We all want to make viral cat movies and do it really fast, right?
Popular videos that hit the spot may not be perfect but they have one thing in common, they tell a story. We need the basic storytelling skills and then we can fly. Read on to find out how.
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!
How to Make a Video On My Phone
Even as a newbie you can achieve a high level of video excellence when you make a short movie with a smartphone. Smartphone video production is not scary, you just take it step by step!
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 pet. 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. Your smartphone will do this, modern products contain a DSLR quality camera phone that works perfectly for you.
- You are not looking for perfection, you want 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.
How to hold iPhones for Video Recording
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 smartphone video recording apps including IGTV (Instagram) and Facebook Live allow you to 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 like worry about a wobble stop you from making pet movies, and you don’t need a fancy smartphone rig either!
TIP The iPhone (6 upwards) has an exposure lock. Let’s see how this can help.
An iPhone will automatically focus and check the exposure of your image. 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 autofocus. 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 autofocus 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!
The 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 one chance at, and you definitely don’t want to be interrupted, then make sure your phone is turned to flight mode.
Aeroplane 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
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 smartphone 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 a short impression of a pet show or a cat doing agility trials confident you will be able to edit your clips.
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 is 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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