How to make a travel film with your iphone

The following advice is aimed at iPhone users, because of the accessibility of iMovie, it can also double for other devices.This article was curated from wanderlust. Enjoy

Be prepared

Man taking photo (Dreamstime)

Before you head out, make sure your phone is juiced up. “Filming really drains your battery,” advises Stephen. “It’s also worth buying a portable charger, to stop the phone running flat. It won’t usually last a day." Just as crucial is ensuring you have plenty of room on your phone to cope with storing large video files. Typically, one second of high definition video will gobble up around 2MB of storage.

Be sure to also plan your shots, either in advance or in the field, as filming ad-hoc rarely pays off. To aid production quality, it’s worth investing in a couple of pieces of equipment: a clip-on microphone (preferably with a wind sock to block out unwanted background noise) will allow you to record audio more clearly, while a small, compact tripod helps with steadying your shots and when doing pieces to camera.

Shooting your film

  Woman capturing city (Dreamstime)

There are several nifty ways to boost your film’s professional feel. Avoid using your phone’s digital zoom, as this can greatly reduce picture quality. Also look for a mix of long, medium and close-up shots in each location, allowing you to add variation during editing.

Always shoot horizontally, holding your iPhone sideways, rather than vertically (above). Make sure each shot is short and snappy. They shouldn’t last more than 20-to-30 seconds. This way, they’re already in manageable chunks for editing.

“Resist the urge to pan and tilt your phone while filming,” says Stephen. “If it’s a wildlife event that’s happening, for example, wait for the action to come to you or restart your recording at the exact scene of the event.” After you’re finished at each location, assess the footage you’ve captured and delete anything you’re not happy with. This saves valuable space, ready for the next shoot.

Using a phone also has some upsides when interviewing. “Because of the limited length of any microphone wire, this can lead to more intimate interviews, as you’re having to stand quite close,” explains Stephen. “But it’s essential you strike up a rapport first, so you don’t make the person unduly nervous.”

The final cut

Using iMovie allows you to add your own voiceovers or music to clips, which can greatly improve presentation. Also choose how each segment flows into the next to give your film polish. For example, adding ‘cutaway’ shots, to overlap any interview pieces you do with locals, allows you to visually explain what, or where, they’re talking about. “The best thing about editing on your phone,” adds Stephen, “is that you can do it on the go, whether on the plane or in your hotel. You can modify your movie anywhere.”

When ready to upload, ensure your Wi-Fi signal is strong. This will allow you to upload Full HD video files, which are often too large to transfer via a 3G or 4G signal and could rack up some pretty hefty data roaming fees. In the end, your smartphone is a camera, mic and editing suite rolled into one. Give it a try on your next trip. Before you know it, you’ll be turning your footage of the Masai Mara or Grand Canyon into polished adventure travels films. Bear Grylls should watch out.


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