iFilming: Capturing Moments with Your Smartphone


What’s something you always have with you — and for some people, it’s physically cemented to their hand? I bet you can guess…

Yes, it’s your smartphone!

Our smartphones are the way we connect with the world, people and experiences around us. And it can be powerful. Within seconds, you can pull out your smartphone and capture a moment at an event, a reaction on someone’s face or even a story in an unlikely situation.

“There’s one thing about this camera that outshines all the rest — it’s the camera that’s always with you!” — Jared Staab, Professor at Nonprofit Film School

An Example

Here’s an example from Tiny Hands International, an organization that fights sex trafficking overseas. Their Executive Director was at their offices in Kathmandu, Nepal, when this young girl came in and said she wanted to share her story. Thank goodness he was ready and in the mindset of capturing stories, because this simple video has served the organization really well! It is rough and unpolished, but through subtitles, text and music they give context to an in-the-right-place-at-the-right-time moment.

The low video quality doesn’t take away from the story. Even with low resolution, stories can still shine!

Your Turn

We bet that you can try your hand at communicating through video with this tiny, little device. With a few key techniques in your pocket, you’ll be able to share what you’re doing every day — the hard work of your organization and the change you’re making — with your entire social network.

Are you ready for this?

Here’s how can you use your smartphone to make sure you’re getting good quality footage:


Horizontal Is Key

The first thing to ensure you get the best quality footage is to make sure that you always hold your smartphone horizontally. This allows you to capture the whole scene, so you don’t have distracting black boxes on either side of your frame.


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A good thing to keep in mind is that your phone can be held horizontally, but most screens (think about those folks at desktop computers) can’t turn vertically. The most important thing to remember is that you want your viewers to see the whole picture. So by holding your phone horizontally, you’ll make sure they can see everything you want them to see.  


Two Hands Are Better Than One

It seems like a simple concept, but whether you’re standing still or moving alongside your subject, it’s important to remember that holding your phone with two hands will help stabilize your shot and make it much more pleasing for your audience to watch.

Another good tip is that if you’re shooting footage for a longer amount of time, rest your elbows on you stomach. However, if you’re filming an action shot and moving with your subject, make sure to keep your arms free from your side — this way the impact of each step is less noticeable (and jarring!) to your viewer.

Apply these simple tips and you’ll be able to get the best, in-the-moment footage a smartphone can capture.

iFilming Techniques

  • Always hold your smartphone horizontally

  • Always use two hands when holding your smartphone

  • Limit your movement

  • If you need to move while filming, try and be as subtle as possible

  • Your phone's built-in mic will need you to get in close to who's talking, so keep that in mind when filming



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