For a filmmaker, the camera is your greatest asset. It is vital from all aspects of the process, from getting a great idea to making that idea a reality. Since the best camera is the one you have with you, that makes the smartphone probably the best camera you’ll have at any given point. Between being extremely fast to launch, useful apps and very advanced sensors, a smartphone is a filmmaker’s best friend at all times.
You never know when inspiration is going to hit you so being prepared is always going to work in your favor. Keeping a way to take down inspiration you see is important to capture the essence of the inspiration. A sketch pad, notebook and camera are all great tools to have on you at all times. Thankfully any smartphone will do this and more.
With high quality wide angle lenses, or with dual cameras like some phones are trending toward, you can capture an entire scene with the push of a button. The autofocus on these cameras has gotten considerably better in recent years as well. Between laser autofocus or dual pixel sensors available in phones like the Samsung Galaxy S7, getting a good shot off in low light or less than ideal conditions is less of a factor.
Combining these cameras with apps like Google Keep, a note-taking program, lets you draw right on the image if you need notations or camera movements.
After you have an idea, it’s time to get a plan together. Not only do the plethora of apps available mean your phone can do just about anything because it is always connected to a network, it is also a powerful collaboration tool.
Artemis, a shot planning app, lets you take a picture with a field of view of various focal lengths and for different cameras. This is a useful tool when location scouting.
File hosting apps like Dropbox can let you and your production or costume designer quickly and easily share photos and notes.
Even when you haven’t finished planning locations your camera can be great to take a photo of a place that you might want to remember, while also attaching meta data like GPS location to it, so you’ll always be able to find your way back in the future.
Once all the planning is finished and it’s time to get ready to shoot, your smartphone is a powerful tool for keeping your fans informed and up to date of the latest happenings on set. From the final costumes and sets to selfies with the cast and crew, having a camera always around is a great asset.
Many cameras today have apertures of f2.2 and faster, meaning it will let in more light and will not need to raise the ISO as much to get a good exposure, leading to a cleaner image that you can share. This is extremely helpful on very dark film sets.
This is another place the sharing capabilities of smartphones come in, being able to share set photos with your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook followers can be a fun way to keep your audience engaged.