How to Take Cinematic Shots from Your Mobile Phone Camera

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Asif Ahmed
Asif Ahmed
Founder and Cheif Editor of Techtippr, Get in touch with me on Twitter or Enjoy my Stories on Instagram. I think they are interesting. :-)

Smartphones are getting so advanced with more processing power and better cameras, and a lot of people have started using them for a lot of different things.

We have also seen a lot of mobile filmmakers using their smartphones creatively to create cinematic masterpieces.

But, for the majority of the people, mobile phone videos still lacks that professional quality. There is nothing wrong with the tool they have, it’s rather the technique that matters.

So, in this article, we are going to talk about how you can master the technique of taking cinematic shots using your smartphone.

There are many criteria for a video to look cinematic. In general sense, it is videos that are trying to reveal something or put the focus on the visuals to give the viewer an immersive experience so that the viewer can feel what the video is trying to portray.

A good part of it is done in the post-production inside a video editor, and this is what we are going to it was in a separate article. This one is showing you the technique.

There are two features that your smartphone camera should have, it is optional but is going to enhance your videos to the next level.

1. Your smartphone camera should be able to record videos in higher FPS, at least 60fps.

A standard cinematic video is shot in 24fps. Mostly all the smartphone cameras have a standard 30fps capability. Smartphones that are on the more expensive side, offer higher frame rates as well. For your understanding, iPhones and Samsung Galaxy smartphones offer 60fps to 120fps.

This will be important when you try to slow down the video by 0.5x, which can be useful in highlighting a particular scene because the slow motion is one important element of cinematic videos.

When you slow down a 60fps video, it would still have 30 frames per second, which makes it look normal, else it looks a little odd when you try to 0.5x a video recorded at 30fps.

Also, try recording in the highest quality possible. Mostly all the smartphones offer 1080p recording capability. If there’s 4K recording available, and your mobile has storage, try that as well. 

2. Your smartphone camera should have some kind of Image Stabilization for recording videos.

Again, the iPhones and Samsung Galaxy series have got optical image stabilization, but there are many smartphones that I recently launching have got electronic image stabilization, which can also be really good for taking videos without any shakes and jerks.

However, there is a way to stabilize the videos after you have recorded them, it is useful if your smartphone camera does not offer optical image stabilization feature.

Coming back to the technique……

Keep your camera moving…..slowly.

Do not simply put something in a frame and hold your camera to show it as if it’s a photograph. When you try to show something in the video try moving your camera towards the subject.

You can start from either left or right or from bottom or up, and start planning your camera towards the subjects slowly.

If you have a budget for buying Mobile Gimbals, you should invest in it. The smartphone gimbals of a great stabilization to the videos, and make panning and zooming better than handheld.

Stabilize Your Smartphone Videos with the Zhiyun Smooth 4

Take Shorter Shots

Cinematic is also about changing the angle frequently. If you’re trying to cover something in your video.

For example, food if getting served, don’t try taking the entire process in a single shot, try taking different shots from different angles.

Do not worry about missing a step or two of the process your shooting, the viewers can figure it out. What important is, to show the process from different angles so the user doesn’t get bored.

While taking smaller shots of a process, you might say to yourself, that what you are doing is a stupid idea, and you should simply should the entire process from one angle so that your viewers can understand what’s going on.

But when you will put all these different shorter clips in your video editor, you will be amazed to look at the results.

And this is where shooting in higher frame rates can come in handy, you can actually fasten (2x or 4x) some part of a video clip, and slow down the crucial parts to make them look dramatic.

Follow the subject

If it’s one person that you are showing the story of, or it’s a street scene with people walking around, you can try walking with the camera making sure you keep it stable to get a smoother video.

Optical image stabilization should come in handy in this situation, and also the higher frame rate video so that you can slow down in post-production to get an amazing result.

So these are some basic things you should keep in mind and try to practice them if you want to take cinematic shots from your mobile camera.

Remember, taking cinematic shots from your mobile is just one part of the game, the rest of the magic is done inside a video editor.

It is preferred to have a full-fledged video editor on a computer, such as The Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, Vegas Pro or any other heavy video editing software, as they will give you more options to experiment.

Best Free Video Editing Software for Creating any type of Video

However, it is still possible to create cinematic videos on your mobile phone, thanks to the video editors available for Android.

Here is you can check how you can create cinematic videos on your mobile phone.

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