Beginner Smartphone Movie Skills

Unlock the Secrets of Cat Videos

Lots of people, like you, shoot terrific clips on their phones, but then they get stuck after a few takes. They tell me all the time, ‘Hey, I have these cool videos, but what now? Where do I go from here?

It’s not hard to start movie making but you need to learn a few new things! This post will go through the steps you need to take to get starting making a small cat movie for social media.

  • 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. See what you think.

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.

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.

Smartphone Guide iMovie

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:

  1. A brief introduction
  2. Setting the scene
  3. Sydney showing off
  4. 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, as a courtesy, 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 me in the comments!

16 thoughts on “Unlock the Secrets of Cat Videos”

  1. We are learning a lot from your posts, but haven’t tried editing on the phone yet! We will!!!

  2. Sparkle made it! I guess Sparkle just needed a little help and assurance seeing the other one hop on. LOL These are great instructional tips for newbies like me learning to incorporate video. I think I need to upgrade my phone…running out of space with all these apps! For now I use MovieMaker on my laptop. Thanks for sharing these helpful tips.

  3. Your movies are always so great! Thanks so much for sharing all your tips to help those of us who aren’t so sure what we are doing. I’m glad Sparkle was able to get across the bridge. She’s an inspiration to me.

  4. yay Sparkle, you made it. I love this. I have an iphone and this might just inspire me. I have kittens, food and a chewy influencer post due. Stay tuned 😛

  5. I have fun with video, great tips! And yes, videos don’t have to be very long to be good. I’m glad she finally ended up crossing. Brave girl!

  6. One thing that discourages me from editing anything on my phone is the size of the screen. I’m happy to use it as an input device but every time I have to do anything more than that it drives me bonkers.

  7. I don’t have an iPhone so iMovie doesn’t work for me. I have used the Youtube video editor. It doesn’t have a lot of features but it can make a good short movie from Android phone video – you can easily share video from your Android phone right to Youtube.

  8. I have been using my phone for making training videos t work for the last 5 years. I’ve not tried the iMovie app for short clips like you have though! I think I’ll have to try it!

  9. I keep hoping you’ll forget about me making movies … but I should know better! As always, excellent overview!

  10. I also neglect movie making. Visiting all of the cat cafes that I do, it would be a great way to really have people get the feel of the place. I need to step out of my comfort zone!

  11. What an adorable short film, and it looks so easy when you do it!! Every time you write about making movies I feel like I should take the plunge, and then I never do. It scares me and I can’t imagine what I would film. One day…

  12. Cool post! I record a lot of videos of my pets on my phone but I’ve never tried editing them on my phone. I like to do that part on my computer, since I find the larger screen much easier to work on and I have some pretty good editing software on my laptop.

  13. We always enjoy your movie posts, we just seem to neglect movie making for some reason (like the Dad). We use FilmoraGo when we do them though. Have a grand weekend!

  14. I love the mini movies you do, and the cats at the Cafe, too. It takes them from snaps to movie stars in one bound!


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