help you network with like-minded people.If you need help to learn filmmaking, we have 4 month filmmaking courses in Sydney or Melbourne.

  8. Editing and completing your scene, can be learnt online with a really good online Editing Course 

It is such a big cost saving, when you shoot on your mobile phone. Hiring an expensive camera and the lens and the grips gear and tripods can cost close to $700 per day. And then using it is the next challenge.

Shooting on your phone is a great idea if budgets are tight.

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