Onboard apps are great for what they do, however, the industry gold standard is Filmic. This app only costs $15 for the iPhone, which isn’t bad, but it is pretty intensive. I lined up a young woman that didn’t live far from me, but knowing she had zero set experience, I was concerned it might be a bit too much. I opted for the ProMovie Recorder which is free if you don’t mind their small logo in the corner of your video. For only $2.99 you can kiss that watermark goodbye. *Note: Both apps are available on Android*
While there’s an argument that if you are going low-budget and shooting on your iPhone/Android phone is $15 really too much for you, I can totally get behind you’re balling on a budget because I sure am. PMR proved to be excellent and had a lot of what I wanted for my newbie videographer.
PMR allows you to shoot in 4k on the new iPhones, works with external microphones, headphones, and lights, has a sound meter, complete control over your camera controls (shutter, ISO, WB, etc), your frame rate up to 60 FPS, and more. Are you a newbie? This app is free to download and learn, incredibly cheap to remove the watermark (the only unpaid limitation), and offers a pretty extensive host of features.
I’ll admit, I tried multiple apps, but in the end I went with the onboard Voice Memos app for several reasons, primarily it’s on every iPhone. (I’m sure Android has something similar, I’m just not really sure what it is.) More on that in the Equipment portion. For what I wanted, I quickly realized I was either going to invest in hardware or a higher quality app for more money than I wanted to spend when I had other options to investigate.
Additional Dialogue Recording (ADR) is an industry standard practice. Sometimes the dialogue you hear is actually from another take than what you are viewing. Boom microphones move around, camera angles are spliced together, you name it. Sound can make or break your video and I knew that with where my phone would be recording, I might not get the best sound quality. I just didn’t have time to truly test other apps to their fullest potential, especially due to the price barrier. While it’s fine for me to purchase an app, I didn’t want to have to require that for anyone else.
I don’t own a slate, but working in the industry, I find it impossible to film without one. There’s a lot of reasons to slate your takes, and when you are shooting in a compressed amount of time, this becomes absolutely necessary. Everyone in my video came from my local congregation and have zero experience in film and television, and I’m sure they think I’m nuts for slating and going through “sound rolling” and “video rolling”, but that’s OK. I was going to need this for editing and I am a stickler for doing things right. There’s a handful of apps out there that are free. I opted for DigiSlate (sad face, ‘droids, I don’t think they have an app for you). This is free and pretty basic. You can customize sounds, it has an option for soft sticks, and it has full assortment of information (Title, DP, Scenes, slate #, Roll #, time of day, you name it). Swiping sideways gives you the snap and swiping up will increase your take number. Zero learning curve, all the benefits of a physical slate, and free if you don’t mind the occasional unobtrusive ad
I could have done this in iMovie, which I’ve used before. However, I pay for the Adobe Creative Cloud so why would I not use Premiere Pro? I did dabble with newly debuted Rush CC, but quickly learned this was not for editing a full video. Ditto for Spark Video. These apps are great for other forms of video, but if you are attempting to make some sort of a longer piece, this is 100% not the apps you want to use.
This is a multi-part series on the making of my video, “The Chorister“. I am getting nothing from the apps mentioned in this blog post.