What's the Secret to Making a Great Film on Your iPhone?

'Tangerine'Credit: Magnolia Pictures
Sometimes, the best tool in filmmaking is the phone in your pocket.

Making a film is no easy feat, and getting funding for the film is a different story in itself. Filmmakers have found new and creative ways to film their low-budget movies by using their iPhones. Most everyone these days has a smartphone—I mean, you’re probably using one right now! So why not take a simple everyday thing and use it to its full potential?

Unfortunately, you might be disappointed if you’re expecting a high-quality look from your iPhone. In Depth Cine recommends that you purchase a cheap DSLR camera if your budget allows for it. Cheap DSLR cameras can vary in price but are ultimately less expensive than buying the newest iPhone. 

Check out more of their tips below.

If you’re dead set on using your phone, then here is a great tip to have the best outcome: embrace the iPhone footage.

To be honest, the footage may not be as cinematic as you were hoping, but it still works. South African features shot on an iPhone like High Fantasy or Tangerine never hide the fact that they are filming on an iPhone. These films embrace the low dynamic range, exposure shifts, and wide lenses of the iPhone.

Jenna Bass and Sean Baker were able to create such great low-budget films because of how well they captured the sound and continuously styled the lighting throughout the film. 

Embracing the look of iPhone footage could be a new trend in filmmaking that evolves. As more young filmmakers experiment with filming on an iPhone, new ways of elevating the trend will come in time. Be brave and experiment with shooting your next project on your smartphone. Just remember to embrace the quality of the footage while elevating other parts of the filmmaking process that are in your control. 

Do you have any tips for filmmakers filming on an iPhone? Let us hear your encouraging advice in the comments below!      

Your Comment


Sean Baker actually uses FiLMiC Pro extensively to achieve the cinematic results. Tangerine was a great example of what could be done with an iPhone and FiLMiC Pro

July 20, 2021 at 10:32AM

Kevin Bourke

A good script and knowing how to f**king shoot.

July 20, 2021 at 12:14PM

David Patrick Raines

Shot my first web series on the iPhone X. Was inspired by Sean Baker and Steven Soderbergh. I still use it as a B camera on set and find myself able to use the footage.

Also, have a good script, for sure

July 21, 2021 at 2:35PM

Brett Snyder

You can always make the phone a part of the story, too. From 2014 search: dwardmedia my life is a movie

July 23, 2021 at 10:24AM


I use two devices perfectly aligned to record in 3D. Also i3DMovieCam can record some close shots with a single iPhone, the sync between images is as perfect as in a 3D camera.

July 25, 2021 at 2:34PM