Need beginner movies help using smartphone video?  Even as a newbie you can achieve a high level of video excellence when you make a short movie with a smartphone. Don’t let anyone tell you you can use their movie tricks either!

As films shot on smartphones are a huge part of social media for personal stories and rescues, let us help you with that right now. Take it step by step with us. We hope we can encourage everyone who loves their own cats to make a movie and have some fun. Let’s have some pocket movie fun!

Plenty of people do beginner smartphone movie how-to’s, but they often miss the most basic steps a newbie cat movie maker might need. If you need very basic help with your pet movies, this is the place to start. It took us a while to learn, and now we want to show and share the best and most focused tips. That way you start off by putting your best foot forward from the very start.

Remember, your movie will be for your own pleasure and sharing with family and friends when you start. There is no pressure, just the pleasure of showing off your cat. You might want to show off a new kitten and make people laugh, showcase a foster to help with adoption, or memorialise a loved cat when they have crossed the Bridge.

  • You are not looking for perfection, just the confidence to make loving memories. Ready to take a breath and take those very first steps?

Learning Takes Time

The first and most important thing for your smartphone filmmaking kit is patience. A cat stalks its prey patiently, you study your smartphone apps in the same way. Research has shown that you can learn anything at any age and it takes the same amount of time. [Real science that, not senior cat wisdom!]

Kid’s aren’t tech wizards. They just apply themselves and work and work at it until they can use technology. You can do that. Turn your smartphone on, find the movie making app – and learn all you can. Mobile movie making is something we can all do.

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Get Comfortable Holding Your Smartphone

There should be a printed or downloadable manual, or an online video about holding your phone, its ‘orientation’.  If you need a couple of examples, we shot our Duckling movie by holding our phone upright (portrait mode). We turned our smartphone horizontally (landscape mode) in our fun Tabcat movie!

TIP A number of popular apps including IGTV (Instagram) and Facebook Live allow you hold your phone in the portrait position.

Beginner Smartphone Users Will Wobble

Everyone wobbles, so don’t sweat the small stuff! It happens. TIP Brace yourself against a wall, a doorway, the back of a chair.  A little movement isn’t so bad. Don’t give up. Point your ‘phone at the cat(s) and start practising. Don’t let something small lik a worry about a wobble stop you from making pet movies!

TIP The iPhone (6 upwards) has an exposure lock. Let’s see how this can help.

An iPhone will automatically focus and check your images exposure. This is a big help for a quick still shot but when you are recording one person, or a pet it might make your clips look jerky so turn on the auto focus. Here’s how:

  • Lightly press your iPhone screen
  • The words AE/AF LOCK and a yellow square will appear (they remain on the screen)
  • Shoot your movie clips
  • Lightly press the screen again to clear the auto focus from the iPhone

Make Sure You have Good Light

Smartphones are called smart for a reason BUT they do need some help to do a good job. Try to practice outside in natural light. If it’s an indoor pet movie, try working inside near a window, maybe while kitty is enjoying a sun puddle. Just make sure your subject is relaxed!

Pet Lovers Smartphone Movie Tips

Sound in Your Smart Movie

To get clear and clean audio, even as a beginner, you need to either have the smartphone close enough to record your pet or person, or, invest in a portable microphone.

TIP: If you are recording something you will only get once chance at, and you definitely don’t want to be interrupted, then make sure your phone is turned to flight mode.

Airplane mode, aeroplane mode, flight mode, offline mode, or standalone mode is a setting available on many smartphones, portable computers, and other electronic devices that, when activated, suspends radio-frequency signal transmission by the device, thereby disabling Bluetooth, telephony, and Wi-Fi – Wikipedia

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Editing On Your Smartphone Movie

Take your time when you are learning to edit your movie. Words like cutting and trimming are also used when people refer to smart phone movie editing. You can do a lot with phone editing apps but if you are not used to the small screen but it can be a challenge for new editors.

I recommend downloading your first clips to a computer and editing using a larger screen if you can. Use the software that comes with your computer. Become familiar with the software, and what you can do.

If you are on the move and need to edit using your ‘phone screen, familiarise yourself with its functions and limitations before you start working. It will take away a lot of the stress if you can create short impression of a pet show or a cat doing agility trials confident you will be able to edit your clips.

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Practice People Practice!!!

No one learns to drive in five minutes, and no-one becomes a good movie maker fast either. Sit down with your smartphone (any type, any price bracket) and play. Take a video of your knee, learn to zoom in on a cat’s whiskers, point your smartphone outside, inside, upside down. Practice = confidence, even for a nervous newbie.

OK fearless explorers. Take a breath before you go rushing off! Remember, none of us are Peter Jackson filming Lord of the Rings, but we can appreciate the gift of amazing technology to make our own wonderful cat movies. We may be using what seems like ‘rocket science’ but confidence will inspire us all to face a fear and fly that rocket to the moon and back.

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If you really want to take the next step into the movie making arena, subscribe to our monthly email list and grab your FREE copy of our ‘Make Your Pet an Internet Movie Star’.

See you next time
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  1. Jaimee

    March 30, 2018 at 8:08 am

    Downloading the videos of my two furry felines playing together onto the computer so I can edit there is going to save me so much time – I have no idea why I didn’t think of this before!
    I also love that you included to SHOOT HORIZONTALLY. So many people don’t do this and there’s nothing worse than those big two black bars around your vertical shot.
    Thanks for these tips!


  2. Basil

    October 25, 2017 at 1:34 am

    Pawesome tips Dash Kitten Crew, we found the P.A. a small tripod fur her phone and a remote so she can set up the camera and start videoing at the touch of a button but mew know half the time she furgets these wunderpurr tools we got her and still takes wobbly shaky videos …. PFFFTTTTTT!!!!

    Big hugs

    Basil and co xox


  3. Beagles and Bargains

    October 24, 2017 at 8:04 am

    Wonderful tips! I think horizontal is the big one since MOST people naturally hold their phone vertically. Though if you want to do live streams on social media sometimes vertical is better. It’s all about knowing where people will view your video for the most part.


  4. Sweet Purrfections

    October 23, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Everyone forgets about hints and tips for beginners! It took me a couple of years before I realized I had to turn the phone horizontally.


  5. Beth

    October 23, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Thanks for sharing these basic nuggets, it is the type of stuff I need. I am going to start trying to take some video footage of my pets this week!


  6. Irene McHugh

    October 23, 2017 at 11:14 am

    I truly appreciate your growth mindset. So many activities require practice, practice, practice, and people forget that. I love how you remind and encourage people to just give it a go.


  7. heatherwallace

    October 23, 2017 at 3:44 am

    Great tips for any beginning videographer. I’m working more on that part of things myself, and these will be quite useful. I’ve still got a lot of practice before I’m proficient!


  8. Debra Bailey

    October 23, 2017 at 1:51 am

    I love your movie making tips! As someone who just made their first movie, I find them super helpful. Also, the tip about leaning on something is great. I often squat and put my elbow on my knee for a bit of extra stabilization


  9. Kamira Gayle

    October 22, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    Thanks for these tips. I definitely need this. I’m making it a goal to incorporate more video posts in my blog so I value all your tips.


  10. Noodle

    October 22, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    Thanks for the great tips!
    Have a super Saturday…

    Noodle and crew


  11. Ruth Epstein

    October 22, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Confession here and that is I don’t have a smart phone but use my little camera for videos and at the moment looking into getting a new camera 🙂 But those tips for those that have the phone are amazing


    • Dash Kitten

      October 22, 2017 at 7:27 pm

      The same applies for a little video/camera as a smart phone. Slow and steady, find your feet.


  12. Pets Naturally (@dogtrainer4ever)

    October 22, 2017 at 10:32 am

    These are really great tips. I use a tiny phone tripod to hold my phone, helps me keep my phone a bit steadier and I don’t accidentally turn it off or put my finger in front of the lens


  13. Karen Harrison (@KarenHarrisonKC)

    October 22, 2017 at 9:34 am

    For some reason, I forget a lot of the time to turn my phone to landscape. It comes to mind as I’m watching the video I filmed 🙁 Just got a new phone, and it has stabilization functionality and does better with low light, both of which help a LOT. Thanks for these tips. I’m working to integrate more video and any tips to improve are greatly appreciated!


    • Dash Kitten

      October 22, 2017 at 7:28 pm

      We did too. Horizontal does not seen natural!!


  14. mommakatandherbearcat

    October 21, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    I don’t have a smartphone. The longer and longer I blog, the more I realize how much I’m missing out on because I don’t. But the expense doesn’t seem justified just for my blog! I love these posts about movie-making tips – I save them all!


  15. Happy-Go-Doodle

    October 21, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    Great tips! Using natural light is a key for me! I like to take photos in early morning and early evening. The softer light is great and I don’t have to worry about harsh shadows! Love your encouraging and supportive tone!


  16. Jana Rade

    October 21, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    I use my phone for photos or movies all the time. Since I always have it with me anyway it makes perfect sense to use it rather than having to carry a camera around as well.


  17. tenaciouslittleterrier

    October 21, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    I have a gorillapod tripod but I need to get a phone mount for it. I mostly just use it for the gopro. Although I really need a new phone first!


  18. The Swiss Cats

    October 21, 2017 at 8:50 am

    Great tips ! Purrs


  19. Lola The Rescued Cat

    October 21, 2017 at 4:54 am

    Our mom’s smartphone movie skills could use some improvement, that’s for sure! She’s so NOT techy!


  20. Brian

    October 20, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    I gotta say, doing the videos are fun, if I could just get the Dad to stand still long enough! Thanks for joining the Thankful Thursday Blog Hop!


  21. 15andmeowing

    October 20, 2017 at 11:35 am

    I will bookmark this for if I ever get a smart phone, mine doesn’t even have a camera.


  22. erinthecatprincess

    October 20, 2017 at 9:34 am

    Great tips and very well said about taking a breath and having a go…. after all if it doesn’t work the first one, or even ten times, who’s going to know? Nobody and it’s all good fun, who knows folks may even have a giggle ….
    Toodle pip and purrs


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