Make great videos on your phone for anything from social media to teaching content.
What if I told you television and film professionals are using gear you already own? “Not a chance!” you’d say. Well, it may surprise you to learn that producing great content is as close as reaching for your mobile phone.
Award-winning moviemakers, network journalists, and documentary filmmakers are all looking at their phones differently these days. A new industry saying is, “The best camera you have is the camera you have with you.”
Few people would say the mobile phone will completely replace a high-end professional camera in terms of color range, depth of field, or quality of optics. But if you don’t have the money to purchase high-end gear (and how many ministry teams do?), look no further than the mobile phone in your pocket (or in your hands.)
How about editing, adding graphics, and even color-correcting footage? These production steps are how you take a video to the next level. That certainly means making some purchases, right? Wrong. Those tasks can also be done on a mobile device you may already own. Yes, even 4K video editing is possible without busting the budget.
Produce sensational sound: Best Budget Entry-Level USB Microphone For Church Videos
It’s not just about the cost either. The portability of a mobile phone is great for things like capturing youth camps or mission trips and editing a video right where you are. Plus, if you have network coverage or wifi, you can upload that video immediately to your server or social media. How powerful would it be for your ministry to see images shot on location, possibly even on the same day?
The world of video production is getting smaller, but don’t just take my word for it. I spoke with two leading app developers to find out who is using mobile products and how. I asked them the big question: “Can high-quality video be produced with just a mobile device?”
How to Make Great Videos on Your Phone
PROFESSIONAL CAMERA CONTROL
If you look carefully at the small print on many of Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” videos, you’ll see a reference to Filmic Pro. This is an app that costs under $20 and adds superior camera controls to your device. It is available on iOS and Android and can be called the “secret ingredient” to a professional-looking mobile video.
Neil Barham is the founder and CEO of Filmic. The company was founded on the idea that if the camera image controls were better on a mobile phone, maybe good productions were possible. That was nearly a decade ago when mobile cameras were just a novelty and the image quality was pretty low. Neil says Filmic’s first big break came when Rolls Royce needed a video for new iPad integration in their cars. The producers thought it was only logical to produce the video with an iPhone. They turned to the Filmic app. “The first piece they did was especially beautiful,” Neil says. “They certainly didn’t expect the results would be that good.”Take advantage of breakthroughs in mobile device technology: Filmmakers are using inexpensive camera control and editing apps to produce award-winning videos from their phones. Click To Tweet
What really helped spread the word in the industry was a camera shootout that pitted an iPhone using Filmic against a Red Camera and a Sony F Series camera. Neil says the results were stunning, “We ended up beating the Sony F in a blind audience test.” This led to director Sean Baker entering a film in the Sundance Film Festival shot entirely on an iPhone. The film didn’t win but got picked up for national distribution. “That certainly showed us that the production value was good enough to play the biggest venues in the world,” Neil says.
Mobile phone cameras have increased in resolution, and so has their acceptance in the industry. Neil tells us that iPhones are found in use in productions on almost every level and that Hollywood directors like Steven Soderbergh and Matthew Cherry are embracing mobile filmmaking.
DESKTOP-LEVEL EDITING ON MOBILE
Terri Morgan is the co-founder of LumaTouch, the company that created the LumaFusion editing app. It’s available for iOS and Android for under $30. She tells us that editing on mobile devices is gaining traction, just like shooting. “Many journalists, especially in Europe, have completely switched to shooting on mobile, editing on mobile, and delivering from mobile,” she says.
Terri spent many years as a professional editor and says editing with a mobile device actually makes your production better. “It means you’re editing more often. And when you edit more often, you just get better at editing.” There are limitations with mobile compared to standard editing, but Terri says it actually gives you a new workflow. “You can spend more time thinking about your story, about how you want it to flow,” she explains. “If you need an extra shot, you’ve got your camera and your edit system in one. So you can go right there and get that extra shot.”Filmmaking on mobile phones is now accepted industry-wide. Beat your church budget and produce high-quality videos for social media, marketing, in-house content, and more. Click To Tweet
WHAT GEAR DO YOU NEED?
One challenge of shooting with your mobile phone is stability. It’s a bit awkward and shaky holding the lightweight device. There are many great choices to add a grip to your camera. Some even have motorized gimbals like the popular Moza Mini-S or the Stedicam Volt. Both run about $100 and will give you great moves. Or even a simple tripod clip for your phone will cost less than $25, and you can use your existing gear.
Another consideration is sound. Your mobile phone does have a built-in microphone, but it certainly won’t give you a quality recording. Fortunately, here too we find some great, inexpensive solutions. Rode makes the VideoMic Me, a small shotgun for iPhone and Android phones. It retails for under $80 and will capture high-quality directional sound. You can also find several companies that make a lavalier designed to plug directly into your phone’s headphone jack. For example, Polsen has the MO-IDL1 that includes a switch for standard or phone-optimized output. It retails for under $30.
Ultimately, the video pros I talked to say it’s really about the story you want to tell. The tools you use to tell it can either help or hinder it. The camera you have with you may be exactly what you need. Don’t allow expense to be the barrier that stops you from telling the stories God gives you.