May 30, 2015

use any camera blog This week we’re seeing what it takes to turn any camera into a filmmaking machine.   We’ve all heard it.  Just use the camera you have in your pocket. Technology is good enough that any camera you can find will be good enough to captivate an audience. So in an effort to rejuvenate this ever-repeated message, I thought I’d see what I can do with a smart phone.



al5280Aputure HR 672S al5280 Aputure HR 672S
fast flagsWestcott Fast Flags 24×36 fast flagsWestcott Fast Flags 24×36
c-standKupo C-Stand Kit cstandKupo C-Stand
lightstand3x Lightweight Light Stand lightstand3x Lightweight Light Stand
swivelManfrotto Swivel Head swivelManfrotto Swivel Head
reflector5-in-1 Reflector (43″)  reflector5-in-1 Reflector (43″)
zoomZoom H5  zoomZoom H5
ntgRode NTG-2 ntgRode NTG-2
boombuddyBoom-Pole Holder  boombuddyBoom-Pole Holder


The two pictures below somewhat explain how I got the ‘tripod’ shots in this video… Spoiler alert, it was a no tripod – a flimsy light stand instead. Whatever works. 1 The phone is charging, and sitting in my Dad’s GPS cradle. This is then wedged inside a Kupo Conviclamp, and then on a Swivel Head on a light stand. Would totally invest in a cheap tripod adapter if doing phone filming on a regular basis, but this is fun if finicky. 2
My editing timeline was fairly tame this week – hardly any titles, almost entirely in-camera. You can see a couple of green sound effects I added, along with the many layers for the colour grading before and afters. Click to enlarge! timeline


I clearly remember watching this before I had learned about lighting, as was just obsessed with cameras and lenses. Noticing firstly the decent image they got out of a phone, but also the control they had over the light – letting the background fall into darkness which works well for their scene. And yet I still was reluctant to invest in something other than lenses. Now watching it I’m appreciating Josh’s performance, and the editing / music in the sketch. If you’re interested in how I graded the images from the phone, I have to say it was suprisingly similar to grading DSLR footage. So this video covers how I usually do it:


A photo posted by Simon Cade (@cadevisuals) on

Simon Cade

Filmmaker, and host of DSLRguide. Since I was making my first film age 11, I have always been fascinated by the way films are produced, and the effect it can have on the audience.

  • Simon, though I watch and have been subscribed to your channel for some time, I really appreciate this segment in particular on 2 levels:

    1.) You didn’t do this on the iPhone. Because of this you had a lot more quality/resolution and a wide 1.8 apeture to work with. Effectively displaying what current technology is capable of, and possibly turning a few die hard DLSR heads. I have nothing against the iPhone but I think there are higher quality devices such as the LG G4 that get a bit overshadowed by the iPhone. I think your video demonstrates the level of quality to be had. Is it a Red Weapon? Of course not. Is it usable as a storytelling mechanism? Absolutely more than just passable.

    2.) More to your point, you featured what highly experienced photographers and cinematographers know is key to a beautiful image. Which has mostly to do with what’s outside the camera. As camera tech advances, the core principles of photography and film remain the same. Lighting is always going to be core to all visual artforms.

    If you’d like, there’s an Android camera app that is equivalent or possibly better than Filmic Pro. It’s called Cinema-FV5 and it gives you a ton of pro-level manual controls, even manual focus and all the locks you need. Check it out on the Play store.

    • thank you for taking the time to write this kind and encouraging comment! I’m glad you understood exactly what I was trying to say with the video. I’ll definitely give that app a try :) thanks Matt!

      • Cheers Simon.

        And to cement your point further I invite everyone to check out this:

        Though the dynamic range/gradation is not as good as say a Canon C500 or Red Dragon, core principles are clearly utilized in a way that brings out the best in what is possible with that tiny camera in your pocket and how it can be applied cinematically.

  • Hirumani Nath

    Hi Simon, thank you from India, for all the tutorials. The product links from your website can’t be brought from other countries other than US and UK. If possible please put links so that people can buy form other countries.
    In one of yuour videos, you spoke about a battery backup which was used to power up the camera for 7-8 hours instead of the default under 1 hour backup of canon cameras. And buying 2-3 backup canon batteries is too costly. Can you suggest a budget power backup system for Canon 80D for longer video shooting ?