Many smartphone users would love to make a short film but freeze after taking a few clips. They tell me that they have some cool clips, captured on their smartphone. What do they do?
It’s not hard to start
- Check out your editing software
- Learn the things that your software should do for you.
- Why you might want to use your computer rather than a smartphone
- What the programs look like if you have never opened one
- What you should have as part of your movie
I created this sample movie to show you that an idea does not need to be elaborate or long to tell a fun story.
Your smartphone can record clips and you can edit a basic story with a phone editing app, or (recommended for beginners) by downloading clips to your computer or tablet.
Introducing Your Editing Program
Users with Android or Windows mobile devices may think ‘I don’t have this software or device’. Windows/Mac programs may look different, but they all do the same things.
Every program should have:
- A window option to edit your clips,
- a Timeline to work in. This is where you trim clips, add text and transitions.
- options like Text and Filters.
Every device from the basic smartphone app to high-end editing suites have these same elements. If you can’t find them, use the internet to search for your program.
TIP: Lots of popular movie programs have YouTube video tutorials or a downloadable pdf that can guide new users
Why Use a Computer not a Smartphone to Edit?
A fair question and there are some cool apps to help you create movies. If you have one, learn it and get those movies online.
I recommend using a computer for beginners because it’s much easier to see everything on a computer. Computer screens are bigger and the selection of software features is wider. Downloading is not complicated so you can get editing fast and have fun. Don’t believe me. Try it and see.
This screenshot shows you what a Mac user sees when they open iMovie. All apps and programs will have a similar set up so don’t get panic. Look for the options in your own program/app.
What an Editing Program Looks Like
Let’s see what an editing program like iMovie looks like from the inside. This is the kind of set up you will look for. It’s not complicated, just unfamiliar when you start.
1 ) Your media options. This includes your video clips (My Media), Audio, Titles (for text on the screen). Backgrounds, and Transitions.
2 ) Your editing screen. This is where you adjust and edit individual clips.
3 ) A Timeline. This is where you drag clips then add transitions, music, and text.
4 ) The Audio soundtrack. You can adjust the music and sound effects volume by dragging the middle horizontal line up and down. See the sound wave in a lighter green? The music title is on the left, and on the right a triangle that indicates an early fade out of the music.
5 ) A Titles (words) option. The text that appears on the screen is small blue blocks in this picture. These can be edited by clicking on the individual markers and typing on the editing screen (2).
Anatomy of a Short Film
If you watch the movie you see the story unfolding in motion as a finished sequence.
The photograph shows the movie as a moment of frozen time. All the shots used are lined up as Sparkle’s story occurs. The picture shows the movie as a work in progress.
- There is a story. It is lightweight but keeps the movie focused and moving forward.
Sparkle the tortie had not used the recently installed cat cafe walkway. She was leaving the cafe to go to her forever in a short while and her dad wanted her to enjoy the walkway.
The movie documents her hesitation, and then her success is crossing the walkway.
The final movie contains:
A brief introduction
Setting the scene
Sydney showing off
Sparkle achieves success
Four shots of varying length tell a funny cat story. I have added some relaxed music for those who do have the sound turned on and also credited the composer at the end.
There are only four shots here. Can you make a short movie like this? Do it and link to us in the comments! We will show you off in another post!
Happy Smartphone Movie Making
Marjorie and the Crew
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.