In our ongoing effort to provide you with the resources, knowledge and inspiration to pursue your dreams, the TomCruise.com team is pleased to present Part 2 of the Aspiring Mobile Filmmaker Guide. Like our previous Aspiring Guides for actors, directors and filmmakers, film editors, producers, screenwriters, stuntmen and visual effects artists, we have researched and gathered the most useful information, tips, tools and resources we could find to help you launch a successful career.
In Part 1 of the Aspiring Mobile Filmmakers Guide, the TomCruise.com team provided detailed information about the emerging craft, including a description about what a mobile filmmaker does, a glossary of common terms, film festivals and contests open to mobile filmmakers, books written by industry experts, entertainment industry publications, colleges and universities offering training specifically for aspiring filmmakers as well as a list of professional unions and associations for professional filmmakers.
In the second half of the guide, we offer practical advice about current resources, tools, programs and instructional classes to help you master your mobile filmmaking skills.
Part 2 of the Aspiring Mobile Filmmakers Guide includes:
- Blogs about mobile filmmaking, film editing and the entertainment industry, including insider information about the evolving technology as well as the numerous tools available to mobile filmmakers
- Professional training programs to help you master your mobile filmmaking skills
- Equipment and useful mobile filmmaking apps for your smartphone or tablet computer
As we learned in the first part of the Aspiring Mobile Filmmakers Guide, Anna Elizabeth James and Michael Koerbel, created Goldilocks, the first mobile film series shot on an iPhone 4 and iPod Touch. In 2010, before University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts graduate students launched their mobile film series, they made a mobile mini movie, Apple of My Eye. Inspired by the new filmmaking capabilities of the iPhone 4, the duo completely filmed and edited Apple of My Eye on the iPhone 4 with the use of the iMovie app.
For Apple of My Eye, the MFA students’ first iPhone project together, Michael and Anna Elizabeth filmed approximately six hours of footage, which Anna Elizabeth edited down to less than two minutes. Explaining her process to CNN, “I had to make sure the choices I was making were right, because it is quite a process to edit on the phone.” She also admitted, “I had never tried to make a movie on a small camera before. I first started doing at-home movies of my kids and creating content really simply. Then you go to film school, and it gets really complicated. Going back to the phone was simplifying it all over again.” Aside from the cost of the smartphone, the filmmakers only spent $103 on the project and Michael assured the news outlet that “we were able to do everything with that camera that we did with the film camera.”
With all of the new apps entering the market place on a daily basis, new devices being introduced so frequently and new technology advancing so quickly, blogs may be your best source for keeping up with all the latest mobile filmmaking news and tools. To help you navigate through the countless blogs available online, the TomCruise.com team has selected several of the most informational blogs to showcase on our list.
2ReelGuys.com – Created by Norman Hollyn, a professional film editor, author, instructor and University of Southern California professor, and Larry Jordan, a post-production consultant and professional producer, editor, director, author and trainer, the online publication is focused on the creative process of visual storytelling. Through a series of short video episodes, newsletters and an online forum, the duo cover a variety of topics involving the many components of visual storytelling, such as getting started, working with actors and production secrets as well as editing and sound tips. Every two weeks a new video is posted which focuses on covering one concept in under 10 minutes. After the video has been posted, Norman’s episode notes are featured in their newsletter. The community is encouraged to participate through the comments section and online forum.
DigitalProductionBuzz.com – The online publication features information and weekly podcasts about video production, post-production and global distribution. Founders Larry Jordan, a Directors Guild of America and Producers Guild of America member as well as a Apple-Certified trainer, and Mike Horton, a producer, director and editor as well as the founder of the Los Angeles Final Cut Pro User Group, are joined by Cirina Catania, a directing, producing, post-production professional, in covering the latest gear, cutting-edge film and video projects along with interviewing industry leaders.
Film Industry Bloggers – Created and maintained by entertainment industry professionals, the comprehensive site provides insiders’ insight into the motion picture industry from working professionals. Learn about a wide range of entertainment industry topics, including independent filmmaking, documentary producing, film editing acting and screenwriting. Featured contributors update their blog approximately once a week and achieved blogs are also available.
Hand Held Hollywood – Created by television and film director, Taz Goldstein, the informative site offers straightforward advice and resources to help you learn how to use an iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch for film and video production. In addition to providing information about the latest technology and techniques, aspiring and experienced filmmakers, composers and directors can exchange ideas, ask questions and network through the discussion section.
JohnAugust.com – The Los Angeles-based screenwriter (Big Fish, Corpse Bride, Charlie’s Angeles) offers more than 1,500 posts featuring screenwriting advice and an insider’s perspective on the inner workings of Hollywood.
SpliceNow.com –Steve Cohen, a professional film editor, chairman of the editing department at the American Film Institute Center for Advanced Film and Television Studies and one of the creators and publishers of the Motion Picture Editors Guild Magazine offers his vast experiences as he covers the current state of editing, provides tech tips and discusses effects on work and life.
TheArtOfTheGuillotine.com – Founded by professional film editor and Ryerson University professor, Gordon A. Burkell, the online publication provides an extensive resource of techniques, tips and information as well as an interactive community of film editors.
Learn how to use software programs and apps to create movies on your smartphone or tablet computer through classes taught by knowledgeable professionals. Many classes are available for free or for a small fee. In addition to learning about specific programs, you can also receive general information about making films through professional training or instructional classes either online and in person.
Apple In Store/Retail Video Workshops – The maker of iPhones, iPads and i-products offers numerous free workshops and online video tutorials to teach you how to use their products. For an overview of how to use iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand you can take an iLife tutorial or for more in depth instruction, attend a workshop or watch a video tutorial about iMovie, Final Cut Pro X or Motion, the most popular video software. iMovie, which is also available as an app, is an easy-to-use editing program that also allows users to share their videos on YouTube, iPad, iPod, iPhone and AppleTV. The 3D motion graphics application, Motion, seamlessly integrates with Final Cut Pro X, the professional-level film and video editing software that features advanced tools to create high-quality movies. You can learn how to use these programs as well as many others through online video tutorials or, if you live near an Apple Store, you can also take advantage of their free hour-long workshops. Check with your local Apple Retail Store for a current schedule of complimentary training workshops in your area and keep in mind that classes may require advanced registration.
Lynda.com – The subscription-based online training site features a wide variety of tutorials related to mobile filmmaking, such as iMovie for iPad Essential Training, Create an Interactive Video Gallery with jQuery and Dreamweaver and YouTube Essential Training. Several of the video tutorials are free but for full access to the Online Training Library, you will need a subscription. Fortunately, there is usually a free trial period or you can sign up for one month at a time for a low subscription fee. Many universities and public libraries maintain subscriptions to the service for use by their patrons and alumni, so check with your local librarian to find out if the service is available.
Sundance Institute: Shortlabs – Founded by Robert Redford, the renowned institute offers daylong workshops to develop the talents of aspiring shorts filmmakers. Available in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, the program offers first-hand insight into the basics of storytelling, making a film and getting it viewed by audiences through panels, discussions and screenings with industry professionals. In addition to the learning and networking opportunities, attendees participate in a screening of shorts film highlights from the Sundance Film Festival. Tickets have traditionally been open to public but space is limited and tickets sell out quickly.
Vimeo Video School – The video sharing website offers free lessons and video tutorials for aspiring filmmakers. From Video 101, geared toward novice filmmakers, to Vimeo Featured Lessons, with detailed information and examples created by the in-house staff, filmmakers of any level can learn some new skills or refine their existing skills. Members of the site are also invited to submit user-made video tutorials, a great way to share your knowledge and expand your network
There is little doubt that making mobile movies is a lot less expensive than a full-length professional film. With only the expense of a smartphone or tablet computer and maybe, a home computer, anyone can create a high-quality video. But if you want to make your film project look even more professional, you may need to make an additional, though small, investment in some extra equipment, such as a stabilizer attachment or fee-based editing programs. Whether you plan on using a free, cloud-based editing program like YouTube Editor, make your own smartphone tripod adapter or purchase advanced editing apps, you can make a compelling movie with your mobile device.
Snapmount – The lightweight tripod mount for iPhone can be mounted to any tripod in either landscape of portrait. Secures around all four corners of the smartphone.
d’Trod – The L-shaped mount works with any smartphone, allowing users to stand the smartphone upright, with or without a tripod.
ALM – Branded as ALM, Bubo and OWLE, the Arizona-based company makes a variety of mounts, stabilizers, lenses and tripods for smartphones.
Duplicam Camera Module (free) –Share the camera on any iPhone as a remote with any other iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad (running the full Duplicam app). (Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later)
Duplicam Camera Module ($0.99) – Upgrade from the free app to view and control one or more iPhone cameras running the app simultaneously from any iOS device. Users will be able to view continuous live feeds from all connected cameras. No syncing or emailing necessary. (Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later)
8mm Vintage Camera app ($1.99) Make your videos look like old-fashioned 8mm movies as you shoot in real time. (Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (4th generation), iPad 2 Wi-Fi, and iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G. Requires iOS 4.1 or later)
ReelDirector ($1.99) Create videos with titles, effects and HD output. (Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1 or later)
Splice – Video Editor ($3.99) Piece together HD photos and videos as well as add music tracks from your iPod library, sound effects, transitions, borders, voice over and visual effects. You can also trim video and audio. (Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), and iPad. Requires iOS 4.2 or later.)
Socialcam (free) Users can upload video while recording or record video offline and upload it later, tag their friends in the videos, browse and comment on friends’ videos and share your videos through email, SMS, Facebook, Twitter, Posterous, Tumblr and Dropbox. (Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later.)
Thwapr (free) Capture and share videos via email, MMS, Twitter and Facebook. (Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.)
Movie Looks HD – ($1.99) Features 40 cinematic looks and color tools, such as popular film, black & white and blockbuster look pack. (Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.1 or later.)
Majek (free) The mobile distribution channel to watch Goldilocks, the first mobile film series shot entirely on the iPhone 4 & iPod Touch. (Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later.)
Qik (free) The Skype product features video chat, video mail and video share functions. (Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch (4th generation), iPad 2 Wi-Fi, and iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G. Requires iOS 4.1 or later.)
Flixlab (free) Make movies and slideshows from the pictures, videos and music on your iPhone and share your footage with your Facebook friends. Post on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or send via email. (Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.)
iMovie ($4.99) Make a movie by adding video, photos, music and sound effects as well as adding a theme, titles and transitions. Share your HD movie over the Internet by MMS, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and CNN iReport. You can also use AirPlay to stream directly to an HDTV with Apple TV. (Compatible with iPhone 4, iPod touch (4th generation), iPad 2 Wi-Fi, and iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G. Requires iOS 4.2.6 or later.)
TwistedWave Audio Editor ($9.99) Record, cut and paste audio to videos as well as add professional effects, such as compression, pitch shifting, time stretching and normalizing. (Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1 or later.)
Videocam illusion (free) Record videos with effects in real-time. (Requires Android 2.1 and up.)
Videocam illusion Pro ($2.75) This advertisement-free version allows users to combine filters, effects and masks as you record video in real-time. (Requires Android 2.1 and up.)
VidTrim – Video Trimmer (free) Organize and trim video clips directly on your smartphone. (Requires Android 2.1 and up.)
VidTrim Pro – Video Editor ($2.82) The advertisement-free version of the app allows users to organize, trim, compress and share videos all on your smartphone. (Requires Android 2.1 and up.)
Video Trimmer ($ 3.00) The Sony Digital Network Application app allows users to edit videos quickly and easily by setting starting and ending points and tapping a trim button. (Requires Android 2.1 and up.)
Clesh video editor ($4.72) Cloud-based video editor that allows users to shoot, edit and publish on YouTube and Facebook directly from their smartphone. Extra features are available through your web browser on both PC and Mac computers. (Requires Android 2.2 and up.)
Snip Video Trimmer ($0.99) Users will be able to trim videos and send the shortened versions to friends or upload to the Internet. (Requires Android 1.6 and up.)
Time-Lapse ($1.99) Create artistic time-lapse videos easily, saving them directly to your device as .mov files so they can be uploaded to YouTube or played back in VLC Media Player. (Requires Android 1.5 and up.)
Frame Grabber ($3.00) – Created by Sony Digital Network Application, Inc. the app allows users to grab still images from recorded videos. (Requires Android 1.6 and up.)
Clayframes ($2.51) – An easy to use utility to create stop-frame animation (or claymation) and time-lapse movies. (Requires Android 2.1 and up.)
Socialcam (free) – Users can upload video while recording or record video offline and upload it later, tag their friends in the videos, browse and comment on friends’ videos. You can also share your videos through email, SMS, Facebook, Twitter, Posterous, Tumblr and Dropbox. (Requires Android 2.1 and up.)
Qik (free) – The Skype product features video chat, video mail and video share functions as well as the ability to record and share videos on social networks directly from your smartphone. Conduct live video calls with other Qik Video users with Android phones or through iPhone, iPad 2 and iPod Touch 4th generation over 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi (Requires Android 1.5 – 3.0.)
As we covered in the first part of the Aspiring Mobile Filmmaker Guide, it is relatively inexpensive to become a mobile filmmaker but you need to engage your audience with compelling storytelling. If you have a fun or interesting story, the expense of your equipment is far less important than using your equipment creatively to tell the story well.
Need a little more inspiration? Check out the first music video shot with an iPhone 3GS , Technologic Overkill, created by independent filmmaker Steve Ellington. See just how much fun you can have making a mobile movie with almost no budget but a lot of creativity.
We hope you find these apps and blogs helpful as you pursue your dreams as a mobile filmmaker. One of the best ways to grow and develop as an artist is to find other aspiring filmmakers to see what they are doing. You may want to start or join a film club in your school, work on a film project with your friends, participate in social networking to meet other mobile filmmakers and contribute to online industry forums to increase your network. Once you have established a network of mobile filmmakers, you can collaborate on projects, give and receive feedback, share information and learn new techniques.
Once again, the TomCruise.com would like to extend a special thank you to Professor Norman Hollyn for sharing his knowledge, advice and suggestions with us!
Are you an experienced mobile filmmaker? If so, the TomCruise.com team would love to hear from you! Please share your suggestions and advice in the comments section below or use the hashtag #aspiring2actwritedirect in your social media response. We might even add your contribution to the post!
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