Beginner Smartphone Movie Skills

Phone Filmmaking With Felines

If you’re a cat lover or a blogger looking to capture the best pet videos you can soI’ve compiled a series of video editing tips to help you feel more confident and at home with your skills.

Whether you’re shooting videos of cats or another pet, this advice woorks for to aspiring movie maker enthusiasts. As someone who runs a cat blog, cat videos are our special focus, and I want to empower you to become an creative movie maker. Let’s get started.

Smartphone Movie Tips

My collection of quick and helpful tips has been put together to show you smartphone film making basics that are easy to learn.

These are not serious ‘film school’ study type skills that take forever, I look at everything from the beginner’s perspective because I was a beginner once and want to give you video tips to short-cut your skill building journey.

It is also meant to encourage you to adopt the attitude of a good film director from the start. After all even Stephen Spielberg had to start somewhere and I believe he would have loved making smartphone movies!

Kitten tapping on a computer while owner edits
Help from your cat is optional!

If you only have a smartphone, this is great for movie making. We used a combination of iPhone6 and GoPro for these videos! So check up on what skills you need and jump in pet people!

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!

Knobbly legged tripod

How to Make a Video On YOUR 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?
SmartMovie Image for Newbie Post

Be Patient as You Learn

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!]

Something to rememer if you think kids are tech whizzes.They aren’t, they just apply themselves and work and work and work at it until they can use the 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 Smartphones for Video Recording

There are two kinds of ‘orientation’. You will find portrait (upright) mode popular on YouTube for #shorts – quick movies maybe with a message or simple fun. Landscape (held sideways) gives you a wifer screen and works well with you are doing tutorials, presentations or telling a longer story.

If you need a couple of examples, we shot our Duckling movie by holding our phone in portrait mode. We turned our smartphone to landscape mode in our fun Tabcat movie.

  1. Meet the Duckling
  2. See our Tabcat promotion video

Beginner Smartphone Wobble

Everyone wobbles, so don’t sweat the small stuff! It happens. Avoid too much shake video with these tips:

  1. Brace yourself against a wall,
  2. A doorway, or
  3. The back of a chair.  
Beginner Smartphone Movie Tips
Portrait mode works for Reels and TikTok

A little movement isn’t so bad. Lots of people give up too easily when a bit of practice boosts your skills. Point your ‘phone at your cat(s) and start practising. Don’t let something small like worry about a wobble stop you from making cat movies.

TIP The iPhone (6 upwards) has an exposure lock. See if this can help, especially if your videos can get a bit fuzzy.

An iPhone or Android 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

Good Light Makes For Good Video

Smartphones are called smart for a reason, the quality of your images will be great BUT smartphones do need some help to do a good job.

Practice outside in natural light. If it’s an indoor pet movie, try working inside near a window or on a bright day. Bright doesn’t men sunshine, it means a nige light you are comfortable in, maybe while kitty is enjoying a sun puddle.

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. You will find plenty of aewsome deals online, don’t just look at Amazon (who have removed their AmazonSmile which many small charities had relied on).

A smartphone user who has busy stretches of time offered me a tip. If you don’t want to be interrupted while you are shooting video see if you can turn of ‘airplane mode’.

Dash Kitten Logo

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

Smartphone being held by a hand.

Editing On Your Smartphone Movie

Take your time when you are learning to edit your movie. Words like cutting and trimming are used when people refer to smartphone movie editing as well as editing on a computer. I recommend downloading your first clips to a computer and editing using a larger screen although this is not essential. Use the software that comes with your computer like iMovie or the Windows equivalent and get the feel for editing..

If you are on the move and want to edit using your ‘phone screen, take time to familiarise yourself with your smartphone’s software functions and any 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 using software you are familiar with.

Practice Your Video Skills

No one learns to drive in five minutes, and no-one becomes a good movie maker quickly 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 new movie maker.O

Video Skills For Pet Lovers – Tips List

  • Smartphone Tricks – Our absolute beginners How To suggestions.
  • How to Edit – Make your Pet movie the best you can.
  • Video Tips for Rescues – Cool tips on making a rescue pet more adoptable.

How We Used Our Own Video Skills – Inspiration

No Time to Read? Download this post as a PDF!

11 thoughts on “Phone Filmmaking With Felines”

  1. Such great video tips! Oh, and I do love the two pics – adorable! Great tips for shooting video of dogs, too! You do a great explanation step-by-step! Pinned to share on my Shutterbuggin’ board!

    Reply
  2. Excellent beginner tips for smartphone videos. I used to be terrified of trying to make a decent smartphone video, but now I make reels like it’s nothing LOL! They’re not professional and slick, but they don’t have to be to spark humor, appreciation of a landscape or pet, and enjoyment. I love that you added the wisdom that anyone can learn anything at any age! So true.

    Reply
  3. These are excellent tips for taking pet videos on a smartphone! I haven’t done much of this, but I’m definitely more inspired to try now after reading this article. Your thoughts of overcoming your fears and everyone having a wobble are great to know and encouraging. I may have to try a Henry video later this afternoon. I’m sharing these wonderful tips with all my pet parents. Thank you, Marjorie!

    Reply
  4. Thanks for sharing your compilation of tips for beginners. I just recently tried the landscape mode when recording and it makes such a difference for viewing. I’ve learned natural light works best for me and use the window sill to prop up my phone to avoid shaky camera footage. I also invested in a LED light with a cell phone camera holder as well for those days when natural sunlight isn’t an option. Making cat videos is a joy even if you don’t get it right all the time as they make for lovely candid memories to remember your beloved furry family members.

    Reply
  5. Thanks for writing all of this down! these tips are not just for making Pet Videos! I could use then for my job too!
    Love Barb

    Reply
  6. Yay! Videos are my next project – and you’ve shared so much great information on how to do them! Thank you!

    Reply
  7. Another fabulous post guys, thank mew fur all the tips, mew’ll see from our video’s we’ve been using imovie and putting to use all your great advice – we couldn’t have done it without mew – thanks!

    Big festive purrs

    Basil & Co xox

    Reply

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