Article provided by National Library Board

How can I shoot and edit movies and videos on my smartphone?

PHOTOS: NATIONAL LIBRARY BOARD

Smartphone videography capabilities have come a long way - even if you are an amateur, the best news is, everything you need is in the palm of your hand.

There are many easy ways to quickly elevate your videography game. Whether it is to enhance your holiday videos or add polish to your business marketing clips, the askST@NLB podcast on 29 Jan offers tips and tricks of filmmaking from video creative director Jonathan Roberts.

As smartphone cameras get souped-up, even the pros have taken to shooting full-length films on mobile phones. In fact, Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh has shot two movies entirely on the iPhone – psychological thriller Unsane in 2018 and the 2019 Netflix sports drama High Flying Bird.

Pre-production Preparations

As the saying goes: If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. Even for spontaneous creators, it never hurts to think through what you want your end product to look like. A simple storyboard that includes a list of must-have shots, along with some sketches, will help kickstart a productive shoot.

Filming your masterpiece:

Good lighting can set the mood of your video even before the action begins. The basic rule of thumb in making sure your subject is well-lit is to place the light source in front of him or her. This is because unwanted backlight can darken facial features.

Before hitting the record button, scan the scene first to avoid capturing any unnecessary distractions.  

Post-production (Editing):

So you have gathered all your shots - putting them together to tell a cohesive and compelling story is another challenge in itself. Not to worry. Figuring out your camera’s strengths and weaknesses will help greatly in identifying the best editing software for your film.

For instance, iPhones’ built-in iMovie editing feature allows for an integrated video production experience. While Android smartphones may boast superior camera quality, they could have more limited access to video editing applications.

With the right tools and lots of practice, you’ll soon be on your way to creating beautifully shot footage. 

Here are some books to help kickstart your videography journey:

1. The Filmmaker's Handbook (2020)

By Steven Ascher and Edward Pincus

E-book available at: https://nlb.overdrive.com/media/1173392#

The updated 2020 edition of The Filmmaker’s Handbook uncovers the secrets to success in modern movie-making with insights into HD and digital formats. Whether you are a novice or a professional, this comprehensive guide guarantees takeaways for everyone.

2. Hacks for TikTok (2020)

By Kyle Brach

E-book available at: https://nlb.overdrive.com/media/5507210

In recent years, TikTok has taken the world by storm. If you are looking to stand out from the crowd on this booming social media platform, Hacks for TikTok is the book for you. From video editing tricks to how to make money with your content, get better equipped with tips aplenty that will make you TikTok famous in no time.

3. Make Your Own Amazing YouTube Videos (2017)

By Brett Juilly

E-book available at: https://nlb.overdrive.com/media/3596630

Want to make memorable YouTube videos? Let this comprehensive guide show you the way. From introducing yourself on camera to identifying trending topics, it’s the perfect steppingstone to online success and to building an audience while doing what you love.

4. Rocliffe Notes – A Guide to Low-Budget Filmmaking (2019)

By Farah Abushwesha

E-book available at: https://nlb.overdrive.com/media/3241574

This book walks you through the basics of filmmaking journey step-by-step. Covering processes like budgeting, casting and even marketing, it shows you how to create the film of your dreams – even on a shoestring budget.

5. Start to Finish: Woody Allen and the Art of Moviemaking (2017)

By Eric Lax

E-book available at: https://nlb.overdrive.com/media/3234280

In this fascinating record of Woody Allen’s entire creative process for the 2015 movie, Irrational Man, the internationally acclaimed director’s journey throws up interesting details behind the scenes – and reveals the magic of filmmaking that all movie buffs and aspiring cinematographers will delight in. 

6. 101 Things I Learned in Film School (2021)

By Neil Landau and Matthew Frederick

E-book available at: https://nlb.overdrive.com/media/5403783

Looking to dip your toes into the world of film? You will find out all you need to know from award-winning producer, screenwriter and professor, Neil Landau. With simple, summarised lessons in everything from the use of camera angles to writing compelling plots, 101 Things I Learned in Film School is easy to follow even for complete beginners!

7. Stories for Work: The Essential Guide to Business Storytelling (2017)

By Gabrielle Dolan

E-book available at: https://nlb.overdrive.com/media/3041075

Want to boost your marketing game with engaging videos? Business leader trainer Gabrielle Dolan reveals what drives purchase decisions and dishes out useful advice such as how to grab the audience’s attention and identify compelling narratives.

8. Into the Woods: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them (2013)

By John Yorke

E-book available at: https://nlb.overdrive.com/media/1255434

At the core of every great story is form and function. Follow John Yorke, creator of the BBC Writers' Academy, as he uncovers the essence of stories from myths to blockbusters. Master the craft of meaningful storytelling and add depth to your films!