5 Clever Lighting Tricks You Can Do with Your Smartphone

Smartphones: the most handy film lights you never knew you had.

If you're an avid reader of No Film Schoo, first of all—hey fam...what did you eat for breakfast today?— second, you probably know that we really, really like smartphone filmmaking. I know I personally talk about it all the time, but each time I do, it usually has something to do with DIY handheld stabilizers or useful ideas on how to rig a smartphone setup.

I don't think I've talked about how to use your smartphone to light a scene—like, ever.

But today's the day because filmmaker Zach Ramelan's latest video demos 5 very clever and very useful lighting hacks that you can pull off with your smartphone. Check it out below:

Let's clear the air here, okay? No, you're probably not going to be able to use your smartphone's screen or even it's flashlight as a key. I mean, you could...I've never tried it...but chances are it's not a good option. (Unless it was for you, in which case, please tell me all about it in the comments.)

Ramelan uses his smartphone as a fill, a sidelight, a backlight, and an overhead light to add a little color and a little extra detail. He even uses it to bounce light onto his own face...so, you know what, he kind of did use it as a key. I take back what I said earlier about it not being a good option and instead would like to say "it probably isn't the best option if it's possible, but for most shooting situations, it probably won't be possible."

We always say that the best camera is the one you have—well, the same goes for lights—and I guess pretty much everything else that you'd use to make a film.      

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Some great ideas here!

I was shooting for a short a few years ago and they couldn't find any lights to hire (we were shooting outisde a church at night) we taped the crews phones together (not reccomended), put the torch light on and used a bounce to softly light the actress as she walked down a path, worked like a treat!

It's a shame smart phones aren't used more in productions as they CAN (not always) be super useful with lighting!

April 3, 2019 at 1:49AM

You voted '-1'.