Producing films can be an expensive venture. However, the budget of a film isn’t directly proportional to its quality. For example, in recent years a number of Hollywood filmmakers have rejected large scale production cameras in favour of iPhones. In 2015 Sean Baker directed Tangerine on an iPhone 5 while in 2018 Steven Sodenberg directed Unsane on an iPhone 7 Plus. With this in mind, here are some entry level equipment and tips for ensuring you get the best out of what you have.
- Camera: A standard smart phone is more than sufficient for recording. It’s worth looking at the recording features of the phone. Many devices now have some manual functionality that gives you more control of the look of a shot. For example, it’s possible to lock the exposure on most devices so the camera doesn’t automatically brighten or darken the image. These are some helpful pointers.
- The quality of the image largely depends on the location. Try to find spaces that are well lit, but be wary of shooting into light sources as this can be problematic.
- Composition is key. These guidelines show some of the best ways to produce visually engaging images.
- Sound: Bad sound recording is distracting and annoying. When conducting interviews it is important to keep the microphone as close to the interviewee as possible (within a metre or so). This may be a case of recording the audio on a separate device. Try to record in settings that have minimal extraneous noise and/or echo. A cheap and effective tip for recording voice over is to create a make-shift sound booth under a duvet.
- Editing: There are a number of good editing platforms. Most iPhones and iPads have iMovie, which is excellent entry-level editing software. For Android users there is Adobe Premiere Clip, which is also free. For those wishing to edit on a PC, Windows Movie Maker is an easy to use editing option.