Category: Blog

How To Make Short Film Using Mobile App

The art of film making has changed significantly over the years. Many filmmakers have decided to leave their DLSR or mirrorless camera at home while switching to their smartphone. It is a good choice since smartphones are efficient, lightweight, and effective. Using your smartphone and the right mobile apps will allow you to create a documentary, horror, or dramatic film that will be sure to captivate your audience.


Last year a few movies sent to Alternative Film/Video festival were filmed entirely with smartphones. To be honest, if that was not mentioned in the introductions of these films, we were not sure if we could realize that these films were not shot using conventional equipment. And although Alternative Film/Video is not one of the festivals specializing in mobile films, we also encourage you to try out new ways of making films like this.


So what do you need to know about using a mobile app to create a short film? Within this short guide, you’ll learn how to make a short film using a mobile app.


Do Your Homework


Before you can create a short film, you need to prepare yourself. You need to do your homework so you can be ready to shoot a great video to keep the viewer’s attention. You need to understand that shooting on a mobile device is going to be much different from using a conventional camera. It is wise to spend time studying mobile films created by hobbyists and amateurs.


By sure to check out these videos on Vimeo and YouTube. You’ll also want to find out where you can shoot your film. When should you shoot the movie? Make sure you choose your location and time so you can get the perfect lighting. That will help you set the mood and get your point across.


Creating A Storyboard


Once you’ve studied successful mobile films and possible shooting locations, you’ll want to create a storyboard. This is immensely important, whether you’re filming with a smartphone or a mirrorless camera. You’ll want to tell a story, so you’ll need a storyboard. Remember that the possibilities are endless.


There are no universal rules, so you can create any kind of storyboard that you can. Just remember that your smartphone has some limits. You’ll need to adapt your techniques to make up for the phone’s shortcomings. Come up with a good storyboard, and you’ll be ready to start filming your short film before you know it.


Use Airplane Mode


When you’re shooting a film on your smartphone, you don’t want to be bothered. You want to be able to shoot the video consistently without getting text messages or phone calls. Thankfully, you can solve this problem by turning on the phone’s airplane mode. Alternatively, you can remove the SIM card.


This will prevent incoming calls from disturbing you while you’re shooting the film. Just remember to put the SIM back once you’ve finished.


Choose An Orientation


Smartphones are versatile so that they can be used in various modes. For instance, you may want to use portrait mode when taking selfies and pictures of others. However, many people think that is not a good idea when shooting movies. If you use portrait mode for your film, you’re going to experience various problems, and your video won’t look right on a computer or television.


If you shoot in vertical mode, you’ll need to rotate it during the editing phase. This will create black bars on the side, and this is known as pillar boxing. To avoid these problems, you should stay in horizontal mode at all times.


This ensures that your video is going to look great on all devices. Simultaneously, you’ll find that it is easier to maintain a grip on the device when holding it this way. While you’ll want to experiment and see what works best for you, most will prefer shooting in horizontal mode.


However, you should also know that there are more and more people watching videos on their phones. And you should remember that mobile users naturally hold their phones vertically. So what will help these users to watch mobile videos more easily? Shoot them vertically.


V2. Escape From Hell, a Hollywood movie, is going to be the first blockbuster made entirely in a vertical format. They are catching the trend, why aren’t you?


Even in the adult film industry, they are embracing this. There are 18+ videos created with an aspect ratio of 9:16, just for mobile users. Also they seem to be quite successful with such special porn videos.


Therefore, our advice to you? Do not hesitate to try new things.


Experiment With Lighting


Proper lighting can make a big difference for your movie. Experts recommend shooting in bright light. Nevertheless, you should shoot around noon if the contrast is too harsh. If you have to shoot in this situation, you’ll want to use an elevated angle. This will keep the sky out of the frame. Alternatively, you’ll want to think about shooting on a cloudy day. Smartphones have smaller camera sensors.


This means that they will not be able to capture drastic differences in light for one frame. Shooting inside is going to be even tougher. With a smartphone, you’ll run into problems when shooting low light and high light conditions. Using white sheets inside is an excellent way to control the lighting.


Either way, you should experiment and get the perfect lighting setup for each scene of your short film.


Be Careful With Zoom


When shooting on a smartphone, you’ll likely want to take advantage of its features. You may believe that zooming in on the subject is a good idea. This will probably create problems. Smartphones have video stabilization, but it is not perfect. When you’ve zoomed in, the stabilization will be less effective. So, you can guarantee that your video is going to be very shaky and blurry.


So, you should avoid using the digital zoom. If you must get closer to your subject, you should use your feet and move closer. Furthermore, it is essential to move slowly so you can avoid shaking the camera.


Get Everything You Need


Since you’re using a smartphone, your equipment will be very limited. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t film the entire video by hand. Instead, you’ll want to use film-making equipment to enhance your video and audio quality. For instance, you may want to buy a tripod and slider. This is a good way to eliminate shady videos. You’ll also want to enhance your audio quality with a better microphone.


When shooting on a smartphone, you’re going to have two problems. You’ll have limited hard drive space, and your battery will die quickly. You can avoid these issues by transferring the videos to your laptop. You’ll also want to buy a portable power bank. This will allow you to charge the battery when it is getting low. Other things to buy include additional lenses and a flashlight.


Consider your budget and find out what is going to work best for your film.




Eventually, you’ll need to go out there and shoot your film. This is one of the fun aspects of creating a film. However, it is going to be followed by the tedious process of editing the film. Nevertheless, proper editing can make a big difference for any film. You can begin piecing the videos together, adding transitions, and manipulating the videos with various effects.


You will be able to edit your videos on your smartphone or move them to your computer. Editing the video on your computer will give you more options. If you’re interested in creating a completely mobile video, it is best to use mobile apps for this purpose.


The editing process will be time-consuming and extensive. You may find that you’ll need to reshoot certain scenes. Either way, you’ll want to dedicate a lot of time and energy to the project to get the best results.


Find The Apps That Work For You


Some people may be under the impression that a single app will be needed to create a mobile film. However, this is a major misconception. While independent mobile filmmakers wish this were so, an app for different film-making processes is a requirement. Unfortunately, there is no single app that will provide you with all the tools needed to create a mobile film. On the upside, there is a long list of options to choose from. So, your possibilities are endless.


When it comes to mobile film apps, the filmmaker must know his/her skill level. This is so important because some apps are more suitable for professionals, while others not so much. If this is your first mobile film, you will need an app that supports your amateurish film-making skills. And, vice versa, if you have a lot of experience in the industry.


For a mobile film app to be useful, it must feature video effects, background music, texts, voice-over, fading, brightness, subtitles, and audio. If you can find an app with these features, you will be well on your way to creating a piece of art like no other.


Some apps you can use are listed below. You can visit their pages on the App Store by clicking on the link. You can also find most of them on Google Play Store.




Writing a script can be difficult, but editing it will be even tougher. This is why you’ll want to use Scriptation. This app makes it easy to revise your script in seconds. It is suitable for hobbyists and professionals. You’ll appreciate its numerous features since it can be used to read scripts, share notes, highlight certain lines, and mark up documents. If you’re having trouble with your script, using Scriptation is a great way to simplify this problem.


Artemis Pro


Artemis Pro isn’t free, but it’ll make a difference for your film. With this app, you’ll be able to add your camera sensor and select your lenses. You’ll be able to see your actual field of view too. This will be available on your phone’s scene. Simultaneously, you’ll be able to use Artemis Pro to record video, trim it, and add custom title cards. You can use it to add frame lines and change the appearance of your video. If you like using LUTs to adjust your videos’ color, you’ll want to use this app since it offers a similar feature.




Most filmmakers will edit their films on a computer. With LumaFusion, you won’t need to do that. You can use this professional video editing app to manipulate your video on your smartphone. This app offers six videos and audio tracks. You can experiment with dozens of transitions to add more energy to your video. You can also adjust the audio and play around with various effects. If you want to increase the speed or slow down your videos, you’ll be able to do that. LumaFusion works with 120 and 240 FPS video files as well as timelapse videos.


This app is a must for anyone who wants to edit on their smartphone.


FiLMiC Pro


There is no doubt that you’re going to face limitations when using a smartphone. That can be frustrating, but there are a few ways to enhance your phone’s versatility. One way to do that is by downloading the FiLMiC app. Using this app, you’ll be able to manually control your phone’s settings, including focus, exposure, and white balance. You can also take advantage of a variable speed zoom.


The app enables users to choose various frame rates, including 24, 24, 48, or 50 FPS. You can also use 30 or 60 FPS, which is best for US broadcasts. FiLMiC Pro can take your audio to a new level as well.


Adobe Premiere Rush


Most filmmakers use Adobe Premiere Pro to edit their films. The only problem is that this program isn’t available on smartphones. Instead, you’ll want to use the lite version, which is Adobe Premiere Rush. If you’re comfortable with Premiere Pro, you’ll have no problems taking advantage of Premiere Rush. Once you’ve downloaded this app to your phone, you’ll be able to shoot, edit, and share all of your videos on your smartphone. You won’t need to use your computer again.


Action Director 


This fantastic mobile film app is available for Android, making it compatible with Samsung Galaxy Chromebooks and other large-screened tablets. This will give you a much better platform to work on. The app features a variety of video-editing tools, quick filters, and support for slow-motion film-making.


DubScript Screenplay Writer


The DubScript app is ideal for writing screenplays. The app consists of the necessities to create impressive screenplays. It is compatible with Google Docs and Microsoft Word. It also supports cloud printers and outputs PDF file formats and HTML.


Choose The Right Cast


One of the most challenging and important tasks will be creating a cast lineup. You will need to hold an audition or two to find the perfect cast members. If you are lucky, you will already have a few names in mind. This will help put you a step ahead in the process. Otherwise, you will need to hold an audition to find actors and actresses with qualities that are suitable for your film.


A live film audition can take anywhere from one day to several weeks, depending on several factors. One of these factors is accessibility. If you have access to talented actors, you can count yourself lucky. However, you will not know this unless they go through the auditions. So, there is no way to get around an audition.



Some Top Festivals For Mobile Films

We don’t just want to talk about Alternate Film/Video Festival in this blog. We also want to give you a lot of useful, interesting information about the film industry as a whole. Part of it is introducing festivals about different film trends. Because sometimes learning about new things will also bring you new ideas.


When you begin researching film festivals, you will find that they come in various types and styles. Some festivals are dedicated to horror films, while others focus on documentaries. If you’re going to partake in a film festival, you need to find out what the festival is about and which one will work best for you. Simultaneously, you will find that some festivals are held for mobile films. Mobile devices are better than ever, so it isn’t crazy to shoot a film with a smartphone.


Below, you’re going to learn more about the film festivals that are dedicated to mobile films.


Note: You can find more information of most of these festivals on FilmFreeWay.


Super9 Mobile Film Fest



Next, you have the Super9 Mobile Film Fest. This festival was started in 2014, and it aims to reward projects that are shot on smartphones. Films cannot be longer than 15 minutes. Super9 accepts a wide variety of genres, including music videos, animals, experimental shorts, documentaries, and fiction movies. Whether you’re a mobile filmmaker or a fan, you’ll likely fit in well at Super9 since the offerings are diverse. This festival is from Portugal, and it has been held for several years.


The Super9 Film Festival covers various genres. For instance, participants can enter their film and win the Best Mobile Music Film award. Other awards include Best Mobile Fiction Film, Best Mobile Animation Film, Best Mobile Experimental Film, and Best Mobile Documentary Film. Whether you prefer fiction or nonfiction, there is a good chance this film festival will be interested in your film.


Each year, the festival offers roughly 15,000 Euros in prizes. If you have a mobile film, you should consider submitting it to the Super9 Mobile Film Fest.


iPhone Film Festival


Most filmmakers prefer using their Apple iPhone to shoot films since they deliver the best video quality. If you fit into this category, you’re going to love the iPhone Film Festival. This festival focuses mostly on films shot with Apple smartphones, but others won’t be ignored. For instance, you can use a Nokia or Samsung phone too. As long as the film has been shot mainly with a mobile device, it can be submitted to this festival. The film must be 70% mobile to make it eligible to win prizes. This event is based out of Beverly Hills.


This festival has been operating since 2010. It has accepted films from more than 134 counties and six continents. To date, it has received more than 25,000 films. Suffice to say, the iPhone Film Festival is one of the most respected mobile festivals globally. The festival considers itself a marathon of films. It presents many categories, including competitions from high schools as well as highly anticipated international films made on mobile devices.


Toronto Smartphone Film Festival


North America is home to a handful of mobile film festivals, and the Toronto Smartphone Film Festival is one of the most popular. It has grown very popular over the years, and that hasn’t slowed. This festival encourages professional and aspiring filmmakers to create films using a mobile device. The festival gives away various awards, including Best Canadian Film. Other categories include Best International Film, Audience Choice, and Best Emerging Film.


When submitting, it is crucial to choose an eligible category. This film festival has been running for nine years, so it has proven to be very popular among fans, critics, and filmmakers. It should also be noted that the festival accepts all genres. So, you can submit documentaries, horror films, and science fiction movies. Movies must be 10 minutes or less, and that includes credits. If your film contains any language other than English, you will need to add English subtitles.


All films must be created on a smartphone and not a DSLR, camcorder, or GoPro.


SmartFone Flick Fest (SF3)


Here is the winner of SF3 Best Screenplay. It is lilmed with an iPhone 7Plus.



Australia is known for producing some of the best films in the world. The SmartFone Flick Fest is one of the leading mobile film festivals in the world. This festival appreciates the fact that it is the only smartphone film festival in Australia that will accept anyone. It means that you can submit your project! This festival focuses mostly on mobile films, but it also takes VR and 360 films. Short films should be 20 minutes or less. This international smartphone film festival is suitable for filmmakers of all ages. It is a good choice for anyone using a smartphone or tablet to film their short movie.


The worldwide festival is open to all filmmakers so you can submit your film. Simultaneously, it has a section for children filmmakers. Today, the film festival has several ambassadors, including Phillip Noyce, Kerry Armstrong, Nicole da Silva, and others. If you want to get noticed for your smartphone film, this would be a good starting point. The festival also accepts Iso films as long as they’re 3 minutes or less. Screenings are usually held in Sydney, Australia, in Spring. However, the schedule may change from year to year, so you’ll want to check their website for more information.


Mobile Filmmaker’s International Fest



Mobile film festivals provide independent filmmakers opportunities to show off their work, meet fans, and score deals with production companies. Russia hosted its first Mobile Filmmaker’s International Fest in 2013. The festival was so successful that another was held the following year and every year since. Thousands of fans, along with mobile filmmakers and casts, were in attendance.

Three awards are handed out during the festival. These included the “Best Mobile Filmmaker – Movie”, “Best Mobile Filmmaker – Mojo & Blog”, and last but not least, the “Best Mobile Filmmaker – Promo”.


The idea behind the Mobile Filmmaker’s International Fest is to show the hidden talents behind mobile filmmaking. The films presented at the festival are created through hard work, dedication, and determination. Each film features qualities that are unique, interesting, and amazing.


The filmmaker, cast, and crew work together to create a piece of art that employs the works of mobile cinematography. From drama to comedy to horror, you will find at this mobile film festival. Everyone is invited to attend, and all mobile independent filmmakers are encouraged to participate in the festival.


Your works will be displayed to thousands of local and international fans. While this is not an Oscar- or Emmy-nominated event, it is portrayed by many as one of the best mobile film festivals of all time.

What Happens At A Film Festival?

Have you ever attended a film festival? If so, you likely think you know everything about the inner workings of such festivals. This is likely far from the truth. Film festivals are more comprehensive than most people will ever imagine. Being a member of the audience is one piece of the puzzle. As a presenter or director, you’ll have a lot of responsibilities. You’ll need to complete your tasks efficiently to ensure that everything goes well.


Below, you’re going to learn more about the common things that happen at Alternative Film/Video festival every year. These things also apply to most other film festivals as well.


Film Screenings – The primary purpose of a film festival is to give the audience a chance to watch a new film. Most of the films presented at festivals are independent films, but that will depend on the festival. If you’re a filmmaker, you’ll want to be ready to speak about your film once it concludes. As an audience member, you need to be respectful and polite during the film’s screening. Many festivals have three, four, or more screenings, especially the top ones like Sundance or Cannes. And it should be noted that the audience will need a ticket for each film. So, you likely won’t be able to do everything.


Here is a film screening at Alternative Film/Video Festival

Here is a film screening at Alternative Film/Video Festival

Here is a film screening at Alternative Film/Video Festival

Here is a film screening at Alternative Film/Video Festival

Here is a film screening at Alternative Film/Video Festival

Here is a film screening at Alternative Film/Video Festival
Here is a film screening at Alternative Film/Video Festival

Speeches – You can guarantee that you’re going to hear some speeches at a film festival. Part of the event is about watching movies. Another part is listening to the film’s creator and participants. When you watch a film, you may not understand what the director was trying to achieve. You may not understand what the message is. During the festival, the director will likely speak to the audience and explain the movie. The actors and actresses may do the same.


Q&A Session – During most film festivals, the event coordinators will plan a questions and answers session. The film’s director, writer, and actors will sit in front of the audience. The audience will ask questions, and the actors and writers will answer them. This portion of the film festival gives you the chance to learn more about the film and its participants. You can also learn more about the actors, their future work, and what they want to achieve with the role. Be respectful, but try to get involved in this session as much as possible.


Interviews – When you attend a film festival, you’re likely going to see interviews. If you’re a filmmaker or actor, you may be stopped by members of the media, bloggers, or podcasters. These individuals may want to interview you briefly. It is wise to take advantage of this opportunity. A quick interview with a blogger is an excellent way to spread the word about your new film. If you are interviewed, it is wise to send emails to everyone involved to thank them for giving your film attention.


Panel Discussion – Many believe that panel discussions are Q&A sessions are the same. It isn’t the case. They’re slightly different so that you may attend both during one film festival. During a panel discussion, the conversation will likely be handled by a moderator. It could be a television host or a local celebrity who will guide the panel and audience. The panelists will discuss their respective roles in front of the audience. This is a good opportunity for the audience to learn more about those involved and the project as a whole.


Peddling Your Project – During film festivals, filmmakers need to work diligently to sell their projects. You may want to hang out and have fun, but you shouldn’t. You’ll want to use this event to speak with buyers, producers, distributors, and investors. Speak with these individuals and tell them about your project. You’ll also want to consult with agents. If you stay busy during the film festival, you may end the night with a new agent and business deal. You could get the financing you need to turn your dream project into a reality.


Networking – As a film festival participant, it is essential to be ready to speak to others. You’ll want to communicate with others as much as possible. If you’re a filmmaker, you’ll want to use the event to connect with writers, investors, and actors. As an actor, you should chat with filmmakers and directors. You can develop relationships that could pay dividends in the future. Networking at film festivals is a good way to create valuable connections that can help you succeed.


At Alternative Film/Video festival, we have workshops where people can share, learn from, and connect with others
At Alternative Film/Video festival, we have workshops where people can share, learn from, and connect with others


Engage With The Audience – Most filmmakers and actors will be able to engage with fans during a film festival. When they’re not trying to find a distributor, they’ll want to develop a rapport with fans. If they’re able to do this, they’ll be able to transform casual fans into long-term supporters. That is a good way to create loyalty and convince fans to watch all of your movies. You can also listen to fans and get their feedback. Their insight may be able to help you develop better ideas.


Cast Introductions – Film festivals are beneficial for both cinema fans and up-and-coming actors. Many independent films star actors are not very well known. While this is not always the case, it is most of the time. With that said, an excellent independent film will leave viewers begging for more, which is where the film festival comes into play. During a film festival, the director or someone in the film crew will introduce the cast members.


Autograph Sessions There is nothing better than a film festival for hardcore fans. These events provide fans with plenty of opportunities to get the cast’s autograph. Depending on the size of the line, you may request a personalized message along with the star’s signature. The combination would be priceless to any fan.


Merchandise Sales Booths are generally set up at film festivals to peddle merchandise centered around the films. Here, you will find everything from classic t-shirts to posters to banners to stickers. This is a great opportunity to score some cool film memorabilia. If you like to collect this type of merchandise, you will find plenty to choose from. The items may contain images and/or autographs of the cast, famous lines, or theme.

How To Write A Cover Letter For Alternative Film/Video (And Other Film Festivals As Well)

As a filmmaker, you need to make sure that people are interested in watching your works. Ensuring that your film is shown as festivals can make a big difference. While you may have the greatest film known to man, it won’t matter if people don’t watch it. With that being said, you need to go above and beyond to make sure that film festivals are willing to screen your movies. This is why you need to craft the perfect film festival cover letter to get the organizer interested in your film. There is a myth that nobody reads cover letters, but this isn’t the case.


We read a lot of cover letters at Alternative Film/Video festival every year. We see common mistakes made by filmmakers. These easy to fix errors sometimes make a bad first impression on your films. So why not fix them? In our opinion, getting a better cover letter will not only benefit you but us as well. Below, you’re going to find tips for creating a fascinating cover letter that will encourage organizers to screen your movie without hesitation. We hope to see great cover letters being sent to Alternative Film/Video next year!


Understand The Purpose


First and foremost, you need to understand the purpose of the cover letter. You may think it is about presenting your film to the reader, but it is not. Instead, you should use the letter to market yourself. You need to use the letter to convince the reader that you’re someone who needs to be connected to the festival. Festival directors want to make sure that the audience can connect with the films and presenters.

So, they’re going to pay close attention to the films and filmmakers that they choose. So, you should use the letter to tell the director something about you. Let them know why they need you to be a part of their festival.


Always Be Honest


Most directors have experience working with independent filmmakers. They know what to expect from and how to handle these individuals. So, if you are not honest, the director will catch on pretty quickly. Being honest is the best policy, even if you are feeling a little desperate at this point. Of course, you do not want to show your desperation in your cover letter either because this would be a major turnoff for the direction.


Just be honest with yourself and the director. This will secure your film a position at the upcoming film festival.


Be Expressive


A significant mistake that many filmmakers make when writing a cover letter is not practicing expressive writing. What exactly is expressive writing? It is a type of writing that allows the author to express themselves about different topics. In this case, the cover letter will be utilized to show the director how you feel about your film.


Don’t Drag It Out


While you can guarantee that someone is going to read your letter, they’re not going to read it for hours on end. So, you can’t write an essay. You need to keep the cover letter concise and straight to the point. Write the letter as short as you can. Then, it would help if you let a friend read it and make it shorter.


You should be considerate and avoid overusing the director’s time. Get your point across as quickly as possible, and you’ll gain points with the director.


Keep It Personal


Again, you should use the film festival cover letter to tell the reader about you and your story. Furthermore, you’ll want to connect with the reader. You likely know something about the festival director, the festival, and its history. So, you’ll want to use this information to your advantage. When writing your letter, you should touch on these things.


Write about things that prove you’re interested and know a lot about the festival. Address the director using his or her name and tell them why you’re a good fit. Prove that you’re familiar with the festival, and it’ll show that you’re not haphazardly submitting cover letters to countless festivals.


Persuade the reader that your primary goal is to play the festival in question, and they’ll likely screen your film.


Write It Down


Once you’ve assembled everything you need, it is time to write it down. This will be your first draft, so it doesn’t need to be perfect. Address the director by their name and immediately show that you’re genuinely interested in the festival. Then, you should introduce yourself and your film. Try to connect your film to previous movies screened at the festival.


This will show the director that your film will likely be a hit with the audience. Finally, it is wise to thank the director for taking the time to read your letter before signing your name at the bottom. Keep it short, and be grateful that the director is reading your message.


What Not To Do


Ultimately, your cover letter will either make or break your chances. If you use the wrong techniques, you’re going to ruin your chances immediately. It is vital to avoid making critical mistakes along the way. Below, you’ll learn more about things you should avoid when writing a film festival cover letter.


Don’t Boast


While you should tell the director about prior experiences, you shouldn’t boast. Don’t say that your film is the best thing ever or that you’re better than everyone else. If you’re too arrogant, the director will know it and leave you out of the festival.


Don’t Ramble


Again, it is vital to keep your cover letter short and straight to the point. If you begin rambling, there is a good chance that the director will stop reading and move on. Don’t add anything considered unnecessary.


Don’t Be Random


Finally, you should be careful when submitting cover letters. You should be strategic and careful. If you submit to too many festivals, you’re going to be wasting your time. Find festivals that are a good match for you and your film. Ensure that the audience works for you and that your film falls into the festival’s genre of choice.


Do You Want To Use As An Ad?


While it is not always good to utilize a cover letter as an advertisement, some filmmakers like to step out of the norm. If this is something you are interested in, you will need to take precautions when writing your cover letter. It is crucial not to be blatant when going this route. Utilizing the right terminology while avoiding anything representing an advertisement is the only way to pull this off. Fortunately, it does not require special skills or experience. But, you need to show the director that you know the ends and outs, as well as all of the fine details of your film.