May 26, 2015

Smartphone Filmmaking Is Here to Stay: Learn How to Do It Right in This Free Workshop

Smartphone Filmmaking CreativeLive Course FiLMIC Pro
Even the most cynical among us (myself in particular) has to admit that smartphone filmmaking has come a long way in the past few years, and that the technology will only continue to get better as we push into the future.

On May 28th, this Thursday afternoon between the hours of 1pm and 4pm Pacific Time, our friends over at CreativeLive will be airing a three-hour crash course in smartphone filmmaking with some of the people who are doing it best. The course features Neill Barham (the dude who created FiLMIC Pro, which is one of the best filmmaking iPhone apps out there) and Jonathan Houser, a world-class cinematographer. They'll share how they use FiLMIC Pro in conjunction with audio tools from IK Multimedia in order to capture great image and audio quality.

The course will also feature guest appearances from Sean Baker and Chris Bergoch, the director/DP of the iPhone-shot Sundance hit Tangerine. That film was recently acquired by Magnolia for distribution, and it serves as tangible proof that major feature films needn't be shot with expensive equipment. Here's the trailer for Tangerine, in case you haven't seen it yet:

If you're interested in watching the workshop and sharpening your smartphone filmmaking skills, head on over to CreativeLive and enroll. It won't cost you a dime.     

Your Comment

17 Comments

This looks awesome! Though I have a Sony Xpetria Z2 android phone and have found an FiLMiC equivalent app: Cinema FV-5. Trouble is that my phone make does not have MF. Will tune it when this airs.

May 26, 2015 at 11:14PM

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Ben Mataakama
GFX Motion Designer
81

I have still to see a compelling reason to shoot a short film on a phone aside from "I am impossibly short on cash". Otherwise it is a gimmick at best. It's accomplishing nothing that a proper camera couldn't do much better, much easier, for not that much more money.

May 27, 2015 at 12:33AM, Edited May 27, 12:33AM

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Joshua Bowen
Editor
662

Much of the time the reason you're choosing to shoot on a phone rather than a more professional setup has less to do with quality and more to do with being inconspicuous.

May 27, 2015 at 9:24AM

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Grant DK
217

Hi Joshua! In my opinion the best reason is not individual but systemic: As the technology that enables a person to make a film that looks remotely like other films that this person has seen and loves, chances grow that this person will actually make a film. If on the other filmmaking technology is prohibitively expensive or cheap but cumbersome or just too complicated or not available, less people make films. If you apply this not just to yourself but to the whole society, it becomes clear why filmmaking on a smartphone has some importance: A lot of people can do it and all of them will either fail completely or produce something they're not happy with in one way or another. But what happens next is important: Most will give up, but some will try again. And again. And again. And as Ryan Connolly has so eloquently put it: "Write. Shoot. Edit. Repeat." This is the only way one becomes better at making films. Now you can say that's cool and all but I still don't see why this is important. Well, I'd say because of the crazy percentage of people that own or have access to a smartphone. Many good storyteller will emerge, of which some eventually will find funding of some kind and be able to make films for the big screen or episodic content or whatever they want to make. Well, that's my take on it.

June 1, 2015 at 12:26PM

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Manuel Imboden
Producer
249

"Smartphone" "filmmaking" and "doing it right" can't be used in the same sentence.

May 27, 2015 at 2:45AM

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Hi Simon. That's an interesting, albeit somewhat radical opinion. Would you care to elaborate a little on why that's not possible?

June 1, 2015 at 12:33PM

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Manuel Imboden
Producer
249

To be honest, I have seen some very nice smartphone footage that looks nicer than canon's dslr, but only in specific situations.
Still, we are far from having a smartphone that is as good as a dslr in every situation. Very far.

May 27, 2015 at 3:54AM, Edited May 27, 3:55AM

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AvdS
925

I started The Original iPhone Film Festival when the iPhone4 was released. We have been featuring films and supporting a growing iPhone Film Maker community since 2011. The guys at Filmic are good friends of ours and solid guys. As we have been saying for over 4 years...you have a film studio in your pocket ..what are waiting for? It's always been about the story...not just the tools. I used to shoot on Mini DV when that was the newest technology...my iPhone crushes that image quality now of course....just a thought.

May 27, 2015 at 8:17AM

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Matt Dessner
Founder - The Original iPhone Film Festival
88

When you're really hot to waste the precious moments of your life...

May 27, 2015 at 1:34PM

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Vidrazor
540

It has nothing to do with the discussion here, but the picture of the phone on top of the article it's from Montserrat monastery, next to Barcelona.

Sorry, I'm from Barcelona but haven't lived there in 7 years. Sometimes I get a bit nostalgic!

May 28, 2015 at 8:47AM

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Alejandro
Filmmaker
163

Yeah, we're reaching a threshold in being able to tell (especially non filmmakers) any difference in quality. I should try and make a short experiment on my Galaxy Note 4... Hmmmm... Exciting times!

May 28, 2015 at 3:10PM

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Donovan Vim Crony
Director, DP, Editor, VFX, Sci-Fi Lover
263

Absolutely, you should give it a try! I usually shoot on Canons C-Line and the occasional Sony FS7 and I found it to be an interesting challenge to work with a really tiny sensor and a choice of just three focal lengths (we used the Moment Lenses on an iPhone 6). Also with the very contrasty look that's applied to the image in-camera, fixing it in posten oftentimes is not an option. We've put together a making-of for our latest iPhone short "Balloon", check it out to learn more: http://bit.ly/BaloonShortBTS

June 1, 2015 at 2:46PM

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Manuel Imboden
Producer
249

Sorry that I missed the workshop, the format certainly has it's limitations but I have to admit, it has turned a few heads in my experience and opened the doors to more possibilities for those that are exposed to it.
Not to be shamelessly self promoting, but I talked the local board of trade to do this short video with my iPhone 4 in 2013:
https://youtu.be/0SDJzzO9oZQ
I was generally pleased with the results and they were ecstatic, in fact, they have subsequently begun to "produce" their own iPhone web videos (not so much from a filmmaking standpoint, but as an affordable medium for their purposes).
In the end, it's not so much about the tools you use as it is about the story you tell.

May 29, 2015 at 10:07AM

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Greg Akeson
Executive Producer
147

which smart phone best for future film.

May 30, 2015 at 3:26AM

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arvind vasudevan
Directer
81

Awesome trailer for Tangerine, I've got to see this movie! The workshop looks interesting too. Thanks, Robert, for covering the topic of smartphone filmmaking.

So far we have shot two shorts on iPhones and I have to say that I dig the challenge. Usually we shoot on Canon C100s and the Sony FS7, so switching to a smartphone really took some getting used to. We have made a 9 minute making-of for "Balloon" where we talk about our gear and the challenges we faced, check it out if you're interested in smartphone filmmaking: http://bit.ly/BaloonShortBTS

Also we'd be really eager to know what the nofilmschool community thinks about our two smartphone shorts "Nachtschicht" and "Balloon": http://bit.ly/SmartphoneFilmmaking

We're really looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

June 1, 2015 at 3:33PM, Edited June 1, 3:33PM

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Manuel Imboden
Producer
249

Making a movie is about creativity and not what equipment you choose to shoot with. This does not make the movie any better. A 100 million dollar movie using the best equipment money can buy or an original and fantastic story? I know what I would prefer both as a viewer and creator. The video above goes to prove you can make it big if you have the right idea and not just a fat wallet. Reach for the stars and follow your dreams whatever you have, and good luck!

September 19, 2015 at 4:42AM, Edited September 19, 4:42AM

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Andrea Scott
Videographer and VO/ Artist/YT Presenter and Journalist.
85

So sad that this app can't work on any infinix phones, I use a infinix note 2. I will appreciate it if it's they can do something about it.

January 2, 2016 at 4:10PM

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Gbenga D Adenuga
cinematographer, film maker
81