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Two minute iPhone film

Here’s my latest iPhone 6S film, telling the story of Gemma Bailey and her Cardiff coffee trike business. (A few weeks ago I posted a short sample of clips edited to a music track).

Planning

I storyboarded the film and wrote out a shot list. The final film looks nothing like the storyboard, but creating one helped ensure that I got all the shots I needed.

Filming

I filmed around two hundred separate shots on three separate days. I was careful to follow the 180 degree rule, staying on Gemma’s right side so she’s always moving left to right in the trike shots.  I also made sure I got a variety of angles from in front, from the side and from behind.

Story

A news version of this story would probably start with a wide shot to set the scene, then move closer, while a voiceover explains who Gemma is. But I like films that let the subject tell their own story, so I heavily edited the interview so it worked without the questions.

I also think stories are more interesting if they don’t spell everything out at the start. So you don’t see Gemma, or the complete trike, for the first ten seconds or so.

Then we move to a timelapse (shot with Filmic Pro: forty minutes standing in the cold for a few seconds of film) before following Gemma on her usual route.

Finally, Gemma takes us step by step through the process of making a latte.

I started by filming the whole process in mid shot as she talks us through it. Then I set up separate shots of each stage in the process to add as cutaways. (Cutaways are clips that are added ‘above’ the main video track, so we see the image change but we still hear the audio from the main track). For this to work, the 180 degree rule came into play again: this time, I had to be on the same side for the cutaways as I was for the mid shot.

I also used the five shot rule to make sure I got all the shots I needed. I used different angles and a lot of closeups. I shot some of them (eg the display on the coffee dispenser) in slow motion to reduce camera movement.

Editing

I edited the film on my MacBook Pro using Final Cut Pro X as it’s faster and offers more scope for fine-tuning than iPad/iPhone editing apps. It allowed me to easily adjust audio levels, add additional audio tracks, and correct the exposure and colour.

Equipment

I shot most of the moving shots using the iPhone’s native Camera app. Filmic Pro allowed me to monitor audio on headphones during the interviews (I did have an issue with stuttering video when the phone was low on memory.)

I originally planned to use a tripod for the static shots, but I ended up using the DJI Osmo Mobile stabiliser as it’s so much faster to set up shots. The much cheaper Zhiyun Smooth-Q would probably have done just as well.

I used an Anker battery pack to keep the phone powered during the shoots.

The Rodelink Filmmaker wireless kit made interviews in the field easier, though I could have used a cheaper alternative like the Boya BY-M1 (with a furry windshield).

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