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Shooting with a Cameraphone by Taryn Ocko

Taryn Ocko, who co-directed OUTSIDE THE GRIDIRON, answers questions about using a smartphone to shoot a video.

1. How long have you been using a mobile device to make videos?

My co-director Dan Vaughan and I have both used our iPhones to take video before, but this was the first time Dan and I ever used our phones to create a video like this.

2. What made you interested in using this kind of camera?

The iPhone 4S has a great built-in camera, and we were excited to see how it would work for a high-quality video. During the fall semester, Dan and I were both taking a Filmmaking course in our graduate program, and our professor encouraged the class to make trailers using our smartphone cameras and see how they turned out.

3. Are there any benefits in shooting a video using a smartphone/tablet as opposed to using a traditional camera?

It’s a lot easier to set up a shoot when using a smartphone. A smartphone is tiny, and light, so transporting it to locations was very easy. We also didn’t have to worry about setting up a lot of equipment like a tripod or lighting kit, as we chose to capture natural lighting. The smartphone also makes it a lot easier to watch back the footage you have just shot, and to send footage back and forth to the other people you are working with. All of the videos save as files on the smartphone, which we then put onto a hard drive and had no trouble importing them into our editing software.

4. Is there any advice you would give to a novice about getting the best results using a mobile device for video?

Treat it like a professional camera on a professional shoot. Just because you are using a phone, doesn’t mean the quality should be lower, or your attention to detail should be less.

5. How did you learn about the “Lights! Cameraphone! Action!” contest?

Our graduate program had advertised it as an opportunity for students.

6. Is there’s anything else you want to say that readers might find interesting or helpful?

It’s amazing what tiny mobile devices can do, and what they can produce. I encourage you to explore as much as possible!

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