Cinematography on a Budget: How to Shoot a Movie with a Smartphone

A game intro or movie on a site like Verdi Casino is costly. However, did you know that you can shoot movies with a smartphone? One movie that made millions of dollars is The Blair Witch Project, which was shot with a cheap hand-held camera in 1999.

Today, the camera quality of mobile phones is much higher than what they used in that movie. The camera used in that movie only had 0.38 MP. Modern smartphones have higher resolution than that. So, yes, you can film like a pro with a phone smartphone, and below are some of the best tips we can offer.

1. Use Landscape

Never film using the portrait mode. People watch movies on landscape-oriented televisions. Those who film in portrait mode are amateurs or people who only want to publish on TikTok.

Apart from your video looking professional, you will also capture a wider angle if you use landscape. If you do this, you are giving your audience more things to see. In addition, you can also add more environmental factors in your shot, making it able to convey more emotion through the scenery.

2. Correct the Framing

There is a rule of thumb when filming, and this rule is called the “rule of thirds.” At a basic level, your subject must be in the middle of the camera’s frame.

For an artistic shot, you can put the subject to the left or right of the frame, but you must use this sparingly. In the rule of thirds, you must imagine your frame as a 3×3 grid. A good shot happens when your subject is anywhere in these three vertical grids.

3. Use Lights

When shooting in the daytime, you should never shoot the camera against the sun. There is too much light, and it will cause unevenness in the brightness of your shots.

Instead, shoot with the camera’s back against the sun. This way, the sun lights your subject, but it is not glaring against your camera lens.

At night, you must use bright lights. Unfortunately, you must buy these lighting rigs, and they can be costly. If you do not have the budget, your only option is to use the available lighting in the surroundings.

4. Stabilize the Shot

Using your hand to film with a smartphone is a bad idea. Your hands can get shaky, and your phone may not come with advanced stabilizers.

To fix this problem, you must use a tripod. If not, buy a hand-held stabilizer. Using these devices will reduce the shaking that your hands cause.

The hand-held stabilizer is what we call a gimbal. There are many of these that you can buy online. Cheap ones, of course, will not give you the desired stabilization results.

The advantage of using a gimbal is that you get to shoot with smooth clarity without shaking. It makes your video footage look professional.

Any shaking that happens in a movie is disturbing to the viewer. So, if you do not want your viewer to leave, make sure that the camera shot is stable.

5. Use Effects

Phone cameras now come with special effects. For example, you can shoot in black and white or sepia. With these effects, you can change the tone of your video.

If you are not satisfied with the effects available by default on your camera, you can always install apps. Just go to Play Store or App Store and type “camera filters and effect.” From here, you can try several apps that can change the way you shoot your videos.

6. Edit the Video

Although smartphones are powerful, they are not as powerful as computers. Because of this, you must make sure that you have a PC capable of video editing.

On top of that, you must use video editor software. It is this software that will allow you to make cuts on your video and stitch the footage into one coherent movie.

One of the most popular video editors is Camtasia. It is easy to use, but it is also expensive. The Camtasia video editor costs no less than $200, plus you have to pay for upgrades.

If you want a free video editor, you can use DaVinci Resolve. It is a high-end video editor software that can do a lot of things. It is so powerful that professional movie-makers use it.


It takes patience and some practice to film with a phone camera. You need to understand your phone’s capabilities and take the time to experiment. Once you know what it can do in certain conditions, you can start filming like a pro!

From here, you can produce content for your vlog, documentary, and even a mini-movie. Of course, do not forget to get a decent video editor, such as Camtasia. If you want a free one, you can always rely on DaVinci Resolve, a free video editor that even Hollywood film editors use.