Make a short film with a Smartphone

More than a true vocation, filmmaking, guerilla is today a need for a lot of filmmakers lack of resources. A few years ago, the equipment needed for the shooting of a short film, was extremely important, and very expensive. Fortunately, times have changed, and it is even possible to make a short film with a Smartphone. Below you will find some tips to make a short film with an iPhone, Samsung Galaxy or other mobile phone.

Practical advice for shooting

In fact, before the shoot, I would like to talk about the preparation. It is all the more important that your resources are limited. And if you turn your movie with a smartphone is that you don’t have to have a big budget ! The more you prepare your film upload, the more you will save time at the time of the shooting. The basis, as we have already said many times, this is the scenario. So make sure you have worked your scenario with a certain rigor. Once you have a scenario that would like the road, do not throw yourself on your camera. Many tools allow you to understand the shooting of your film : Make sure you have a cutting technique and a work plan !

The cutting technique is a table showing, for each sequence, the different plans-to-turn. It lists the number of plans, the position and the movement of the camera, the dialogues, music and other sounds. The work plan is a schedule of filming. It includes the plans and sequences to be shot, what time is dan, what place. It also contains information, the technical team will be at the point. Indicate the members of the team involved and any other information that you feel is relevant to the preparation of the film.

For a short film, you will not necessarily have the time to do two weeks of rehearsals. Nevertheless, it is essential to do a preparatory work with the actors. If they have not understood in advance about the tone you’re looking for the character, this will make your first day of shooting is very complicated. If you can, arrange so a script reading or rehearsal with your actors and actresses.

For the shoot, try to be the most effective. I advise you particularly to apply a method very common in the Hollywood of 30 years : For each sequence, turn the entire with several values of plans, without a break. Make a decision in the wide shot, a second in medium shot, and a close-up on each of the actors.This operation has its limits, but when there is a lack of experience and certainty, it allows you to ensure the minimum. By doing this, you are virtually guaranteed to be able to make a timeline that is consistent, without wrong connection. After that, you can afford to work the points more specific with the actors, to imagine more ambitious plans… But make sure first the essential.

For filming with a smartphone, I advise you also to prioritise the plans to be fixed. Even with good equipment, the sequences with camera movements are the most difficult to achieve. If some of the big directors like Steven Spielberg or David Fincher are great followers of the movement of the camera for almost all their plans, others, such as Sidney Lumet and Francis Ford Coppola, prefer to use them with moderation ! This makes the shooting more easy and lets you focus on other aspects, such as the composition of the frame and the actors. Especially, if you limit the camera movement in some sequences, they will have more force than the other. A good way to play with the intensity and the feeling of the viewer.

Accessories to make beautiful videos

Several accessories can help you have a result of high-quality, same with a smartphone. Here are a few accessories that I highly recommend :

  • A tripod is rigid : Essential for the realization of your fixed plans.
  • A flexible tripod : Convenient to fix the smartphone on a single support and the same for your dolly. The combo flexible tripod + Samsung Galaxy S7 (equipped with a stabilizer built in) provides results which are quite impressive)
  • Objectives : The wide-angle lenses allow you to enhance the depth of field while telephoto lenses allow you to film a specific point. Fisheye lenses (and its forms, unreal), and Macro (for very close-ups of all the small details) also allow, in their own way, to give another stamp to your mise-en-scene.

Discover a kit for Samsung Galaxy S8 and similar device

Discover a kit for the Iphone

Discover the packs of objectives Pixter

And among the stabilizers ?

More and more models of stabilizers for smartphones allow for filming plans in motion without shaking. the result is incredible, it really has the feeling that the camera plane. I was able to make shots with the stabilizer 3 axis GSP, and I took quite a slap !

Lessons of cinema of Michel Gondry

Michel Gondry has directed the entirety of his short film, Detour with an Iphone. He took the opportunity to contribute to six lessons of cinema, which you can see in the video below.

The effect film with a smartphone

The accelerated to give the pace to the mounting

Frame-by-frame – animation-with a mobile

The slow motion, a very special effect

Night scene – The american night

And to end this article, here’s the short film Detour, Michel Gondry, made with a smartphone, which is available in its entirety on Youtube.

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