Smartphone camera technology has come a long way since its start on the Samsung SCH-V200 that boasted a .35 megapixel camera. These days, smartphones have quality camera lenses that shoot up to 41 megapixels and bridge the gap between DSLRs.
These technological advances have helped smartphones gain a footing in the film world. Shooting movies on smartphones is becoming more common, with The Wrap reporting the Oscar nominated “Olive” was shot entirely on a mobile phone. Smartphone film making is becoming prevalent enough to necessitate mobile phone film festivals, such as the Mobil Film Festival and Olleh International Smartphone Film Festival.
Corephotonics, an Israeli startup company, is working on smartphone lens technology that could catapult phone filmmaking into the mainstream. Its camera technology combines two 13 MP cameras with a high-end Snapdragon processor. It opens up smartphones to taking wide-angle HDR photos and movies with 41 MP quality. The Corephotonics technology is not yet available for consumer or commercial use.
The basic photo and video apps included on your smartphone do the job for everyday use, but third party solutions can help with serious quality filmmaking. The Camera Zoom FX app supports high definition filming, optical zoom, fast action shots, hardware button customization, ISO settings, stable shot mode, and several other shooting modes. When partnered with Samsung smartphones such as the Zoom series, it provides you with comparable quality to a standalone camcorder. Almost DSLR for the iPhone is a favorite here at HDSLR Shooter, and lets you control focus, exposure, and white balance to shoot some amazing pictures and movies with your iPhone. Consider pairing your camera app with a cloud storage service such as Google Drive for instant backups.
If you intend to take advantage of any external gear such as tripods, lights, mics, etc, then you’ll need something with enough attachment space to hold it all. The iOgrapher is a great device that lets you attach a number of accessories, as well as give you full control of your camera movement with its handles on either side. The iOgrapher comes in models for the iPad, iPhone 4, with an iPhone 5 model to be released very soon. iOgrapher also sell a good group of other lighting and audio accessories to get you shooting on your mobile device. – iOgrapher.com
Most smartphones have limited ISO (camera speed), so sufficient lighting is necessary to keep the quality high. Cnet recommends using natural light if possible, but light fixtures with daylight bulbs used in conjunction with reflectors can properly illuminate your set and subject. Other lighting options include a three-point setup that includes a key light, fill light, and back light.
The last thing you want to do on a long day of shooting is to hold the smartphone during every shoot. Tripod mounts and smartphone-specific tripods free up your hands, steady your shots, and help you improve your film composition. Steadycam attachments for smartphones can stabilize images, greatly improving the shots.
Your smartphone isn’t designed for high quality audio recording, so accessories are required. Several companies make external microphone options that work with your smartphone. With an external microphone you can position the device right in the middle of the action, instead of having it away from the actors. In addition, the external microphone is more sensitive to soft sounds your smartphone can’t pick up.