After reading an Apple Insider article about Steven Soderbergh filming his latest film, Unsane, with an iPhone, the desire was planted in me to learn how to film a music video with an iPhone. Soderbergh, known for his Best Film Director Academy Award for Traffic, Erin Brockovich, the Oceans trilogy and other groundbreaking films thrives on unconventional filming methods. Like Soderbergh, I am an early adopter of technology but unlike Soderbergh, I had never filmed a scene outside of birthday parties and family vacations. My video experience drastically changed in the last couple months as I ventured into directing two music videos using my iPhone 8.
All great music videos begin with an incredible song, and I knew I had the perfect song for my experiment. Holly Starr’s “Umbrella” knocked me out from my first listen of her original songwriting demo. “Umbrella” was birthed from one of Starr’s first writing sessions with artist/producer/writer, Matthew Parker. Starr & Parker’s writing/recording relationship has sense blossomed into a string of beautiful fresh pop songs found on Starr’s latest album titled HUMAN.
The second thing most great music videos possess is a compelling story. The story hit me immediately but capturing the story would take some creativity. I wanted the story to represent two people falling in love for life beginning at childhood and moving through their senior years as a married couple. The element that would give my story uniqueness would be an umbrella serving as the central character of the story knitting the three stages of life together. My wife and I purchased a Totes® umbrella with loads of character a few years back at the Marks and Spencer store on the Oxford University campus in the UK. That umbrella, without a doubt, was the perfect umbrella for the starring role.
As I began crafting the story board for “Umbrella,” I simultaneously ran across the SMOVE MOBILE gimbal which served as a great tool for capturing the story. Amazingly, the $159 SMOVE MOBILE purchase gave me the ability to capture “jib type” shots I never dreamed possible with an iPhone. For $25, I then purchased a monopod stick from Walmart and a small Joby GorillaPod ™ from Best Buy for $25 to round out my video director tool box. Google searches for filming with an iPhone led me to FilmicPro , an app most iPhone video enthusiasts recommend. Excluding the iPhone 8 which I already own, my new video filming kit cost a total of $225. Not a bad price to set up as a music video director!