I love smartphone filmmaking but know many people start off thinking ‘I can’t do this’. I made it my mission to tell everyone that filmmaking skills are within your reach. If I can make a wobbly start and then make successful movies, you can too. Smartphone filmmaking is for everyone, cat lovers, pet bloggers and rescue volunteers.
If you need a basic moviemaking how-to I have one here but I hope that a showcase of some of the Dash Kitten movies will encourage your own journey of discovery and creativity.
Smartphone Filmmaking Equipment
Dash Kitten blog videos were shot on an iPhone 4S, iPhone6 and an iPhone12. Your phone will shoot video so remember, there is no best phone for filmmaking use the phone you have, including the best Android has to offer.
My BlogPaws® Nose to Nose Finalist movie ‘The Duckling Rescue‘ was shot in an iPhone 4S. If I can get this kind of attention, you can too.
Phoebe the Princess Video
This is my first blog video from 2014 when I was taking beginner steps. Phoebe’s movie uses a series of clips that I added to an iMovie Trailer. The trailers are pre-built modules that you fill with photographs and video, then embellish with text.
As a beginner, I recommend you spend some time experimenting with the display options that iMovie or your computer/smartphone has. This might include themes like summer holidays, adventures and Halloween drama. If you want to entertain friends a theme is a great option.
Ad v ice for Filmmakers – Learning Video as You Go
When you play around with different themes and formats, you can learn a lot about what you want a video to say. You will begin to develop views on the interpretation and message you want to send.
It may be a different video presentation you create for friends, family or your blog readers because what you want to say changes too. Here’s a video of Dusty I shared with family and friends.
Dusty the Rescue’s First Step Outside
You will see that there are new elements in this video. I moved away from the ‘trailer mode’ to try editing on my own. I didn’t completely get rid of my trainer wheels as I used a summer theme with friendly text and cute frames.
There isn’t much professional polish but the video does capture a magical moment when Dusty (senior adoption) took his first steps outside after weeks of hesitation.
Exploring Different Venues with a Smartphone Movie
This next video from 2016 was shot before BlogPaws® 2016. I stayed at a hotel called the Saguaro which was quite spectacular. This
You will notice that there is low key music playing in the video and it is credited at the end of the movie. There
An important point to remember:
Only use music you have permission to include in your videos.
You don’t need music in your video but I always think that if you are listening on a computer or with headphones wouldn’t you like something to fill the silent void?
Product Videos for Bloggers
This next video is especially for pet bloggers who do sponsored posts.
I created a smartphone product video for my Pioneer Pet Raindrop review and then realised that I could use some of the clips to create a short ‘how-to’ review to focus on removing and replacing the filter unit in the stylish clamshell pump housing.
The company likes to so much they asked if they could display it on their website which was a thrill for the Dash Kitten Crew.
As the video would be shared across a wide range of platforms the visuals are simple and strong. There are no long shots, it is all crisp, dynamic and simple to understand. You, as a blogger, are anticipating the questions a customer might ask.
Cat Fun Video
This is one of Dusty’s most popular video trips, his visit to the seaside at Eastbourne.
Once the family realised that Dusty absolutely adored car rides, we were able to make four special trips to local places that involved a reasonable drive then a short stop before returning home. I was able to create a video for each trip.
When you are confident at basic video making you will be able to create a simple video story like this without needing a theme, or trailer to support you.
The trick is a strong storyline and I was able to record Dusty’s trip with affection and a dash of humour. Keep your story simple. It just needs to guide your intentions as you record not reinvent the movie wheel.
Keep a Clip You Treasure
Even if you are not sure where or when you will use it.
I caught Harvey lapping water from our Raindrop fountain and grabbed by smartphone.
Harvey was irresistible so I saved it and the clip was included in a sponsored video. It really emphasises the product’s cat friendliness.
Working with a Rescue Event or a Sponsor
I was one of the donors who supported Neko Ngeru Cat Adoption Cafe in the New Zealand version of a ‘
The video is a showcase for a specific venue and because of this, the story is more ‘documentary’ than a cute story.
You can create a video of an event like:
- Cat rescue open day
- Product launch away from home
- Super Zoo sponsor
The story you tell will be seen by people who may not know any of the event’s background. Your video has to inform. You may need to include details of the venue, dates and times, and what people need to do to find out more.
Don’t Just Shoot in Daylight
Although this video is not cat-related I want to include it so you know that you can ‘think different’ with your own videos. The video of High Light was shot in an iPhone 6.
High Light, an annual light festival that takes place locally in Lower Hutt. The sculptures are 3-D shapes, dimensional projections and holograms as well as artists who work with moving lights.
The key thing to remember is that you need some kind of light to work with. Here it’s sculptures, but you might be shooting shop windows, display cases or in a pet show where the light is a bit low.
Most modern smartphones have a night option and this can make a big difference to how much your camera ‘phone picks up. The best way to check the capabilities of your smartphone is to run a few tests before you film at night.
This last movie was edited in Screenflow, an educational video editor that makes voiceovers and fancy tricks a lot more fun.
Finally, the best way to share your videos and keep them visible is something like a YouTube channel. These are free and are a great place to send people as well as an extra place for your sponsored promotion videos and educational videos to get more attention.
Dash Kitten Launches a YouTube Channel
After spending a lot of time on Vimeo, I decided to launch a channel on YouTube as video making was becoming a big part of the blog and there are no restrictions on the number of videos you can host.
You can do basic editing on
Marjorie is a motorbike riding blogger and award winning cat photographer who believes that everyone can create impressive cat photographs and fun movies with the camera they carry.
She is a Professional Member of the Cat Writers Association, Kuykendall Image Award winner and published photographer at the Guardian newspaper.