Let Your Smartphone Work For You…and Your Next Film!

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Following Samsung & Apple’s recent reveal of their dual-lens camera systems, and with steady improvements to phone camera specifications and accessories across the board, it’s no surprise that some independent filmmakers are steering toward the less-traditional style of smartphone  film-making. Of course, this kind of transition to a more efficient, cost-effective workflow is nothing new. Take for example journalism — and the fact that I’m coming at you live from my iPhone 5s.

So apply this to your newest film idea. You are planning production and realizing how expensive it is to make a film. It requires a lot of people, time, locations, and equipment. An awesome way for filmmakers with a tight budget to get their films made is to take advantage of what they already have at their disposal. This starts with your smartphone!

By using your phone as your camera, you can use the money you save on equipment for locations, extras, or even festival entry fees. Just look at Tangerine (2015) – the film was shot on three iPhone 5s and made its premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

Since the movement of smartphone film-making is growing, so have the gadgets that go along with it. Here are a few ways to make your movie on a budget:

  1. Smartphone

We already covered this, but according to Tom’s Guide, leading the way are Samsung’s Galaxy S9+ and G00gle Pixel 2 XL, and Apple’s iPhone X.

  1.  FilMic Pro App

Available on both Apple and Android products, FilMic Pro allows filmmakers to make the most of their phone’s camera. According to their site, the app allows its users to have “full manual control over focus, exposure, ISO, shutter speed, tint and color temperature” and allows you to adjust frame rates, gain control, and speed zoom. The app is only $14.99 and well worth the money.

  1. Smartphone Video Rig

Getting some form of a rig for your phone will also allow you to enhance the quality of your film. With a rig, you will be able to stabilize your phone and attach specialized lenses, mics, and lights. Two suggestions are Beastgrip Pro, a rig system compatible with all smartphones that also makes its own specialty lenses, and Helium Core, a protective iPhone video rig case that has been around for a couple of years.

  1.  Anamorphic Lens

An anamorphic lens will allow you to capture more in each frame, giving your film a widescreen impact without distorting its resolution with cinemascope black bars. These Moondog Labs lenses are compatible to be mounted to both the Beastgrip Pro and Helium Core rig cases.

Don’t get overwhelmed by your film’s production cost. Instead, use what you have to the best of your advantage and bring your film to life!