Cell phone technology has advanced at an unbelievable pace since the 1980’s. In the dark dystopian future of 2017, entire feature length movies are shot on so-called ‘Smart Phones’. What does it all mean? Just how smart are they? Are these ‘Smart Phones’ planning a revolution? Can they feel?
Seriously, though, smartphones are becoming smarter, faster, cheaper, better accessorised and with a ton of APP-titude, and more capable when it comes to shooting video. If you are on a tight budget or no budget at all, a smartphone might be the smart option.
One great thing about smartphone filmmaking is that companies are realizing their potential and are creating a ton of accessories to help you make your ‘smartfilm’.
You can get everything from tripods and sliders to high-quality stabilizers and even new lenses and for your smartphone. You can get pretty much anything you could get with an ordinary camera to help make your film all it can be.
There are a ton of great smartphone filmmaking apps for both iPhones and Android-based phones. You’ve got viewfinder apps, zoom enhancement apps, apps to give you fine control over all your smartphone camera options. Check out this article for a list of 10 great apps for filmmakers.
Let’s be honest, your iPhone is not going to produce as nice a picture as an Arri Alexa, but it’s pretty damn good and many industry-leading festivals like Raindance now widely accept smartphone films! Remember, the picture quality is not the be-all-end-all of a film. The quality of the visuals of your film is not as important as the quality of your story. Tell an engaging story and the audience won’t care if you filmed your movie with a potato (don’t shoot on a potato).
Depending on your situation, shooting on a smartphone may give you the best bang for your buck. A 256 GB iPhone 7 will cost you around $900. That’s not cheap, I know, but this cost can be mitigated depending on your mobile plan. And an iPhone is by no means a necessity. There are cheaper smartphone alternatives on the market that give just as good results. The Samsung Galaxy s7 is around $650 and an HTC 10 is about $750. There are a ton of different smartphones on the market, with many different price points and capabilities when it comes to filmmaking. Do your research and find the best one for your budget.
There are some limitations when shooting on a smartphone. Software, storage, power consumption and available frame rates are going to be your primary concerns if you’re interested in smartphone filmmaking. You want to make sure you have enough battery and storage to get everything you need on shoot day. Like DSLR’s and proper cinema cameras, there is no one best option. There are many things to consider when choosing how to shoot your film but for those of us living in the dystopian future of 2017, our ever so smartphones have yet to revolt and stand ready to serve us in all our filmmaking endeavors.