Do you want to
Grab your smartphone and get ready to have some fun after you check out these important ‘getting it right’ tips!
Fun Smartphone Movie Tips
How you hold your smartphone for filming will depend on what you want to do. Most Christmas cat movies will be family events, but you might also want to help a local rescue. All the tips can help you make a better movie.
- Sharing a Christmas family movie should be a relaxing project!
- A blog or rescue holiday promotion might need a little bit of planning and a few props.
There are two ways to hold your smartphone
Where is your movie going to be seen? There’s no point in making the perfect pat movie if the format isn’t the right one. Work it out and choose how you will hold your smartphone. Either Portrait or Landscape.
Landscape – Hold your smartphone on its side. With most phones, this will mean the smartphone button is on the right. Your ‘phone will align with the horizon for a wide video which is often more fun to watch as its larger.
Portrait – When you hold your smartphone to make a call you hold it in portrait mode. It is so comfortable to make calls that we think all video shooting works this way too. Videos viewed this way will look smaller as they are as wide as your phone screen.
Instagram Stories and Reels use portrait (upright) mode, but most movies created for sharing with family and friends are made using landscape (sideways on). Your videos can be shared with family around the world through email, or on Facebook and being short, the file size will not be too big to send.
Practice Making Videos
This is the most important way to build any skill, even making a fun smartphone movie. Make a couple of very short videos so you know what it feels like to hold the smartphone and shoot a movie.
Your knowledge of your smartphone and its applications is a valuable skill. It gives you a head start on everyone who doesn’t bother to try. Your cute cat video will be uploaded faster, and look better if you do a couple of trial runs.
- Learn to operate your device confidently. Be patient with yourself.
- Find a video app you like and learn about it. I recommend iMovie, and Adobe Rush iOS & Android but there are dozens so decide on your own favourite. Not sure which to choose? Look for one that gets 4+ stars and give ones you like a trial run. (Most do free or limited trials).
- Practice basic editing 1) Trim a clip 2) Add a transition. Boom – Done. That’s all you need to start.
- Learn how to upload your movie to FB or add to email. Not ure how? Check YouTube for how-to’s for your specific smartphone.
Keep Your Story Simple
For new movie makers, keep it short and simple. Films have a beginning, a middle and an end. Tell your short story. It may be a kitten playing with a Christmas bauble and falling asleep, or a cat exploring a new scratch post and climbing to the top.
Wobbly Video Alert
When you start filming you might need some physical support to keep your shots steady. You don’t need fancy equipment although a simple tripod can help. Here are some free tips.
- Brace yourself against a doorway or a window ledge.
- Prop your elbows on a table for a close shot.
- Support your smartphone on, or against, a stack of books to keep it upright.
- If you have access to a GoPro or small video camera, consider a tripod, or monopod.
Smartphone Video Sound
Ask any expert and they will confirm that friends and family will put up with a slightly wonky video if they can hear you OK. Look at this quick checklist to get your own sound right!
- Make sure your sound is on.
- Avoid windy locations.
- Try to keep background chatter to a minimum if you can.
- Is your audio a disaster? Reduce the sound when you edit. Replace it with music.
These skills will become automatic as you use your smartphone more and more. You will improve every time you pick up your smartphone and shoot more video clips. So what are you going to film today? Let me know in the comments!
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.