Mobile phone = pro camera?

Posted by in Camera, Social Media, Video & internet

iphonecameraEver since mobile phones and tablets have HD video capabilities, I have been very much tempted to use them as professional camera’s. Sure, there are many limitations but they have some tricks that professional camera’s don’t offer: light, small, cheap, playfull, cool camera apps, social media integration and superfast editing.

Limitations are obvious. Low bitrate, low latitude, no real manual controls and a tiny lens/sensor are the biggest obstacles to an immersive image. But these limitations are only technical. There is more to filmmaking!  By taking all the technical stuff away, there are no technical limits too. Creativity can flow free.

Add to that the advantage of cool apps and a quick and easy delivery to social media and you have a tool that fit’s today’s media consumption. Your audience wants short video’s before, during and quickly after the event or shoot. They want to be there, with you, on the ride. With a mobile phone camera and some apps you can do that easily. Not that it is impossible to do with one of the bigger guns but you need more gear, more time and a bigger crew.

Some tips, do’s an don’ts:

  • don’t try to mimic classic filmmaking and don’t focus in image perfection
  • use modern social media video concepts and focus on content, performance and timing
  • be careful with backlight, low light and high-contrast situations
  • shoot a lot, edit fast, use music, graphics, titles
  • try apps, hypes, live online, deliver within 30 minutes
  • Use a monopod and other grip to hold your camera

I have used my iPhone as a B-cam on several paid projects. Clients are very happy with a couple of 6-second Vines or a Cameo video. So easy, so much fun. Slowmotion, hyper-lapse or a quick time-lapse? Easy. I even used some iPhone shots intercut with DSLR footage. Be careful there; the image can disintegrate during grading. But once you learn how to avoid the bad and exploit the good, your tiny phone camera is a unique, professional tool.