Better Shooting with a Mobile Device

Capture Intimate Moments for Your Project and Story


By Bart Weiss

Shooting a film with an iPhone is nothing new. Indeed, when the iPhone was invented Steve Jobs had stills and movies in mind. But there is a difference between audio video recording home movies where you are just mindlessly capturing what is in front of the camera versus telling cinematic stories. Mobile devices are not only cheaper but can uniquely capture and give viewers intimate moments whether the story is a documentary or narrative. If you are thinking of shooting your next project with a mobile device, ask yourself, “How am I going to take advantage of what this allows me to do?

Next, figure out what app to use. Ditch the app that comes with the phone and use one of the two great apps that gives you a real sense of control.

The first is Filmic Pro. This app can give you zebra strips to help with exposure, false color to help with dynamic range, peaking to help with focus and many other features that high-end video cameras have, including waveform and vector scopes.  It has sliders to do a zoom, or a rack focus. You can even get and use an in-app purchase to shoot Log.

The other app is Mavis Pro which does exactly was Film Pro does, with a bit nicer interface but it much more expensive.

One of the big problems about shooting with the phone is keeping it steady. There are many tripods to use but to me the thing that really makes shooting with mobile sing is the DJI Osmo Mobile. The Osmo allows you to glide though space, track a person, program a panoramic shot, and so much more. While there is a DJI GO app to shoot with.

You can and should work with Filmic Pro, which gives you so much more control. If you let your mind wander you can image how you can follow your characters around, follow action and get dynamic footage while keeping a low crew profile.

Like any good tool, don’t expect to be able to take it out of the box and make it sing immediately. You need to learn how to move, walk though spaces and control Filmic Pro. It’s not hard – it is simply a different skill. So, practice before you shoot, and you can have something really special.


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