Yes, you can make a movie with your iPhone. As Steven Soderbergh (“High Flying Bird”) and Sean Baker (“Tangerine”) have showed, the image capture capabilities on smartphones has gotten to the point that for certain types of stories an iPhone will get the job done. Although the camera alone isn’t going to do the job. You are going to need some gear and apps to help make your film professional. Here are 10 purchases IndieWire believes will help.
FiLMiC Pro App
Downloading this $20 app is the number one thing you need to do to turn your iPhone into something of a professional camera. The software developers essentially jailbroke your iPhone to give you the type of control you need over things like aperture, shutter speed, color temperature, aspect ratio and frame rate. You can even rack focus.
FiLMiC: Cinematographer Kit
This plugin for the FiLMiC Pro app is essential for anybody who really has an aspiration to use their iPhone to shoot something you might want to play at a festival or get on a real streaming platform. Professional digital cinematographers or photographers often shoot in formats like LOG or RAW. While the image itself can appear faded, or dull, in reality what this image does is give you incredible color ability in post-production. In essence you’re preserving color and color detail at the highest level. FiLMiC’s new LogV2 and its various LUT options bring iPhone cinematography as close as we’ve come to mirroring this process, giving your camera phone 2.5 extra stops of dynamic range.
Moment Lens Case
For $40, or $90 for a mophie-style battery pack case, you can get a rugged case for your iPhone that from a style and weight standpoint isn’t different than any of the other leading iPhone cases you might find in the Apple Store. This case though has something your current case doesn’t, the ability to screw in a lens. Moment is a leader is creating high quality, affordable lenses that work on your iPhone, but the company’s real breakthrough is these cases which make screwing in one of their lenses simple enough not to require adapters.
Moment 18mm Lens
Moment makes a number of high quality lenses that work perfectly with your iPhone, but if you are only going to buy one, your workhorse is most likely their wide angle 18mm lens. It’s what Soderbergh used almost exclusively when shooting “Unsane.” You know how when you switch from photo to video on your iPhone, the image narrows, or becomes more telephoto, significantly? This 18mm lens will widen your iPhone video image back out to that photo width. The lens cost $120, but you’ll need a moment case as well.
Moondog Labs Anamorphic Adapter Lens
If you have a Moment case and are already using their lenses, you might want to try their new anamorphic lens that they recently released. But for most filmmakers, from Sean Baker on “Tangerine” to Soderbergh on “High Flying Bird,” wanting to create a 2.39:1 anamorphic image, Moondog has been the go-to. The $175 lens allow you to keep your device’s full resolution while changing the aspect ratio, with only simple de-squeezing required in post-production.
Mefoto’s SideKick 360 All in One Smartphone Adapter
Ok this $40 item is the least exciting piece of equipment you are going to need, but you likely will need it if you plan to shoot in a somewhat professional manner. Essentially, this adapter allows you to connect your iPhone to any standard tripod head. By no means do you need to buy Mefoto’s SideKick – there are number of products that serve this function – but the SideKick 360 is very solid and does supply a good deal of easy flexibility in terms of how the phone is oriented in relationship to the tripod.
Benro Travel Angel Aluminum Tripod with Monopod Conversion
There are a number of tripods available that are suitable for your iPhone shoot. A few characteristics that Benro has that you want in yours: One, it is travel size and lightweight (aluminum). For the love of God, keep things mobile and light, you are making an iPhone movie, don’t get bogged down with equipment. Two, we highly recommend buying a tripod that easily converts into a monopod, which very well may be how you are more likely to use the device. $200 maybe more than you need to spend, there are $100-150 options that do the same thing. The Benro is a compact, well made, reliable, and sturdy option.
DJI OSMO Mobile Gimbal
There are a number of iPhone stabilizers on the market, but in terms of ease of use and price ($140), it is hard to beat this one from the DJI Osmo line of products. When using gimbal technology you want to test out to see how it feels. You know your moving shots and this isn’t one size fits all. The ability to adjust the gimbal and the way it responds is something unique to both you and your film’s needs.
Freefly Movi Cinema Robot Smartphone Stabilizer
Ok, this thing is a beast. Although it does have a simple, dumbed down mode, this $300 smartphone gimbal is very much designed with a professional user in mind, possibly even someone used to Freefly’s movi, which has put a serious dent in steadicam’s business on multi-million dollar productions. The iPhone software with this device gives you incredible ability to make finite adjustments to the way this gimbal moves the camera, and it has sophisticate settings that allow you to even teach the gimbal where you want a shot to land in your final frame. Warning: To get the most out of this device, you will need to learn it.
Rode VideoMicro Microphone
To be honest, recording dialogue on the iPhone is still a shaky proposition and the options mean you’ll simply be settling. You need good sound and it’s something you need to creatively address in preproduction of your iPhone movie. If you are looking for a quick fix, or even a backup option, this $60 mic (that requires a cord as well) will fit well onto a phone and improve your ability to use the iPhone’s sound recording capabilities.
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