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So – you have an iPhone, like the rest of the world… or maybe you have an Android. Let’s just call it a smartphone, eh? If you’re anything like me, I am constantly using my phone for snapping quick photos or videos of whatever I’m doing. If you love documenting any part of your life, having a capable phone at your side is a huge perk in doing so. In fact, you can even shoot very professional looking photos on your phone. But shooting professional video with your iPhone? That may be a step into unknown territory.
Now is your time to learn how to shoot the best looking cinematic footage with your iPhone. Fortunately, nearly any modern smartphone will have the ability to shoot really good looking video that you can use on your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.
Starting your dream YouTube channel, or making the quick video you’ve always had the vision for, definitely does not require a high-end camera and huge investment.
Also Read: Interested in Android vs. iPhone? Check out our article about it.
Here are the steps to creating professional videos with your iPhone:
The first step to creating professional, cinematic videos with your iPhone is having the ability to shoot in manual mode. This is best achieved by using the Moment Pro App. If you’re unable to use this app for any reason, don’t you worry. There are a simple few in-phone settings that can up your video game instead!
You may be thinking, “How do I shoot in Manual Mode on an iPhone?” Downloading the Moment Pro App will allow you to shoot fully manual mode on your iPhone. You can find out more about Moment and the Moment Pro app here.
Shooting in Manual Mode on your iPhone will allow you to have complete control over each scenario and scene that you film, while maintaining the DSLR-like buttery smooth look for each one of your clips.
If you’ve never taken the dive into manual mode, check out our very own Mastering Manual Mode (coming soon!).
Having complete control over your camera and its settings will give you much more confidence in shooting challenging or new scenarios, while still achieving consistent, professional looking footage.
The second step to mastering iPhone video is deciding which frame rate you’d like to use. Frame rate refers to how many individual frames (or photos) your phone is capturing for each second of video.
Frame rate can be noted by frames per second, or “fps”. The most common frame rates that most cameras will have is 24 fps, 30 fps, and 60 fps.
My personal favorite, and the industry standard for cinema is 24 fps (or 23.976). This will give you the smooth, natural looking style that you see in movies or nearly any professional video.
If you’re looking to shoot slow motion (slo-mo), 60 fps will be the best option. This frame rate is also more commonly used for reality TV shows because it presents a look similar to the way that our brain interprets things.
Some higher end DSLR cameras will allow shooting in 120 fps, which is even better for slower, smoother slow motion footage.
The third piece to the professional video puzzle, and arguably the most important, is choosing & maintaining the correct shutter speed. Shutter speed works directly with frame rate to obtain the buttery smooth style that we all love to feast our eyes upon.
Choosing the correct shutter speed is easily figured by using a simple equation : FRAME RATE x 2 = SHUTTER SPEED.
This means that if we decide to shoot our footage in 24 fps, we would choose a shutter speed of 1/50. If we decide to shoot at 60 fps, we would choose a shutter speed of 1/120, and so on.
The reason for this is that when footage is recorded at higher shutter speeds (1/200, 1/400, etc), it creates a very jarring, unnatural look that is not very good looking. Shutter speed is crucial to getting professional looking footage!
The aperture of your camera is similar to the pupil of an eyeball. The wider open the aperture is, the more light your camera is allowing in, while the smaller it is, the less light is being let in.
Aperture is also responsible for the depth-of-field, or the beautiful looking blurry background of your footage. Aperture is not as much of a factor in shooting video on a phone as it is with shooting video with a DSLR camera, but it still plays a role in your iPhone footage. Maybe someday we will be able to achieve the same amount of “bokeh” on our phones as we do our DSLR and mirrorless cameras…
The most common aperture that I personally shoot with is 3.5, 4.0, and 5.6. Once again, all of this is dependent on if I’m shooting indoor vs. outdoor, daylight vs. dusk, high action vs. stationary, and so on. Adjusting your aperture on your phone while shooting video will aid in helping to get your exposure of the scene set correctly.
The next piece of the puzzle for iPhone filmmaking is choosing your ISO.
The simplest way to explain ISO is that it adjusts your camera’s sensitivity to light. At ISO 100, your footage will be darker, and at ISO 800 your footage will be brighter.
Since higher ISO causes grain, artifacts, and unwanted noise in your footage, it’s always best to keep your ISO number as low as possible. Especially on phones, keeping your ISO low is especially important. An ISO above 500 on a phone may cause a lot of grain and cause your footage to look very poor.
If you’re very new to shooting video in manual mode, or you’re shooting scenes with variable light, shooting with your ISO on AUTO may be a good option for you.
One major piece of filmmaking that often gets overlooked, especially on iPhones, is white balance.
White balance refers to the “color temperature” of the image, ranging from cool (blue) to warm (yellow/orange). This is a huge help when making a scene look natural and can help to fit a certain mood or style.
White balance is especially important when shooting video on your phone because phones will vary the white balance while recording as the scene and color changes. This causes your footage to look very inconsistent and can be unappealing to the viewer.
When shooting video, using a custom white balance is a huge advantage. To do this, go into your menu settings, find white balance, and navigate to the custom white balance setting, where you’re able to change the temperature.
Temperature is measured in Kelvin or “K” and in numbers from roughly 3000K to 6000K. The rough standard for measuring in daylight is 5600K while indoors is 3200K. I will typically change these depending on the type of light and what artistic style I’m looking to achieve.
Something to think about when shooting any video is your subject. What makes something interesting? Are you shooting something that other people will be interested in, if that’s what you’re going for? What’s your niche?
Especially when it comes to shooting video on an iPhone, your subject may be extra important as it’s hard to get jaw-dropping footage of a dandelion or grass blowing in the wind on an iPhone. Because who cares what your subject is when it’s shot at professionally at 240 fps with some beautiful bokeh and golden hour sunlight?
Always think about your topic and if the video fits the problem you’re looking to solve with your channel, account, or personal style.
A huge thing that’s majorly overlooked with any video is the audio. No matter how amazing your footage is or how relevant your topic is, bad audio can ruin an otherwise good video. Imagine watching a Planet Earth video, and instead of the wonderful soft sound design, you hear screeches of other animals and peaking audio levels. Not so awe-inspiring after all.
Good audio can either complement a video, or discredit it entirely, so always be aware of your audio when shooting on an iPhone. If you’re really looking for a great duo, pair your iPhone footage with an external microphone such as the options below.
All in all, don’t let bad audio or music ruin your awesome, hard earned footage!
Getting started with shooting professional looking videos on your iPhone may be easier than you think.
It’s easy to get caught up making sure you have all of the best gear and equipment to make sure your videos are perfect, but that is NOT what it is about. Nearly any phone, smartphone, or iPhone on the market today will allow you to capture and document anything you’ve dreamed of. Shooting a short film, or starting a YouTube channel is entirely possible with your phone exclusively. Do it today!
Thanks for taking the time to read about how to shoot video using an iPhone. These steps are all very important to getting a professional look, but starting with WHATEVER settings you’re used to is completely okay. And most of all – just begin to create!
Nothing is ever going to be perfect, and everyone has to start somewhere. Finished is always better than perfect. Please leave any questions or comments you have below, and I will be happy to get back to you.