Filming with iPhone – 7 tricks for better videos (and 4 dont’s)

You want to record a professional video, but have neither a cameraman nor a decent camera?

Just do it yourself – with your iPhone!

Mobile phones are becoming more and more powerful each year and the manufacturers attach great importance to a specific component: the camera.

Movies shot with iPhone

iPhone cameras are among the most powerful on the market and have been used to shoot professional videos for several years now . There are even whole movies shot with these small phones.

Steven Soderbergh’s full-length feature film Unsane was called “one of his best movies” by the New York Times. And after moving away from the DCEU, Zack Snyder directed the short film “Snow Steam Iron.” Both movies were shot entirely with an iPhone 7 Plus. And even further back – in 2015 – the movie Tangerine was captured on an iPhone 5s. This experiment paid off, and the film went on to win a lot of awards.

Tricks for filming with iPhone

Setting the resolution, slow motion speed and grid.

If you want to take professional video images with your iPhone too, consider the following seven tips.

1. The right resolution

Before you start filming with iPhone you should set the video resolution as high as possible, so that you later have more flexibility in editing. Since the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, there are resolutions up to 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels).

2. Show grid

To be aware of the composition of your video, I recommend showing the 3×3 grid. So you can perfectly stick to the rule of thirds.

3. Keep it steady

The lighter the camera, the sooner wobblers sneak in. Therefore, use a tripod with a mobile phone holder or try to keep the iPhone nice and steady with a stable stand and both hands on the phone. Newer versions (since 7 Plus)  will help you with optical image stabilization.

4. Lots of light

Since your iPhone has a relatively small sensor, you need as much light as possible. If you do not have extra video lights on hand, always try to shoot with the sunlight (or window) in your back. So that your main subject gets all the light evenly distributed.

5. Set the exposure

Also, the right exposure of a scene is important. Always use the manual exposure lock while filming with iPhone. Make sure that no part of your scene is too bright and no part too dark. To set the exposure just tap and hold your finger on the screen until this little yellow square appears. Swipe up and down to adjust the exposure.

Filming with iPhone - Camera

iPhone X with its two camera lenses, mounted on a tripod

Filming with iPhone - Viewfinder

Grid enabled and manual exposure locked

6. Recording sound

The microphone of your iPhone is not exactly well suited for recording good sound. Therefore always use an external mic. Depending on the situation, there are various low-budget options. When it comes to an interview, you should use a clip-on mic, but if you shoot a more complex scene, it should be a directional microphone.

Filming with iPhone - Microphone

There are some good and inexpensive microphones available.

7. Slowmotion

With the newer iPhone models, you can also shoot excellent slow motion. You can set the desired slowdown in the camera options. But make sure the resolution does not drop below 720p. The quality of your captured video image would be suffering too much.

Things you should avoid while filming with iPhone

In addition to these tips, I would like to list a few mistakes here.

1. Digital zoom

Under no circumstances, use the digital zoom of your iPhone! The picture quality suffers enormously. iPhone 7 Plus or newer come with two camera lenses, and you can use the optical 2x zoom without hesitation. But make sure to stop there.

2. Camera flash

The built-in camera flash should not be used to illuminate a scene. The light is much too weak and looks highly unprofessional on your recordings.

3. Internal Mic

As mentioned above, the internal mic is not suitable for professional recordings. Remember always to use an external microphone.

4. No ringing

Last but not least: Always turn on the flight mode before you start recording. The frustration is enormous when a call or text ruins the take!

If you take these dos and don’ts to heart, your video recording should be a lot more professional.

And if you also want to know how to illuminate a scene professionally, use your microphones right and edit your footage properly, then our Online Masterclass “Smart Video” is the right option for you. Sign up for our waiting list and be the first to get news and information about the Masterclass.

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