Oftentimes, your iPhone requires some extra help in low-light
situations. External lights are great for adding and manipulating light and modifying the tone and mood of your set. I’ll
sometimes use my Godox LED Light (starting at $20) to
remove shadows from my subject’s face or to add a pop of
brightness in a scene. Because these lights are compact, they
have a permanent place in my bag.
Power and Storage
Nothing fills your iPhone’s storage more than filming hours of
footage. Shooting 30 minutes of 4K footage shot at 30 fps will
net about 10 gigabytes of storage. Even though my iPhone
has 256 GB of storage, I’m constantly offloading video onto
an external flash drive or wireless drive. I use the SanDisk
128 GB Lightning Flash Drive ($62–$120) to transfer files
to and from my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook. For more permanent storage, I use the WD My Passport Wireless Pro
Drive (starting at $149.99). Power is also another problem.
If I’m going to shoot for longer than 20 minutes, I will plug
my iPhone into an external charger and charge as I’m filming.
There’s nothing worse than running out of battery in the middle of a shoot!
Overall, my advice with gear is that there’s no one set of
gear to always bring. Don’t bring everything and the kitchen
sink! It defeats the purpose of shooting with an iPhone. You
need to think about the shoot and customize accordingly.
CHOOSING YOUR CAMERA APP
The last thing I recommend is to get an app that will let you
fully control all of your camera settings. My favorite, which
seems to be many filmmakers’ favorite, including Steven
Soderbergh who used this app to film Unsane, is Filmic Pro.
This is the app that lets me use one of my iPhones as a remote for controlling settings on my iPhone X. This allows me
to place my iPhone in the most obscure places to get those
creative shots. The strength of Filmic Pro is that it allows me
to control the resolution, frame rate, shutter speed, exposure,
focus area, and even color modes of what I’m filming. This is
super important if you want quality video!
EXECUTING THE SHOOT
Once I have all the gear, it’s just a matter of executing the
shoot. Because there’s not a whole lot of gear or settings to
mess around with when shooting on your iPhone, it’s much
easier to focus on the creativity of filmmaking. However, it
can also be easy to forget to be a filmmaker when you’re just
using the iPhone. Remember that you have to move your
iPhone like you would any video camera. That means you
need to do your trucking shots, your dolly shots, your pans,
and your pulls. Just because you’re filming with an iPhone
doesn’t mean the artistry behind filmmaking is gone. It’s very
much there. And with the iPhone, you can get creative with
your shots because it fits in the most random places!
Making a quality video with your iPhone is easier now than
ever thanks to ample accessories and technology created
specifically for mobile filmmaking. If you’re a beginner when
it comes to filmmaking, the iPhone is a great place to start,
because of the relatively low investment you’ll need to make
in gear and the ability to focus on what truly matters—visual
creativity and storytelling. But I tell ya, once you get started
shooting on your iPhone, I’m guessing that you just might
stay with it because it’s that good. �
Cielo de la Paz is a mobile filmmaker, photographer, and founder of
TheStoryographist.com. Her work has been awarded the Gold Cannes Lions Award,
Mobile Photography Awards, and iPhone Photography Awards. With her iPhone
videography courses, Cielo has taught thousands to tell their stories. She teaches
courses at Stanford and globally at conferences and large institutions.