Beginner Smartphone Movie Skills

Union Station, Kansas City (Smartphone Movie)

A Smartphone Movie of Union Station? Why?

Dash Kitten blog is all about taking pictures and making movies, and as part of my goal of showing readers how you can create and edit your own movies on a computer or on a smartphone, I gave myself a challenge.

The Smartphone Movie Challenge

I shot and edited my Union Station movie entirely on my iPhone 6 using the Videoshop app. I have had some experience using Videoshop before, and this helped speed up the editing process. 

If you want to set your own movie challenge I suggest playing around with your video editor first. Your smartphone will have a basic movie editor which works fine. If you want to add some cute touches Videoshop, Adobe Rush and iMovie are all good apps to try.

If you know how to trim clips, add a transition and a title then when you are out and about filming it’s one less thing to stress about.

I uploaded my finished movie using wi-fi when I was back at the hotel. When you upload your video, remember it will be larger than most of your images so be conscious of the data you might use and utilise free wi-fi when you can. 

Smartphone Movie Camera
If you have an Android Phone Here’s Your Camera Button!

Union Station

As I was on the move I wanted to keep my movie storyline simple.

The aim is to give viewers a glimpse at the atmosphere of Kansas City’s historic Union Station and show a glimpse of its extravagant past.

As I filmed, workers were finishing the current refurbishment project that is transforming the Station into a tourist attraction and a reflection on an amazing past. It is also a tribute to the co-operative venture that crossed several organisations and government departments.

A Narrow Escape in Kansas City

I am glad I shot the footage when I did because the following day massively tall cream coloured curtains were placed across the platform hall area for a private event. These obscured the magnificent ceiling view and a security guard was keeping everyone out of the area. I would have missed a wonderful opportunity.

Lesson? Carpe Diem – Live for today, seize the moment. Grab your smartphone, take that footage NOW. Keep a focus, try to get some quality clips and get filming. Whatever you can film is better than the frustrating feeling of a missed opportunity.

Union Station Kansas Cityscape

The Union Station renovation is an unprecedented collaboration across state borders, city jurisdictions and funding channels. The result is a tremendous city feature that hosts exhibitions, cafe’s and the Famous Harvey’s Restaurant.

Yes, trains run through here too! I also recommend the Parisi Cafe too, their coffee is amongst the best in Kansas City!

Smartphone Movie Challenges

Here are a few points to ensure your smartphone movie will be a success.

Top Smartphone Tips:

  • Keep your shots steady. You can use a wall to brace against or walk forward carefully while recording.
  • Make sure you can import, edit and then upload with your smartphone movie software. Don’t try to learn while you are in the middle of a movie project.
  • Remember there may be extraneous noise when you are outside. Don’t panic, this can be lowered/removed during editing.
  • Have a few royalty free or purchased music tracks for your film. I used part of the Envato stable.
  • For my movie I used VideoShop. This app is not hard to learn and is available for iPhone and Android.
  • Buy our Movie Making eBook (50% goes to Place for Cats Foster Network)

The iPhone VideoShop Screen

If you are unfamiliar with what a video editor can look like, here is a screenshot of Videoshop on an iPhone. You can see the beginning of our Union Station movie. You will see various elements that will become more familiar as you practice.

At the top is the timeline of available footage, a timer to show wherein the movie you are, and a text box can be repositioned. Below the movie viewer, you will see tools such as Text, Voice, and Trim. Other options are revealed by scrolling left and right.

The box highlighted in white at the bottom is the clip currently being edited. A block can easily be clicked and dragged to a new location, and if you want to add a transition, it will appear to the right of the highlighted clip. Further options include changing speed, rotating and resizing, playing a clip in reverse and adding a backing track of royalty-free or purchased music.

Smartphone Screen

What are you waiting for?

Grab your smartphone, or your DSLR if you have one, and just get out there and make a short movie with a simple story.

Our movie is about 1 min. 15 seconds and tells you about Union Station. What will your one-minute movie be about?

  • Find my starter page for smartphone movies here if you need more help.

31 thoughts on “Union Station, Kansas City (Smartphone Movie)”

  1. I’ll check out Videoshop. Working on more videos is on my to do list but gets neglected.

  2. The biggest problem I have when making videos of the girls is I forget about the noise in the background. Even when I remembered to turn the TV off, the sounds of the ceiling fans contributed to background noise. I appreciate your hints and tips.

    • You can always reduce the sound on video a but and then either add a voiceover or keep some sound and add little light music which can cover a surprising amount of background noise.

  3. What a great video! I love old train stations, and I’m glad you included the historic exhibit. I’m impressed by how steady you are. I have a lot of camera shake when I try to record things, even with my phone.

  4. Awesome movie! You captured some inspiring scenes that kept me engaged. I am currently in a 30-day YouTube challenge so thanks for sharing what all I can do right on my iPhone…truly appreciate it.

  5. Great video! Tag Kansas City Chamber of Commerce! I bet they would love it, too. My aunt does a lot of video on her cell. I have not yet tried to make a movie, just slideshows. Great tips (as always)!

  6. Fantastic video, Marjorie! I love how you zoom in & out in the beginning shot of that sign and how you moved so steadily through your shots. I’m amazed at how great the iPhone is, my smartphone stinks compared to the iPhone. I’ve done decent videos with my DSLR, but my Samsung Galaxy smartphone is hardly worth it. Maybe one day I can afford that expensive iPhone LOL! Thanks for sharing.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  7. Beautiful video and Union Station reminds me of Grand Central Station in NYC in some ways. Grand and beautiful craftsmanship. I had no idea this existed in Missouri honestly.

  8. Nice little video! I remember those days when I was so afraid of filming but now I have accomplished my goal and produce videos very often. It si godo to know what other are doing so I appreciate the tips on postproduction and what apps you use. I have never tried VideoShop I use iMovie but I will check it out.

    • The object of our teaching videos is to make it simple enough to attempt themselves. Making things too complicated deters newbies from attempting their own films. We want them to be BlogPaws Nose to Nose Finalists as we have been for the past two years with our own videos.

  9. That’s a really cool building. I admire you for leaning how to do the movie making… I know next to nothing and TBH, it seems a daunting task to figure it all out. I’m sure it’s much more complicated in my head but it overwhelms me. You did a great job though!

    • Not hard. It’s just things you don’t know well yet. Practice is key. Confidence comes in time. Go for it!

  10. If we ever take a trip through Missouri, we sure will know where to go now! Would love to check out Harvey’s restaurant and the coffee shop you recommend(I love coffee!).

  11. I’ve been playing with smartphone movies but just to document Cookie’s exploits. Quite often that is easier to capture the moment than trying to take photos of it.

  12. How fun!!! You can do so much with smartphones and your movie proves it! I feel like I was there. I just upgraded to the 8+ and the camera is amazing. It shoots 4K video. While many can’t view 4K properly, it allows for you to zoom in while editing if you need to! Comes in handy!

  13. You did a great job, and you make it look so easy. Every time I see a clip you shot or read a post I feel like it’s about time I learned how to do it. Then I think it’s too much trouble and I don’t bother. I wonder when I’ll finally take the plunge!

  14. Fantastic tips and always learning from you although I use a camera not a smart phone as it is best for me. Wish I could get less jumpy videos though on the camera and that is something I am working on. Great photos as always

  15. This looks amazing Majorie! Great job and great tips! One day I do hope to get more into video tips….sigh…need more hours.

  16. Very cool. I record videos often on my phone but I’ve never quite gotten the hang of editing on my phone. Luckily I have some great editing software on my laptop that I’m used to using. My laptop’s not quite as portable/convenient as my phone but it’s not too far off, and it’s what I’m used too.

  17. Thank you for this! I am taking so many videos on my iphone these days but still learning about editing. I really want to add music to my videos, but am probably one of the very few that don’t have music on their phone! I am also looking for apps that can help me edit.

  18. What a great idea! And Union Station looks beautiful, especially those ornate ceilings. I *need* to work on video and Live social media events. Thanks for the inspiration!

  19. What a neato building! Some of these older structures are so magnificent.

  20. Excellent, I really love the atmosphere this creates. Paws up for this great short video!
    Toodle pips and purrs

  21. guyz….984 paws up ta mum on her moovee….we N joyed seein all de stuff for doorz 🙂 R fonez two old ta due videe oh stuff anymor…..we can take em, but canna edit ore send… { itza 4 } last time we tried ta sendz a 25 secondz, it getted stuck in cyber space !!!!!!!! 🙂 ?? insert heartz XX

  22. I don’t have a smartphone … but I’ve shot one video with my DSLR. I’m too overwhelmed with doubt to do anything about it though. I wish I’d read your book first! The video is kind of jumpy.


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