How to shoot like a pro using an iPhone

Taking ‘Shot on iPhone’ to the next level

Remember the Bentley Motors documentary film shot using iPhone 6? The YouTube campaign had made waves online back in 2014 for being shot entirely on iPhones.

More recently, the entire fourth season of the Netflix show ‘Creative Indians’ was also filmed on an iPhone. As you can tell, the exceptional video capabilities of the modern day iPhone that capture 4K (Smart) HDR videos let you shoot anything from a celebrity to your pet dog, without the need for bulky DSLRs or professional camera gear. Wanna know how you too can take pro-level pics and videos using your iPhone? We were keen too.

So we caught up with Rabiya Nazki (HOD - Producing, School of Filmmaking at Whistling Woods International) who recently introduced an iPhone filmmaking course to the curriculum. And she had some really interesting shooting tips to share not just for those looking to shoot professional video with an iPhone, but also casual users who just want their friends, family, kids or pets captured better on their next vacation, sans that bulky DSLR. Nazki explains...

PRO TIPS

Plan, plan… and plan some more

Solid planning for every aspect of the film is a must.  Have a good team in place, which is equally passionate about the format and ever ready to experiment till you get it right. From research to execution, every aspect needs to be planned painstakingly for better output. Be it scheduling, budgeting, script formatting, or numerous other areas in making a film.

App-it like it’s hot

Google Sheets, Docs and Slides, Numbers, Pages and Keynote are cloud-based sharing and syncing apps that can help you a great deal in writing, communicating and scheduling. Story boards are very important to create a flawless execution. Studio Binder, Story Board composer and Shot Designer are some of the apps and software that will add value to your mobile film project. Apps like Shot Lister and Movie Slate are apt for scheduling and logging. They provide you web access, crew sync, multi-export formats, detailed reports and advanced search functions.

Fancy footwork

Slang for ‘reconnaissance’, ‘recce’ may be a short word but involves a lot of footwork. Tech recce is one of the most desired and needed aspects of a mobile filmmaking project. Check out the space that you are shooting in and observe how it changes in terms of sound, light, environment and people from morning to evening. This will give you a fair amount of readiness of how to handle the changing variables of a space and hatch a backup plan to tackle the challenges that come your way.

Follow the Sun

Take note of the sunlight and see how you can use it to your advantage. Apps like Compass, Sun Seeker, Artemis, Sun Surveyor, Sun Scout and Cadrage can be of great multi export formats help.

Better sound makes a better film

Sound can be a challenge in making a mobile film, but consider better microphones and software options for your iPhone. There are many professional recording apps out there, and a lot of external microphone options you can add on to get even better quality audio. Spending some money on audio accessories is never a bad idea.

Easy editing

Filmic Pro is an app aimed at pro mobile-video creators who want manual control over the camera, with the ability to finely control parameters, set up custom presets and – perhaps most importantly– max out the video recording bit rate. Adobe Rush and iMovie apps can cover your editing needs from the basics to the complex. Premiere Rush CC is Adobe's first all-in-one, cross-device online video editing app. Premiere Rush includes the power of Adobe's Pro Tools: you can capture video, edit, colour-correct, record and clean up audio, customise animated titles, and publish to social media all in one tool.

MASTER THE BASICS

  • Frame your shots in landscape position. Even if you are shooting 4:4 for social videos, you will still get the best resolution from shooting landscape.
  • An iPhone’s built-in microphones aren’t professional enough and are generally omni-directional. But if you want to use the built-in microphone, get up close to your subject.
  • Light is god. Shoot in well-lit spaces. If shooting indoors, make sure you have a strong light source.
  • The main footage is A-roll, the cutaway footage is B-roll. B-Roll has many uses, and can make a boring video more interesting and dynamic.
  • Regularly clear out any unwanted data from your iPhone before you plan to shoot.

Gear you need

  • Moment Lenses, Camkix Lens, Oloclip, ExoLens clip-on lenses contribute highly to the cinematic quotient of your film.
  • Multimedia iRig 2 Guitar Interface Adaptor, RØDE iXY microphone, RØDE Smartlev+ lapel mic will give you excellent quality audio.
  • Small and compact gimbals such as the DJI Osmo Mobile, Zhiyun Smooth 3 are great for smooth and stable shots while shooting.
  • For stable compositions and shooting time-lapse, you must use tripods and adapters that are lightweight and easy to carry and mount. Some good ones include the Benro Mini tripod and MeFoto Sidekick 360 Plus.
  • Leef iBridge, Photofast Memories cable, SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick and Mophie Space Pack are some of the most effective external storage options for your recordings.