What to Know About Mobile Filmmaking & Streaming

Short videos are becoming the most popular way of entertainment. Online businesses, influencers, and amateurs, everyone is making videos with different motivations. If you are starting on this path, you should know that you do not need huge resources to create amazing content. 

Then, what do you need to begin? Your creativity, your smartphone, and some accessories. Today, we’ll give you some tips and guidelines to get you started with your mobile filmmaking & streaming career. Let’s jump right in!

The Secret Lies in the Mobile Lenses

Everyone can become suddenly popular by sharing videos on social media. Whether you want to become a movie director, an influencer, or just having fun, the internet can be your first stage. Expensive equipment and a dedicated team are not required at the beginning. The technology is within everyone’s reach. Learn how to use a smartphone correctly, and you can churn out effective and high-quality video content.

In this regard, mobile phone lenses have become a fundamental accessory for all of us. Mobile lens bridge the gap between smartphones and professional cameras. Many types of smartphone lenses on the market, all compatible with traditional ones and smartphones with dual cameras. Generally speaking, we can differentiate mobile lenses into 5 main types: 

Fisheye lens

These are among the most popular and “fun” lenses, capable of guaranteeing an ultra-wide angle of view (field of view). The shots taken with these mobile phone lenses have the appearance of a sphere and are used to distort the image and deliberately create amazing effects. Apexel brings in the heavy cavalry in this field with the HD 195 Degree Super Fisheye Lens. Compared with the ordinary lens, our fisheye lens has a higher definition, permitting you to achieve stunning effects.

Wide-angle lens

For breathtaking landscapes and cityscapes scene, you can use these types of lenses. Usually, the frame’s width is defined in degrees (like action cameras) or millimeters. Wide-angles lenses are among the most used for streaming as they bring things closer than they are. We would recommend the HD 110 Degree Wide Angle Lens. These particular lenses can capture a good deal of the scene even if you are filming in tight spaces such as a small bedroom. 

Telephoto lens

Turn your phone in a long-range cannon! Telephoto lenses let you increase the magnification level of the optics integrated into the smartphone. Different from digital zoom, they can get closer to a subject without losing focus. At Apexel, we came up with a new 60X Monocular Telescope Lens to film subject details at a distance that otherwise you would have never noticed. To know more about this awesome type of lenses, check out our complete guide.

Macro lens

Everybody loves macro! This is a type of lens for “niche” smartphones, which allows you to take videos of very close subjects with a focus that can take place even a few centimeters away. Do not limit your creativity to bugs and plants. With our HD 100mm Super Macro Lens for smartphones, you can make any tiny small object relevant and interesting.

Anamorphic lens

If you want to obtain Ridley Scott movies’ true cinemascope effect, you must use an anamorphic lens. A few years ago, this technique was only a prerogative of filmmakers, and the equipment was expensive. The star here is the Apexel HD 1.33X Anamorphic Lens. This particular lens offers 1.33x zoom, a longer focal length in the horizontal direction and longer in the vertical direction. The result is an image without cuts and lighting effects that increase the overall professionalism of the video. 

Having problems choosing the right lenses? Check out our guides, or get yourself a practical mobile lens kit. Apexel mobile lens kit comes with all the above-mentioned lenses.

Furthermore, some of the best smartphone lenses integrate special filters. This is the trick of how Youtubers intensify some color tones to improve the shots. Here are the most common and used types of filters:

UV filters

These are filters used in outdoor environments. The equipment eliminates unwanted shades of blue and reduces the amount of ultraviolet light. 

FLD filters

FLD filters are used in environments where there is a total absence of natural light. Besides, they are also used to eliminate flickering and annoying chromatic effects deriving from fluorescent light.

C-PL filters 

  • PL filters are generally used when taking photographs of liquid or aquatic surfaces. They are designed to minimize reflections or areas where light is too strong.

Video Making & Streaming: First Steps 

The Video Script

Improvisation should be your last resource. Creating a storyboard or script for your videos should be the way to go. Even if your video is short, try to get in the right mindset and think about what you will say. 

For example: If you are about to create a promotional video of a new delicious recipe, write down some notes. The first scene could be a family around a table, the second the food framed in detail, and some particular effect. Finally, the third act could be the happy child who picks it up and so on.

Smartphone Position: Vertical or Horizontal?

It is spontaneous to shoot the video with the mobile phone in hand and the arm slightly extended forward. Unfortunately, in this case, the video will be vertical with two obnoxious black bands on the sides. The correct positioning is horizontal as if we wanted to take a panoramic photo.

In this way, you will capture the entire scene and allow your audience to immerse themselves in your video fully. Remember to keep this position in all the shots. 

Stability

Moving around the scene with your smartphone in hand is not the best. The effect could give people seasickness. The ideal would be to have a tripod or gimbals to be positioned in the right corner of the scene to keep perfect stability during the shots.

Mobile phone single arms are easily purchased anywhere and popular for selfies. Someone more ingenious and creative opts for a mobile camera rig. This choice allows you to combine different accessories, such as lighting and microphones. Altogether you will have your compact filming studio at hand. 

If none of these solutions are within reach, you need to have a firm hand. To avoid tremors, the smartphone should be kept parallel and close to the chest. Instead, the elbows should be attached to the ribs. Try to test it out!

The right light

With your smartphone, you can also shoot videos indoors in your office or home. But try to avoid the darkest hours. Furthermore, some movies may lose definition depending on the type of mobile phone.

Take advantage of natural light by shooting your video in the brightest hours of the morning. If it is not enough, filmmaking kits for mobile phones come with practical lights. By purchasing this add-on, you will be able to adjust the light according to the situation. 

If, on the other hand, you decide to shoot outdoors, the professionals recommend using the perfect light one hour before sunset and one hour after sunrise. Therefore, avoid lunchtime if you record outside closed environments. The blazing sun could ruin faces and objects by casting shadows and reflections that cannot be improved during the editing phase. Take these elements into account next time you are going out for a filming section!

No to Zoom

Perhaps taken by a creative rush, many people believe they are giving an artistic turn to their videos with abrupt and sudden zooms. In reality, zooming with the smartphone only makes a movie unprofessional because it causes the images to lose resolution, as well as making the shot too “dramatic.” If you really need to zoom in on a scene or, rather, on detail, you can do it in the editing phase.

Beware of Filters

Sooner or later, we all resorted to some particular filter that would add an artistic touch to our photos and videos. There are many fantastic and free apps dedicated to just this, not to mention that it is now possible to apply a filter even when uploading to social networks. The temptation is strong, especially if we want to make our video original.

But be careful! Some filters can make the video “heavy” and it would be better to limit their use. In this case, we can think of some color or effect tricks at a later stage, during the assembly phase, and keep the original clean and spotless.

The audio

It seems trivial, but often it isn’t. The audio is of fundamental importance, depending on the video you are shooting. It may be secondary because you have already planned to insert a soundtrack, music, or some special noises.

On the other hand, if you are filming a scene or interviewing a person, you must necessarily record the audio as well. At this point, you should consider purchasing a microphone to ensure an optimal result. Otherwise, if you film outdoors, pay attention to the location: a video shot on the street or in a crowded venue will make you run the risk of recording a myriad of background noises that will inevitably overlap the subject’s voice. This will easily make your audience stop watching.

Then look for a quieter location or bring the smartphone closer to the interviewee. To improve the situation, you can once again get help for mobile camera sets with microphones integrated. You will shoot the scene and simultaneously record the audio. 

Video Editing App for Mobile Phone

Each video to become the final Oscar-worthy masterpiece needs some editing. Do not worry too much about mistakes. Nowadays, there is as many editing App as stars in the sky. The best video-making apps are available for every operating system and help you create great work from smartphones and tablets. Here we have listed some of our top picks:

Magisto is available online on the Google Play Store and can create video montages practically automatically. To obtain a good result, it is sufficient to select and upload photos and videos directly online, choose the soundtrack that best matches those images. It can’t be easier than that…

inShot is a free application available for both iOS and Android users. After downloading it, you need to go to the main menu and select the “Video” button. At this point, you can choose whether to start editing a video in your gallery or make one in “live mode.” After that, you have full freedom of editing, cut, filter, music, change speed, add text, background, rotate, and much more. Already with the basic version, it is possible to create an excellent video montage.

Quik by GoPro has tons of free editing features, different soundtracks, and pre-set styles. Every Sunday, Quik also automatically prepares videos with the best shots on your smartphone. If you like the movie, you can publish it directly on social networks by clicking the “Share” button. The app is available for iOS and Android devices completely free of charge.

KineMaster is by far the best Android video editing app. The strong point is the many possibilities of the modification, even starting from scratch. For the less experienced and for those who want to create a video in a short time, there are also many predefined templates to make a truly professional-looking montage. After editing, you can choose whether to save the video in your multimedia gallery or share it on Facebook, YouTube, Dropbox, and other online channels.

What’s next!

Are you still here? Start filming!

If you still do not have the right professional tools, we have a special gift for you. At Apexel, to support the new generation’s creative visions, we have developed new streaming equipment. We have thought about everything: mobile lens kit, tripods, gimbals, selfie sticks, grip rigs, lighting, and microphones.  

Check out our solution for mobile streaming and filmmaking!