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The Spontaneous Documentary

The Boy Scout motto “Be prepared” applies perfectly to mobile moviemaking. Having a  camera always close at hand makes it possible to capture events on the fly. The result—a spontaneous documentary— can be stunning. Dexter Craig gives us a visually exciting example with his 53-second mini-doc about a San Francisco street festival called “Glow in the Streets.” As he explains: “I went just to enjoy the Burning Man-esque environment, but it was so lovely seeing all of the lighted costumes and the window-performances under black light that I decided last-minute to shoot some footage on my iPhone.”

Of course, if the filmmaking is really spontaneous, chances are that the filmmaker won’t be carrying any gear. “I didn’t have my gyro stabilizer or even a tripod with me,” says Craig,  “so it’s all hand-held. The optical image stabilization in the iPhone 8Plus (at least on the wide lens) is remarkable. I captured it using the native camera app (as I hadn’t installed Filmic Pro yet). I then edited it in LumaFusion on the iPhone to a quickly produced music track using GarageBand. For a few hours work using nothing but my phone, I think it’s pretty decent.”

The quality might partly be explained because Craig does media production professionally using DSLRs and Canon C series pro video cameras, editing in Adobe’s Creative Cloud. But Craig doesn’t see working with the mobile device as being a big problem: “I have to say, shooting and editing right on the iPhone was quite liberating.”

What about editing? “LumaFusion is easily as powerful as Premiere Pro was even as recently as 10 years ago. And it handles 4K video footage with ease—something that even the current Premiere Pro can choke on, depending on hardware. I even used LumaFusion to obscure a brief moment of nudity; I doubt anyone will know that there’s an artificial shadow hiding something that might cause issues for “sensitive” viewers.”

If you’d like to see more of Craig’s work, you can see a couple of his test video—all done on iPads at https://youtu.be/fswv4ZqIvOo (various visual effects) and https://youtu.be/l6Bcowj2znM (animations using SpriteDance Animator and Pinnacle Studio). A cartoon created using StickMotion—now supplanted by Animation Pro) is posted at https://youtu.be/oWx0QmMQrWg/

“Glow in the Streets” was chosen as a Mobile Movie of the Week by the editors of MobileMovieMaking.com.

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One Comment

  1. Dex
    Dex January 9, 2018 at 6:08 pm .

    Thanks for naming this Mobile Movie of the Week!

    Love the site; it’s very inspirational.

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