The iPhone: A Film Studio in Your Pocket

One of the biggest misconceptions I encounter about video-making is the belief that one needs special equipment (expensive cameras and microphones), a film studio, and special training to make a quality video. That was perhaps true in the past, but not today. The iPhone in particular has made filmmaking accessible to anyone who wants to create a short video or a full-length documentary. In fact, award-winning films have been partially or totally shot with an iPhone. The following are a few examples.

Some of the footage for the documentary, “Searching for Sugarman” was shot on an iPhone because the director, Malik Bendjelloul, ran out of money. Most of the film was shot on Super 8mm, but a few final scenes were filmed with an iPhone and 8mm Vintage Camera app. I highly recommend this film, by the way, which won an Academy Award in 2013 for Best Documentary Feature. Fantastic example of how to tell a story. Below is the trailer for the film (if you cannot see the player window on your device, here’s the link):

A feature film, “And Uneasy Lies the Mind” was shot entirely with an iPhone 5. The director, Ricky Fosheim, explains in the trailer below why he chose the iPhone and displays some of the accessories he used (link to video in case you can’t see the player window on your device):

Here is a film featuring beautiful imagery from Thailand that was filmed with an iPhone 4s and edited with Final Cut Pro; a Vimeo “Staff Pick” (here’s the direct link to the film):

The next film was made by French filmmaker Maël Sevestre with an iPhone 4s and shows what kind of interesting cinematography can be accomplished with a cell phone camera (if you can’t see the player window, follow this link):

And there is even an iPhone Film Festival. Here’s a music video, “Summer Wine”, that won second place in that category (can’t see the player window? here’s the direct link):

I hope these few examples convince you that you can make an excellent video with your iPhone. I’m now shooting a lot of my tutorials with my iPhone 5s because of the portability and ease of use. With the launch of iPhone 6, which has an even better camera (1080p high definition film at 60 frames per second, video stabilization, 128 gigabytes of storage), amateur and professional filmmakers will have even more moviemaking power in their pockets. And combined with simple but powerful movie-editing apps like iMovie, the iPhone becomes an amazing film studio that you can carry with you anywhere.