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Shooting

Smartphone Commercial Using Practical Lights

One of the great virtues of mobile moviemaking is convenience. The camera is always there. But what about aesthetics? What about memorable images found in Hollywood movies and–more recently–in TV series like “Breaking Bad”? Ari Virem answers those questions with his stunning smartphone commercial “Fluorescent Nights.” Virem’s short video, sponsored by Moment Films, is astonishing in the…

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Multiple Camera Mobile Moviemaking

ColorDrop Media’s music video “Once in a While” illustrates the possibilities inherent in using a variety of mobile cameras to create a movie. 

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A Chase Movie That Teaches the Art of Shot Variety

Novice filmmakers typically shoot movies that lack visual interest, with much of the action filmed from a medium distance, repeating the same kind of image throughout an entire film. Such repetition can make even potentially interesting subjects boring. Luckily, the remedy is simple: shot variety. This means altering the camera’s relationship to the subject, for example, by changing…

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7 Steps for Shooting a Memorable Smartphone Video Biography

One of the most rewarding mobile moviemaking projects is the smartphone video biography. This is hardly a surprise when we consider that people—not explosions and other big actions—make Hollywood movies memorable. After the smoke settles, we remember characters such as Dirty Harry,Thelma & Louise, Goldfinger, the Godfather, Dorothy, Rocky, and Tootsie. Plus characters that act like people, for example Seabiscuit, Jaws,…

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Drone moviemaking tips for the novice by Daniel Bowen

Aerial photography goes back way before the Wright brothers. Nineteenth century balloonists astonished earth-bound audiences with shots taken from the sky. Moviemakers early on exploited the visual possibilities of shooting from fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.  So there’s nothing really new about drone cinematography except that it has democratized the technique. Now anyone with a low-cost…

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How to make a smartphone slider

No matter what kind of movie you’re making, camera movement can add energy and interest to a shot. Examples include: panning (pivoting the camera to the left or to the right), tilting (aiming the camera up or down), and coming closer to—or pulling away from—the subject. However, to be effective, a moving-camera shot must satisfy two criteria. First, there should be a…

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