How do you create a cinematic film with no top of the range Nikon D5? With no connections to a production company? With no affiliation to a distributor?

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Well, fortunately for you this isn’t a barrier any! All you need is an idea and your smartphone. No joke, some films are filmed with just a camera phone and a captivating script and have won awards.

Here is one example where this short won the official selection and audience choice award at the 72 Hour Film Shootout in 2020 – entirely shot on a smartphone.

How to Create a Cinematic Film With Your Smartphone

So here are 6 key tips to keep you on track to achieving the (not so) impossible dream of filming a cinematic masterpiece.

1. The Story

The story is key! No doubt about it. You have to captivate your audience, take them on a journey – a rollercoaster. Keep them guessing, keep them thinking, keep them wondering “What next?!”.

Develop your story into a masterpiece by following our best practices and creating an in-depth, well-rounded film treatment. The film treatment will give you the basis for developing your film and allow you to really nail each individual element, including the logline, synopsis and overall pre-production documents.

2. Filming

Make sure your plan is watertight and ensure you stick to it. This will save you time and money. The final product will be far better as well. A disorganised team, who are unsure of where to go or what to do is a disaster waiting to happen.

There are plenty of apps on the market but the two we highly recommend to get that crisp footage:

READ MORE: Essential Tips for a Filmmaker

3. Stability

You need stability for the film. You cannot have shaky footage (unless meant) in your short/feature film. You will lose the audience and it will make the footage look amateur.

Ensure you have the right equipment to create a stable image, whether it’s setting it up on a table or buying a cheap gorilla tripod. Ensuring your shot is stable is imperative, a poorly shot scene with shaky footage can be the downfall of the perfect story.

So make sure you keep that hand steady, and if you can’t get a tripod. That tripod doesn’t have to be expensive, just take a look at our guide below.

4. Sound

Sound is another essential aspect of filmmaking. It helps tell the story and if you have poor quality sound the audience is lost. You need the audience to be submerged within your film, on the edge of their seats, awaiting every moment – every twist, turn and breath. But with shit sound – you lose everything. You can pick up a reasonably priced shotgun mic for your phone which will work very well.

5. Lighting

Excellent lighting is critical as smartphones have much smaller lenses and sensors. You can either film in the daylight or you can purchase some basic lighting. Make sure the lighting is stable and consistent and it will improve your film quality no end.

You may also be interested in reading: Film lighting techniques EVERY filmmaker must know

6. Editing

Get the right editing software for you. Make sure it fits your criteria and works with what you want to achieve with your film production. You need it to have the right functionality so you can edit your film to how you want to tell the story. For your beautiful vision to be recognised to its fullest. Editing is one of the biggest components to moulding this to your style.

Read here for our editing software breakdown:

READ MORE: Our Top Editing Software Guide

If you hit these three on the head, you are on for a winner. Remember content is king. If you have a compelling story you could shoot it on a block of cheese and people will still enjoy it, remember to keep it visual, show not tell.

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