WITH THE iPHONE’S insane camera quality and plethora of editing apps, travelers have an unprecedented ability to direct, produce, and star in original cinematic works. There are tons of camera accessories in the marketplace to enhance the lens, capture unique angles, and help with stabilization.
First and foremost you will need an iPhone — 3GS or above. Recording video is not an option on the 2G or 3G unless you have an app like ShowTime Video Recorder ($0.99), but even then the quality will not be great.
Since video was introduced to the 3GS, every subsequent model has come with some improvement to its camera quality, and the latest 4s is no exception. The new 8MP iSight camera now gives the capability to shoot 1080p HD quality videos on your phone. Improved optics in the camera also help with balancing light better than ever, and the addition of a video stabilization feature prevents excess jitter.
For mounting your iPhone 4 or 4s to a tripod, there is an attachment you can buy called The Glif ($20). This piece of recyclable rubber can also be used like a kickstand, propping your phone up in various angles for hands-free usage. The Original Suction Clip ($12.99) is another fun add-on used for temporary mounting. Suction cup it to a window, clip it to your pocket, or set it on a solid surface; tons of possibilities.
For more hardcore iCinematographers, there is the Owle Bubo ($160). This puppy is a metal mount and stabilizer that allows you to attach accessories such as lights, tripods, and various lenses. It also comes with a 37mm wide angle / macro lens and microphone that you plug into the headphone jack.
Apps for shooting
If you want more control over your shooting than the native Apple camera gives, try FiLMiC Pro ($3.99). With this app you can manually adjust focus, exposure, and white balance; choose from 26 different variable frames; monitor audio levels; and utilize color bars.
Apps for editing
It’s been mentioned on Matador before, but iMovie ($4.99) is my personal favorite for generating movies. It’s a little more expensive than the others but is basically a mobile version of the iMovie program you get on an Apple computer. Here you can add and adjust video clips, photos, and music in one place, as well as choose from various pre-designed themes, add sound effects, and record audio for a narration.
In combination with iMovie, I like to use Splice (free-$3.99). It has all the same editing capabilities and you really can get by using only one of them. I just find Splice much easier to work with when it comes to basic edits like trimming and adding transitions or titles.
Apps for effects
If you want to spice up your movies a bit with some effects, Movie Looks ($1.99) is a cool app that supplies you with 40 different cinematic treatments to add to your videos. Get all “Hollywood” with looks like Crime Scene, Action, War, Night Vision, or Cinematic.
8mm Vintage Camera ($1.99) is also a great one for giving your video a retro feel with filters like 1920s, Noir, 60s, 70s, Sakura, XPro, Siena, and Pela. You can also add displacement of frames to replicate actual 8mm projectors.
If you want to get artsy, Miniatures Pro ($1.99) is a fun app for creating tilt-shift time-lapse videos that miniaturizes and changes the perception of motion on whatever subject you are shooting. If it is solely time-lapse and stop motion movies you are after, Frameographer ($2.99) is fantastic for shooting and manipulating sequences of still images.
iPhones are making their way into the world of commercials, music videos, and even the movie industry. In 2011, South Korean director Park Chan-Wook made headlines when he released a short film called Night Fishing, which was shot entirely on an iPhone 4.
Lots of bands have also incorporated the use of iPhones in their music videos. Check out the Goldfrapp video “Yellow Halo”, which was made from video footage recorded on an iPhone while they were down in South America.
Referred to as “the Instagram for video” by TechCrunch, Socialcam (free) lets you record and upload videos of any length to share with your followers who have iPhones or Androids. Like Instagram, you can also add various filters and share directly to sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, or send them via Email / SMS.
Speaking of Youtube — you can always upload your videos there if you’d like to share them with a larger audience, but you should be warned that it totally sucks for travelers. Think about uploading your masterpieces instead to sites like Vimeo or Tripfilms. They make it easier to connect with other travelers and also for others interested in travel to find your work.
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