Beginner Smartphone Movie Skills

Tips on Making a Smartphone Movie

Not sure where to start? Let me guide you in making your own smartphone movie with meaning. Help a rescue, small business or even a cat cafe like me.

This short video aims to showcase the fun you can have focusing on an event, like this cat cafe celebration of it’s reopening after a setback.

Join me for coffee and a cat biscuit and let’s talk about how the movie was made and how it can help you improve your first movies.

Closeup of a smartphone being used for blogging by a pet blogger

Telling a Smartphone Video Story

There are more ways to show your busy venue or exciting event than just recording crowds of people. I used some of the following tips for my own smartphone video:

  1. Move in close for a variety of fun shots showing animals, hands or products, and don’t be afraid to try something a bit different or extreme. You might be lucky and capture a fantastic shot and really lifts your film.
  2. Fragments of conversation can add an extra layer of interest. Listen when reviewing your clips for anything you can use. In my movie the cafe chatter adds a warm ambience bubbling underneath the soundtrack.
  3. You can achieve some easy and fun shots by filming at ground level. Don’t be afraid to try moving low as I did with the cats at play here.
  4. Think different and see if there is a staircase to give you height for a unique downward view.
  5. Pointing sharply upwards or downwards can catch a new view. I held my smartphone against the door to catch the cat playing in peek-a-boo at the cat door.
  6. You can zoom in with your smartphone but remember to either do it slowly (if you mean to keep the video clip unedited) or stop – zoom – restart. Better still, zoom with your feet.

How was the Cat Cafe Video Shot?

The video clips were all taken on my iPhone 6s and later dowloaded into ScreenFlow on my Mac where I could add a few more elaborate transitions and add a quality soundtrack.

Use the editing software you have. It might be iMovie or FilmoraGo or ScreenFlow. I am learning ScreenFlow for my teaching videos so using it to practice seems a good idea. Use what you have, you do not need specialised software.

  • Enjoy the soundtrack? See why I add music to my movies here.

Creating a Smartphone Movie of Your Event

Tips When Shooting in a Public Area

I set out with an aim; to capture a busy cafe once again buzzing with people and activity and like anyone shooting video, I had to be aware of where I was. The cafe is a public space which can raise privacy issues.

[A person might not want to be filmed for a number of reasons from simple shyness to hiding from domestic abuse. Always respect anyone who asks not to be filmed.]

If you check my video, you will see that I am careful to show visitors from the back or side, or very low down. The focus was on busy activity, not individuals.

It was also fun to realise that I had caught myself filming the back of someone who was also videoing cats on their smartphone!

Cat Cafe image

Movie editing in a smartphone app

If you want to get your event up online fast then use a smartphone video editing app like Videoshop or Adobe Rush.

  • Keep your video message focused and simple
  • Make it short. A one minute video fits Instagram as well as Facebook and Twitter. Don’t stress about specific formats if you are working at speed.
  • Add simple transitions and/or music you have permission to use (optional). Be copyright conscious at all times.
  • Add text explaining what and where the event is.
  • Upload online (preferably a local wi-fi network not a data plan)

Movie Editing on a Computer

If you have more time available you can download your video clips to a computer and make the most of a fully-featured software package, as well as a larger screen:

  • Review the clips you have recorded. There will be shots you immediately identify as good ones that really speak about the event.
  • Assemble the clips in your software’s timeline to capture your impressions.
  • Focus on the impact of your message. The cat cafe story balances a busy crowd with plenty of feline interaction. The message? This is a fun place a visit.
  • Add text, transitions, and details to place your video on context.
  • Upload to YouTube. Check out our very own YouTube channel, or our professional Vimeo showcase.

NOTE A finished video in either format will change as your skills with a software package develop. You will be able to create a good video anyway but knowing the software gives you an edge. Invest time and patience in the software you use. Most people successfully learn as they go with YouTube videos and website tutorials.

Sleeping Chenzou Cat Cafe
All the action is so tiring.

Uploading Your Movie

You have two choices for getting your movie up online. Both are valid options so don’t stress about it being difficult.

  1. Editing on a smartphone app gives you speed and the excitement an event created ‘as it happens’.
  2. Editing on a computer allows you to sharpen your message using sophisticated software, a music library and a large screen.

Use whicever method you prefer. Remember, if you are on a smartphone data plan that video uses a lot of bandwidth so upload on a strong wi-fi link at your local cafe, or shopping mall.

Smartphone Movie Super Tip

Incorporate purchased clips and dazzle your viewers with an eye-catching start using the talents of experts in the video industry. You can buy a fun clip that seizes your audience attention and rushes them headlong through hyperspace, flies them over a city at night or sweeps them dramatically through a frozen rocky landscape.

The clip might cost a few dollars but it will make your viewers take notice. Envato has a good selection to start you off. All you do is add it at the start of your timeline. Just like our delicious steaming cup in the video!

Announce Your Video on Social Media

Don’t forget to announce your video on your social media channels where it will be appreciated most. People who could not attend with love a glimpse of the atmosphere and people attending will love the memories you captured for them to relive later.

Think about the kind of event you attended where a video would have been fun to create. Where would you make your video?

16 thoughts on “Tips on Making a Smartphone Movie”

  1. I wish there was a cat cafe near here. That’s a great video. It will great publicity for them. I appreciate the tips on editing.

  2. Very smart reminder to be mindful of people’s privacy. I’ll be visiting a couple of cat cafes in Chicago this weekend, so I’ll keep these tips in mind.

    • Backs of heads, arms and hands are all things you can comfortably show., or cats being snuggled by humans!

  3. You did a wonderful job showing what a fun place the cat cafe is! As always, I learned a lot and appreciate all your tips!

  4. Great video tips! I really need to improve my videos and I greatly appreciate the information. This cat cafe looks like a lot of fun!

  5. Great tips and video! The privacy issues are a real thing and more people -rightly so- are sensitive to their image being broadcast. Keep the tips coming!

  6. What a great video! You are helping me learn a lot and I truly appreciate it. Now I’m stuck here wanting to visit a cat cafe! 🤣

  7. Your video was so cute! I love the way you caught the playfulness of the cats at the cat cafe. Excellent work! You’ve inspired me to download Adobe Rush and see if I can make a video or two of my own.

  8. What a sweet idea! It really is a good promotional idea for the cat cafe too – who wouldn’t want to visit and play with those kitties after seeing this. 🙂

  9. I’m going to have to give ScreenFlow a try. Are there any copyright issues with using their music library?


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