How to make films on your smartphone - seminar at Bell House

"The whole globe could become citizen film-makers" declared Cassius Rayner, as he spoke at Bell House about the power of using smartphones to create short films.  He's been impressed by what's happening in America, and in the film industry generally, where smart phones are enabling surprisingly high quality film-making.  A driving force for this is lower costs, and Cassius describes this as “accessible and affordable film-making".  For example, a rig to mount a smartphone with a good quality microphone and tripod could cost under £100. The group of us tried out various gadgets, attachments, lenses, and pistol-grip devices. Everyone loved the gimbal which keeps the smartphone steady, even when you are moving around.

  Testing the Smooth-Q Gimbal

Testing the Smooth-Q Gimbal

  Practical demonstration of equipment

Practical demonstration of equipment

Our group was a very mixed bunch with film-makers, photographers, charity publicists, a video-based start-up and people who are making the Bell House films. We watched clips that Cassius had made, and he demonstrated the techniques he uses. We also learnt how to fix the focus of the smartphone, how to increase the exposure and how best to get close-up pictures. Audio is critical, and a range of microphones were demonstrated. The main filming app Cassius personally uses is FilmicPro, which he demonstrated to the group. There are several other great filmmaking apps available of which a few were shown. Finally, we considered three editing app options recommended by Cassius.

One big advantage of making a film on your iPhone or Android smartphone is that when you go out filming in the street people don't ask what you are doing. Taking photos on smartphones is so common that people barely notice, whereas if you were using traditional equipment you can attract unwanted attention, “Smartphone filmmaking offers so much freedom to explore”. This medium is so exciting, it prompted Steven Soderbergh to come out of retirement and make a totally smartphone-based film, "Unsane" – to be released in March 2018.  Even film-makers using traditional methods are now often using smartphones to do a low cost dry-run.  The quality of smartphone films and amount of cost saving kits available is making the success of smartphone filming inevitable.

"Corporates are not up to speed with this yet, so I've mainly been working with charities, but once they see the quality they don't worry at all," says Cassius Rayner, a pioneer in teaching how to make the most of the camera in your pocket.  Cassius was demonstrating the attractions of his smartphone film-making workshops which are being held on Saturday 24th Feb and Saturday 24th March - these can be booked online.  These workshops will run from 10.30 to 4pm on Saturdays at Bell House and really teach you how to make your smartphone work for you.  For details please email info@bellhouse.co.uk 

  Cassius Rayner, multi-award winning filmmaker

Cassius Rayner, multi-award winning filmmaker