Who in their right mind would make a movie with a smartphone? Well, it seems, a lot of talented filmmakers, for starters. While the iPhone is naturally a go-to device for filmmakers looking for a new way to capture the shots that will tell their story, the Nokia Lumia series of phones – particularly the high-end devices – are being used more and more to record amazing films.
The following movies have been recorded on Nokia Lumia 920 and 1020 Windows Phone devices, equipped with optical image stabilisation software and Carl Zeiss optics.
Why Use A Smartphone When A Camera Will Do?
I’ve been considering making a movie with my Nokia Lumia 920 for some months now (even expanding a treatment into a short script). Why don’t I use a pro-quality traditional digital video camera, or at least a DSLR?
Well, it’s probably for the most obvious reason – those devices are often bulky and heavier than a smartphone, which is so compact and slim that shots that you wouldn’t be able to capture on a digital video camera can be achieved.
Now, I’m not suggesting that smartphone cameras – even those as high quality as the Nokia Lumia 920 and 1020 – should replace genuine digital video cameras (or even, if you’re old school, film cameras). However, it should be clear to most that they have their place in the arsenal of the modern filmmaker to blow the audience away.
And if it’s not clear to you now, viewing these five videos should change your mind…
Tom & Issy
Directed by Roger Michell and starring Ellie Goulding (best known as a singer-songwriter, but also an actress), the following love story was recorded on the Lumia 1020, with audio recorded on an external mic. To complete, the video was edited with Final Cut Pro.
Probably the most amazing thing about this short film – apart from the fact that it was recorded using a mobile phone – is that at no point do you recognise that it was filmed on such a device. This is partly due to the quality of the camera, but also the way in which it is shot; you’ll notice that scenes are well-lit and virtually every shot is perfectly framed.
Cinemastyle Episode 1
Directed by Christopher Westerholm and filmed at a Swedish nature reserve, this was produced as an example of what the Nokia Lumia 920 can do, and promoted by the phone manufacturer on their website.
Using the 1080p setting with the sound recorded by a separate device, the film was edited and polished using Magic Bullet Colorista and Adobe Premier Pro. As with any other camera, Westerholm used a matte block to manage strong sunlight with ND filters and a polarizer to increase the impact of the blue sky.
The results are – as you can see – stunning!
Red Bull Free Running World Champion Ryan Doyle
Produced for the official Nokia channel on YouTube, this is an outstanding video that features Nokia Lumia 920 devices strapped to a remote controlled Cinestar Octocopter drone and the chests of freerunning World Champion Ryan Doyle and his companion Will Sutton.
Twelve 920s were used in total, some handheld, some set up as headcams, all set to record in 1080p HD.
Action capture is enhanced by the OIS enhancing an entertaining and cleverly-edited short film.
“Red Earth Hip Hop” By Jason Van Genderen
Another from the Nokia channel, this film won the Nokia x SundanceLDN Short Film Competition and was shot on a Nokia Lumia 920 by Jason Van Genderen.
The video is floridly described:
“Red Earth Hip Hop’ is an inspiring, visceral documentary that examines the underground pulse that’s travelled all the way from the Bronx to the red heart of the Australian outback, empowering a new generation of Aboriginal Australian youth with both story and voice.”
More of a documentary approach, the results remain astonishing, benefitted of course by the colourful subjects.
NokiaxBurton US Open 2013
Finally, if you’re a fan of winter sports this snowboarding video was produced using a Nokia Lumia 920 and filmed, edited, written and produced by Jack Tompkins.
Enhanced with magnetic wide-angle, fisheye and macro lenses (like these by Photojojo), Tompkins here fulfills the brief to “Find the heart beyond the big air and the steep slopes” for Nokia and Burton Snowboards. The result is an action-packed fusion of boards, snow, and the slopes of the 2013 Burton US Open in Vail, Colorado, completed with a moody soundtrack, featuring narration by Will Tucker.
Own A Nokia Lumia 920 or 1020? Get Shooting!
The five films above span various methods of filmmaking, and were all produced using a Nokia Lumia 920 or 1020. Both of these phones feature Optical Image Stabilisation and Carl Zeiss lenses, with 1080p HD video recording.
While desktop apps have been employed to edit and balance the videos, this is standard procedure – if these films had been recorded using a DSLR or even professional standard digital video cameras, the same image processing would have been required.
Do you have a Nokia Lumia 920 or 1020? Have these videos inspired you to get creative? Let us know what you think!