Ever since the feature film, Tangerine, was shot on an iPhone 5s in December 2014, it was only a matter of time before smartphones acquired more cinematic capabilities.
When it comes to images, Apple has led the smartphone market with the latest technology to capture high-quality images in photo mode.
Portrait mode, which was released with the iPhone 7 plus, quickly became a fan favorite and now, it looks as if Apple has brought that same technology to iPhone 13’s video recording capabilities.
Apple has been gradually trying to place itself as a tool for filmmakers. Emmanuel Lubezki, the cinematographer of The Revenant and Gravity, was even recruited by Apple to demonstrate the iPhone 12 Pro’s filmmaking capabilities with a “Shot on iPhone 12 Pro” ad.
Nowadays you don’t need high-end film equipment to make professional videos. All you need is your iPhone camera and some creativity.
Here are 9 tips on how to shoot videos on your iPhone.
How To Do Videography on iPhone Professionally
Professional videos are the result of various aspects of video coming together cohesively. From framing and lighting to sound, when these elements of video are created with high-quality equipment and techniques, the final product is a video that looks and sounds amazing.
There are a few different ways you can achieve this level of quality when recording an iPhone video.
1. Shoot in Landscape
A professional video recording is rarely shot vertically. They are instead shot horizontally otherwise known as Landscape. Videos have traditionally been created to be played on televisions and computer monitors that have 16:9 sized screens. 16:9 is the standard size used in the video industry and subsequently became the standard aspect ratio to record video in (1920×1080 pixels).
However, vertical videos are sometimes used online on different social media platforms like Instagram or TikTok.
2. Choose The Proper Frame Rate and Resolution
The frame rate is the number of individual frames that make up each second of video recorded. High frame rates capture more images per second which make a smoother video. 24fps is the cinematic standard and has been for decades.
The iPhone can shoot video at this frame rate along with 30 and 60 fps. iPhones can also shoot at 120fps in Slo-Mo. The higher the frame rate, the less cinematic your iPhone video will look.
The resolution of a video is the number of pixels in each individual frame. The more pixels there are, the better your video quality will be. High-definition is typically 1080p which is 1920×1080 pixels. iPhones have the ability to shoot high-definition video and since the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, iPhones have been able to film video at 4K resolution. 4K takes up more space.
3. Use Manual Settings
iPhone apps like Moment or Filmic allow users to change many camera settings that they would not be able to otherwise.
Shutter speed, aperture, and ISO are all functions used to determine the exposure of a camera. The aperture of an iPhone is not able to be changed which means that the only way to adjust the exposure is to change the shutter speed or ISO. The aperture of an iPhone is very wide with a lot of depth of field, ranging from f/1.6 to f/2.8.A high ISO will make the image brighter but it will also add more grain. Too much grain in an image is distracting and looks overall unprofessional.
Video is a series of frames and shutter speed determines the amount of time each frame is exposed for. A fast shutter speed will capture rapid-moving objects without blurring, whereas a slow shutter speed will pick up even sluggish moving objects with some blur.
The shutter speed is typically double the frame rate for a cinematic look. So, if you are filming at 30fps (frames per second), your shutter speed should be 1/60. If you want to capture fast-moving action clearly for sports videography, then a high shutter speed (1/1000 or more) may be the best choice.
4. Utilize Cinematic Mode
The iPhone 13, Mini, Pro, and Pro Max have the ability to use cinematic mode. This is a function in the camera app that allows users to use cinematic effects when recording videos.
The main effect provided is the ability to add shallow depth of field and beautiful focus transitions. The depth of field is digital, which has advantages and drawbacks. Since the focus is digital, users have the ability to change the focus points during the video editing process which is a huge advantage.
The downside to the effect is that the shallow depth of field can sometimes look terribly fake, rendering an image unusable.
5. Stabilize Your Footage
Professional videos are rarely shaky.
The best way to avoid having shaky footage is to use a tripod or some other form of stabilization. iPhone users have a few different options when it comes to stabilizing their videos.
6. Use ProRes on iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max
Apple ProRes is one of the most popular codecs used by professional filmmakers. The codec has lossless compression and delivers high-quality images at lower bitrates, which allows more flexibility in post-production processing. ProRes makes editing 10-bit, 4:2:2, 4:4:4, high-definition, and high-resolution video manageable.
Apple added ProRes to the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max in 2021, which gives users more options when video editing. ProRes is available to use up to 4K at 30fps except on the 128gb models. The codec is not available in cinematic, time-lapse, or Slo-Mo mode.
7. Record Audio Externally
Video is not all visual. Audio makes up half of the video experience. Even in silent films, there is music. With a phone, recording sound gets a little complicated. iPhones only have one port at the bottom of the phone that is mostly used for charging. This means that users need to purchase an adapter in order to use external microphones or audio devices that have a lightning cable. For example, ZOOM has an external microphone that you can plug directly into the phone.
The other option is to record the audio separately from the iPhone. This can be done with a portable digital recorder like a ZOOM H4n or a Tascam DR-40x. Using a separate digital recorder gives users more flexibility to use a variety of microphones.
8. Lighting Can Make All The Difference
A videographer can do a lot to create a professional video out of the camera but without good lighting, the video will fall flat. Good lighting is essential to make a video with high production value. There are a few ways to achieve good lighting when filming video on iPhone. One way is to leverage natural light. The sun is the brightest light we have and sometimes it’s all we need to light a scene. If a sun is shooting through a window, use it to your advantage the best way you can. This could be by using the window light as a key or using it as a hair light.
Another way to create good lighting is by using the three-point lighting method. The three-point lighting method is a traditional method used in film, video, and photography. The technique has three lights (key light, fill light, and backlight) on a subject at various intensities, distances, and angles to produce a three-dimensional image. The three lights are…
- The key light is the main light source used.
- Fill light is used to fill in the shadows created by the key light.
- Backlight is used to separate the subject from the background or put a highlight on the subject’s backside.
Read More: Three-Point Lighting For Video Explained
9. White Balance
Light has many different colors. The sun going down and the sky turning orange produces warm light, whereas an overcast sky emits a cool light. The different colors of light are measured through a color temperature scale. Warm colors are usually on the lower end of the scale at 3200 kelvin and cooler colors are usually higher on the scale at 5600 kelvin. White balance is the process of matching your camera settings to the color temperature to remove any color casts in an image. To put it simply, white balancing makes a white object truly white on camera.
iPhones have an automatic white balancing feature in the camera app that users can’t control. The good news is that the iPhone does a pretty good job at white balancing most shots. But there are times when the automatic white balance doesn’t quite get it right and users will need to adjust it manually. If you want to change the white balancing manually, you can do so through third-party camera apps. Here are a few camera apps that give users flexibility with camera settings:
- FiLMiC Pro
- ProMovie Recorder
Filmmaking Technology is Only Becoming More Widely Available
The democratization of cinematic camera features like ProRes, high resolution, and high dynamic range is an evolution that has been a long time coming. Apple has been looking to break into the filmmaker market for a while now. The new iPhones may not be used to create blockbuster films but they do lay the groundwork for widely accessible cinematic filmmaking comparable to many DSLRs. Creating professional videos has never been easier and with the new iPhone 13 Pro Max, anyone can create a video.
If you need professional videos made for your business, you could start recording on an iPhone or you could contact Jungle Films to create a high-quality video for you. Jungle Films is a video production company in New Jersey that specializes in creating all types of videos for their clients. Our team is made up of seasoned creative professionals that will work with you to make sure your videos are effective and professionally made. Get in touch with Jungle Films here.