Make Great Movies On Your Mobile

10/16/2012 7:22:55 PM

You don’t have to be rich to make a cinematic showpiece – you just need an Android phone.

At a glance

Skill: Straightforward.

Time needed: 30 mins.

Suitable for: Android smartphones.

Everyone and their aunt seems to be making movies at the moment, and it’s possible your aunt knows how to do a better job than you. But fear not, creating a great movie is easy you don’t even need access to expensive video equipment.

Description: Description: Make Great Movies On Your Mobile

Using a combination of Android phone – many of which sport hi - def video capabilities and your PC, you can make great movies without spending a penny, and you don’t need to be gifted in the directing department either.

Software options

In an ideal world, you’d be able to shoot, edit and upload your movies in one fell swoop but until an iMovie clone is ported to the platform, Google Play doesn’t have any great apps available to do this yet. Thankfully, you can use your PC with the movie editing software available, such as Pinnacle Video Spin (which is what we use here). Windows Live Movie Maker or even the YouTube Video Editor

Follow this guide and you’re guaranteed to get better results the next time you want to create a movie. Your aunt (or even Spielberg) had better look out.

Create your movie masterpiece

1.    Go high definition

Description: Description: Go high definition

To get the best image quality from your Android camera, always choose the highest number of pixels you can in the case of the newer Android phones: 720p or 1080p Full HD recording is available. If you want to create something smaller and easier to upload to the internet, go into the “Settings” menu and adjust the resolution to a lower quality.

2.    Prepare the scene

Description: Description: Prepare the scene

This is where the movie starts. What are you planning to shoot? Prepare your camera for the scene by adjusting the settings. Tweak to suit your ambient surroundings – whether day or night by tapping “Exposure” and “Image properties” and adjusting the sliders until the scene looks natural. If you’re trying to be arty, change to greyscale.

3.    Set up your movie

Description: Description: Set up your movie

If you’re planning to shoot a particular scene for a length of time, don’t just carry the camera in your hand – the shake resulting from your tight grip will make the movie look terrible and unprofessional. Either find a suitably flat surface to rest the camera on or, ideally, get an inexpensive tripod to mount it one. Your viewers will thank you.

4.    Positioning the shots

Description: Description: Positioning the shots

When you’re ready to shoot the movie, don’t be tempted to place your phone in a convenient position and leave it there for the duration – capture the moment from a multitude of angles for the best effect. You’ll appreciate it when you’re splicing your movie together in the editing room afterwards, as it will look much more professional.

5.    Splice and Dice

Description: Description: Splice and dice

Now that you have all your movie scenes saved to your Android smartphone, you can begin the all - important editing process. The easy-to-use Vid Trim app available direct from the Market on your phone – enables you to quickly trim your scenes to suit the final cut. Just grab and move the slider either side of the scene to focus in on a particular part that you’d like to capture and keep. Now, you just have to save the new scene, and then it’s time to bring your movie together.

6.    Download your clips

Description: Description: Download your clips

This part is really easy simply connect your Android smartphone to your computer using a USB cable, and then copy your movies over to your hard drive. If nothing appears to be happening automatically, you need to drag the notifications bar on the home screen of your phone down and tap on “Turn on USB storage”. Once done, this will enable you to access your phone from the computer, just like a normal storage device, and then copy over your files to where you want them.

7.    Import them instead

Description: Description: Import them instead

An easier way is too add video clips directly to VideoSpin, which you can get from It’s free, so just sign up and download it. Under the “Edit” tab, click the down facing arrow and select the files from your phone. A preview screen shows you which clip you’ve selected. Select your chosen clips and click “Import”.

8.    Create a timeline

Description: Description: Create a timeline

Now start editing – drag and drop clips to the timeline below. If you want to adjust their length or change where they start and finish, use the slider. To fade in and out of movies, click on “Transitions” and drag and drop a transition to where you want it. You can add a custom title by right clicking the Title track and selecting “Title editor”.

9.    Make it sound good

Description: Description: Make it sound good

No movie would be complete without some music to give it atmosphere, so you can add your own music tracks, too. Click on the musical icon, browse to where your music is locates, and double click the track you want to add. As with video clips, you can make a track shorter by grabbing the slider and dragging it.

10.  Create your movie

Description: Description: Create your movie

Once you’re happy with the way your movie looks, you can go ahead and create the video file. Click the “Make movie” tab and choose the file type and compression that best suits you, then click “Create file”. Alternatively, click on the web option and upload it to YouTube if you want to share your work with the world.

Description: Description: Forget fancy cameras – you just need a phone for making great movies

Forget fancy cameras – you just need a phone for making great movies.

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Get a professional look for less

While it doesn’t take much to make a great-looking movie on your phone, with a little help you can make your movie really stand out from the usual YouTube clips. The most obvious improvement you can make is to the quality of the sound. You can either connect a decent microphone using a 3.5 mm adapter, or if you don’t have access to a standalone mic, try a mini microphone such as the i-Microphone from, which neatly plugs into the headphone jack. Sure, this won’t give you professional quality sound, but it’ll be a definite improvement over the standard mic.

The next must-have accessory has to be a tripod for perfectly smooth movies, but how on earth do you mount an Android phone? There are plenty of inexpensive smartphone holders available on Amazon, which enable you to mount your phone on to a standard tripod. If you want something a little more compact, it can be combined with a Joby Gorilla Pod, which can be adjusted to fit any number of indoor or outdoor environments.

Description: Description: The Mobislyder lets you take dramatic panning shots with your phone

The Mobislyder lets you take dramatic panning shots with your phone

For the ultimate in professional looks, check out the Mobislyder. It might look like a skateboard, but the Mobislyder enables you to take smooth panning shots, the type you’d normally see in dramatic movie scenes. It can be used flat or vertically, propped against a wall. At $150 it’s not cheap, but it’s a great way of adding a little dynamism and it’ll make those home movies really memorable.

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