How to Make Movies with Your Smartphone: A Guide for Beginners

To make films, you used to need huge, extremely expensive cameras. Now, you have all the tools you need to get started in your pocket!

Smartphone filmmaking is an increasingly popular way to create high-quality films on a budget.

With the right equipment and knowledge, anyone can make professional-level movies with their smartphone. 

In this blog post, we will discuss what equipment you need to make movies with your smartphone, the best apps and software for filming on smartphones, as well as tips to help you create better films on your phone.

We will also give some insight into what you should consider before launching your smartphone filmmaking career. Let’s dive in and get started!

What Equipment Do You Need To Make Movies With A Smartphone?


This one’s pretty obvious.

However, it’s not as easy as picking up any smartphone. There are very different levels of filmmaking capability between models and brands that can really affect your ability to create.

Of course, if you’re determined, any phone with a camera to film can make movies.

However, if you want professional looking, high-grade footage, you’ll need a more specific phone to get the job done. Here, we’ll list a few of the best options for filmmaking smartphones.

iPhone 14 Pro

This phone is one of the best filmmaking phones on the market right now.

It has an excellent 48MP main camera and advanced quad pixel sensors. If you don’t know what the technical jargon means, just know this: This phone captures gorgeous, high quality images and video. 

The colours are strong and pretty, and details won’t be lost through fuzzy images. It’s especially good at capturing clear pictures in low-light situations.

Additionally, the iPhone 14 Pro has a huge range of conversion lenses and other addons available. This allows you to tweak your setup to the highest degree.

It also has some great slow-mo features for those dramatic action shots. These allow it to film right up to 240fps, which is pretty great for such a small device! Paired with its automatic stabilisation, this phone is an excellent choice for high-action scenes with a lot of movement.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the top of the line for filmmaking phones. It has a 108MP primary sensor, two telephoto lenses, and a 12MP ultra wide secondary sensor. 

In non-technical terms: It will give you a great final result that has strong colours, fine details, and a high quality. It allows for incredible optical zoom, which won’t lose quality until a whole 10x zoom is reached!

This phone also has some great extra features for filming. 

Notably, it has Director mode, which lets you record from the front and back of the phone at once. 

It also has built-in stabilisation and a feature called Single Take AI, which lets you get a bunch of shots or videos at once with a single click.

Huawei P40 Pro

The Huawei P40 Pro has an incredible camera– quite possibly the best on a smartphone in the present day.

It has a 50MP sensor and up to 50x digital zoom, which is just insane. Additionally, it can shoot all the way up to 7680fps, allowing for some incredible slow-mo shots.

The battery life of the Huawei is also excellent. This can be especially important when you spend a long time away from a charging spot filming. It even has special modes for things like bokeh effects, to really upgrade your final result.

However, it can’t all be good. Even with all of these amazing features, the biggest issue with Huawei is its lack of Google Play apps. As such, your software on this phone will be very limited.

Of course, these three phones aren’t your only options by any means. Make sure to do some research into what will work best for your needs before investing in a fancy phone. 

And remember: Even the fanciest equipment doesn’t make for a film great, automatically.

Tripods and Grips

In filmmaking, these are useful tools that help to stabilise your camera to avoid bumpy, shaky handheld footage.

They can come in a lot of forms. The most common is as a tripod; a tall stick with a stand that you can place your phone on the top of.

Tripods can range drastically in size and function. Some are only a few centimetres tall to give your phone a small amount of elevation on a table, while others are made for standing on the floor and bringing your phone up to face-height. 

Many modern phone tripods are super compact. They can fold up small enough to fit inside your pocket or bag for convenient, easy transport. 

Others are able to convert to a monopod (handheld stick that holds up your camera and stabilises your footage), or a selfie stick. These are more useful if you want to get moving or panning shots, rather than still ones.

Some of these grips even have full gimbal stabilisation tech and buttons to let you adjust things in your shot like focus and exposure.

Cage and Accessories

A cage is a device that fits around your phone and performs a few different functions.

First, it creates an easy surface to hold on to– sometimes with built-in handles. Secondly, it allows all kinds of accessories to be attached to your phone in different ways so that you can improve your footage. 

This is really an essential tool if you want to get into the technical side of filmmaking.

There are a few accessories that go with a cage that are super helpful when trying to make movies on your phone. We’ll run through a few here, but it will really only scratch the surface.


The first is an external microphone. All phones will come with some kind of built-in microphone, but these are normally pretty limited. They are especially bad at picking up directional audio.

So, with a cage, you can attach a few different external microphones to boost your audio quality in your films.

The main type of external microphone for phones clips directly onto the cage, standing out from the phone to pick up sound. It can normally be pointed in different directions to capture sound from a specific part of the space.

These can come in directional forms, which pick up sound from one small direction and avoid background noise like cars or barking dogs. They can also come in a version made to pick up a whole room’s worth of sound at once.

Additionally, you can get wired or wireless microphones that clip onto the clothes of your actors. 

These are perfect for capturing dialogue, and you can even have multiple hooked up to one phone– allowing you to capture multiple streams of audio simultaneously! 


The next important accessory to invest in when creating films on your phone are lights. 

These come in endless types and forms. The most important ones are ring and directional lights, which both help bring a more even lighting to your scene.

Lights like this keep things in focus, visible, and looking good while filming. They help prevent severe lighting and strong shadows, and let you control the ambience of your scene.

Some lights even have buttons to let you adjust brightness and temperature!

Lenses and Filters

Lenses and filters are another great investment to make when creating movies on your phone.

These allow you to change the final look of your footage. For instance, a conversion lens (such as an anamorphic lens) might make your footage look more interesting by adding specific distortion or effects to your final image.

Lenses also let you introduce depth of field to your film. This helps to put the parts of the scene in focus that you want the audience to see, and also helps to make footage feel less flat.

The most popular lenses in filmmaking are the wide angle, fisheye, telephoto, macro and polarizer. 

Each of these have a different function, and each artist prefers different lenses and techniques. It’s a matter of experimenting and finding what you like best.

Finally, filters let you adjust the colours and lighting of your scene. They can do things like calming extreme sunlight or brightening a dark scene. They can even make a daytime shoot look like it’s at night!

The biggest function of filters is changing the mood of your footage. This is done largely through colour filters, which make things look dark, bright, contrasted or endless other effects.

Data Storage

This is a small but important section when it comes to phone filmmaking equipment.

Even the best phones have relatively small data storage, especially when it comes to large video files. For this reason, it’s essential to have some kind of external storage and a way to get files from your phone to this storage.

There are a bunch of ways to do this.

You can purchase large amounts of cloud storage, allowing you to send files directly from your phone. This could be very convenient for time and organisation. However, it’s normally good to back up your work in several forms.

Physical storage comes in the form of computers or storage disks. To use these, you’ll either need to plug a storage device into your phone, or connect it to a laptop or desktop computer.

Best Apps And Software For Filmmaking On Smartphones

There are a plethora of apps that can make filmmaking easier and more efficient for you. These can range from script writing apps to filming and editing software.

Though many of them aren’t essential, you should think about which of these apps may help you create your best possible work.

Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list; below are just a few of our favourites.

Before spending money on a high-level software like this, you should do research into as many alternatives as you can to ensure you’re buying the best one for you!

Artemis Pro

Costs $29.99 USD

This is the very first digital viewfinder app for phones.

For many professional filmmakers, Artemis Pro has become an indispensable tool for creating their work. It’s been used by Oscar-winning directors, and even has an Emmy for its contributions to filmmaking.

The most important function of this app is its ability to offer you complete control over your phone’s camera; it effectively aims to turn your phone into a professional video camera!

These allow you to easily adjust things like lenses, field of view, and other capture settings.

If you want fine-tuned control over your footage, this may be a great app to pick up. It’s fairly complex, but once you learn how to use it, it can be hard to live without.

Helios Pro

Costs $17.99 USD

Helios Pro is a light tracking app designed specifically for filmmakers and photographers.

It gives users the ability to pinpoint the exact position of the sun, moon and stars. This, in addition to its augmented reality and light simulations, allows you to visualise exactly what filming conditions will be at any location in the world.

It even has dynamic 3D meshes to let you test the lighting of an area. When paired with its automatic Google Maps terrain makes it a pretty indispensable tool.

A lot of planning is needed for the perfect shot for a film. Helios will help you carry out that planning with a much higher level of confidence– allowing you to create your exact vision for your project.


Costs $29.99 USD

LumaFusion is an extremely powerful video and audio editing app, created as a professional-grade editor for use on portable devices.

Incredibly, LumaFusion manages to rival professional-level editing suites that can be found on computers. Yet, somehow, it functions on a smartphone! Honestly, we’re not quite sure how they managed this, but it’s pretty amazing.

It has extremely advanced tools available that let you tweak framerate, aspect ratio, keyframes, audio mixing, titles, transitions, animations, colour grading and much more.

It also has excellent built-in filters and presets to let you quickly get the effect you want.

Learning LumaFusion will take some time. This is especially true if you haven’t used editing software before. However, once you do learn it, its level of control and detail can’t really be rivalled by any other app.

FiLMiC Pro

FiLMiC Pro is a super advanced film production app available on iOS and Android devices.

Effectively, it lets you turn your phone into a professional camera. This means giving you control over ISO, shutter speed, exposure, zoom and many other options that are normally inaccessible to a phone camera.

It also lets you record in a huge variety of resolutions and aspect ratios.

The encoding options are great, with a large number of file types, sizes and encoding methods to choose from– allowing you to really optimise the quality and size of your files. 

Additionally, the program has built-in support for a variety of popular lens adapters and gimbals, letting them integrate seamlessly with your filming process. 

Tips To Help You Create Better Films On Your Smartphone

Now that we’ve covered the hard and software of creating films on your phone, let’s talk a bit about what you can do to make great films on your smartphone:

  1. Edit On A Computer If You Can

Though apps like LumaFusion are pretty advanced, they still don’t quite reach the level of computer editing suites. 

If you want the top of the line control and tools for editing your footage, you’ll probably want to move your files over to a laptop or desktop computer when it comes time to edit.

Of course, this isn’t essential. A computer is a big investment, and with some of the tools we’ve listed, you can definitely get professional-grade editing done on your phone. It’s just a lot easier to do things like this with a keyboard and mouse.

  1. Plan, Plan, And Plan Some More

When you’re interested in starting a hobby like filmmaking, it’s easy to want to jump straight in as soon as possible.

However, an incredibly important step in making films is planning.

There’s a lot of coordination that needs to go into any shot of a film, between actors, props, lighting conditions, location, and much more. You want all of these different things to run smoothly, and to achieve this, you’ll need to plan.

There’s a million ways to do this, and every filmmaker likes something different.

You may like plain pen and paper, storyboards, sticky notes, apps, notepads or a hundred other tools at your disposal. It doesn’t really matter how you do it– just plan!

  1. Learn By Watching

We live in an age where all human knowledge is stored on a handy device in our pocket. Take advantage of this.

Filmmaking is a highly complex, deep skill to learn. It’s an art form! 

When it comes to picking something like this up, you need to be ready to learn– far beyond the point where you feel like you’ve “got it”. 

Watch YouTube videos, sign up for courses online or in person, and read articles, books, and blog posts. There is a whole world of experts out there ready to teach you what they know (in many cases, for free!). Don’t ignore this opportunity.

  1. Learn By Doing

Of course, like any art, filmmaking isn’t something you can learn just through theory.

If you want to get good at making movies, you need to start by making movies. No matter how terrible you think it will be– start. Get a decent plan down for your first project and begin shooting.

It will almost definitely be bad. However, that’s ok! No director has ever made a masterpiece on their first try.

Whatever you do, just finish the film. Plan it, shoot it, and edit it from start to finish. After doing all of these steps, you’ll find yourself knowing things you didn’t before.

These could be things like how to shoot your footage in a way that makes it easy to edit, what looked great and what turned out horribly, as well as how not to do things.

Each of these new lessons will be absorbed, and, when you start on your next project, you’ll find that you’re using this new knowledge to make something better.

(It might not be good yet, but better!)

This slow progress will add up with each additional movie you make. Eventually, maybe around your third or fourth project, you might even start feeling like you know what you’re doing.

  1. Back Up Everything (Please)

There is no worse feeling than staring at a corrupted file, knowing you’ve just lost tens of hours of work.

Avoid this at all costs! It takes a few minutes to back up your work once you’ve set up a system to do this. This should happen often– preferably every time you stop working for the day.

Ideally, you should have backups of your work in a couple of places. This could be online and offline. 

Whatever you do, don’t skip this step!

You won’t need it for days, weeks, and maybe even years. However, the day will eventually come– and when it does, backups will save your life and your sanity.

Things To Consider Before Launching Your Smartphone Filmmaking Career

The main thing to not do at the very beginning of a new hobby in filmmaking is go out and buy thousands of dollars of extremely expensive equipment on a whim.

All of this equipment we’ve listed is great, and super helpful to a filmmaker.

However, it’s not essential to make films. It’s also a huge investment to make if you aren’t sure how you’ll work, what you’ll need, and whether you’ll even like making movies to begin with.

Start small. You can begin planning a project with nothing but a pen and some paper. This can give you a real idea of what you’ll need, what you like, and what you need to organise to achieve your goal.

Think hard about what your final desired effect is. Do research into how to achieve this! 

Later, once you start to really understand your style and filmmaking needs, you can start investing in the big stuff. Until then, start small and build your interest slowly.

Even hobbies can have a honeymoon phase. Once you do start filming, keep in mind that you won’t make amazing films to start with. No one does in their first week filming.

As already mentioned, filmmaking is an art– and unfortunately, art takes a long time and a lot of practice to become good at. Always try to keep in mind that with each project, you take another step toward being a great filmmaker!

When you’re creating, know your limits and embrace them. Some of the best films ever made were on a shoestring budget and a few, limited rooms.

You don’t need millions of dollars and A-level actors to make something incredible. 

In fact, restriction can lead to some of the most incredible art. The creativity you use to find ways around your limitations are what make your film unique, and give you the fiery passion that leads to great final results.

Finally: Take risks!

Art is at its best when it surprises you. To do this, you need to be different and vulnerable. Activities like filmmaking don’t often reward the safe, well-trodden road. Instead, focus on being creative, and making something truly special.


We hope that this article has made the process of starting off as a filmmaker a little less intimidating. Making movies is a huge world to step into, with a lot of existing rules, techniques and history.

Just know that no matter your resources, you’ll become great at your craft if you keep learning and experimenting. So grab your phone, and get filming!


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