iPhone video is good enough to stand up against many pro video cameras, but don’t rely on the native camera app to get the best results. Try these great alternatives to give your footage extra gloss.
First stop for many iPhone videographers is the much loved Filmic Pro app, and with good reason. Filmic allows filmmakers to shoot in a range of aspects, resolutions, frame and bit rates; it allows you to set and lock exposure, focus and white balance; it also has presets for iPhone lenses and gives you the option to lock settings in as presets for future shoots.
All in all Filmic has maximised options for iPhone video filmmakers – see Tangerine (shot on an iPhone 5s using FilmicPro) for evidence – but there are a growing number of alternatives that deserve your attention.
This highly recommended video app from Deepak Sharma costs roughly half what you’d pay for Filmic Pro. MoviePro gives you great audio features, including an on-screen audio meter and the ability to adjust mic volume while shooting. Take photographic stills while capturing video and shoot up to 3K resolution on the iPhone 5s and 6 (4K on the 6s) at more than 180Mbps bit rate (huuuuge video files!) Video journalists swear by its consistency and it is a powerful piece of software that gives you full manual control over the way video looks.
Another video shooter’s favourite. Kinomatic offers full manual control up to 4K resolution and neat touches such as image stabilisation, audio and video editing controls and an option to add titles to your video. The app automatically generates a rough cut of all the clips filmed in a session so you can review it straight away. Presets for broadcast in Europe and the US are built in, plus the ability to create your own.
Presented at the mobile journalism conference (Mojocon) in Dublin this April, Mavis has incredible visual control found in no other app. This is a professional filmmaker’s dream iPhone video camera because it packs in waveform (exposure) and vectorscope (colour) controls that are usually found in cameras costing several thousands. Filmmakers can choose bitrates up to 100Mbps for high quality video. Be aware though that not all of Mavis’ features are available on iPhone 5s and you need later models to get them all. Mavis is a power-packed video app showing the way for people serious about shooting on their mobile.
Get this two-for-one app (screenshot right) for powerful manual photography and flexible pro video recording. ProCamera shoots high frame rates up to 240fps (iPhone 6 models) and 4K resolution. For stills it has special low light and high dynamic range capabilities as well as more than 70 creative filters for your snaps.
Filmakr is another great way to inject some flexibility into your filmmaking. Neither this nor ProCamera offer the audio monitoring capabilities of the other video recording apps here but they do have other pro-level features that make them worth investigating. Filmakr has great manual controls and video presets, plus it can automatically stitch clips together and save them to the cloud as you shoot. It also offers video filters and allows you to add text and titles to your film.
High Dynamic Range video uses the same principle as HDR photography, combining multiple images to get the best possible exposure. It results in more detailed shadows and highlights, and a richer overall image.
HDR video was restricted to high end cameras but now there are a handful of apps to give your video greater vibrancy and rich colour. Hydra has HDR photography and video functionality, HDR Video does exactly what it says and Thalia’s Live HD/R (example video below) is a third option. All three apps produce HDR video only on iPhone 6 models and the Live HD/R will only give you 1080p video on the iPhone 6s – this is because of the improved sensor and more powerful processor in the sixes. Features like this may well become standard in mobile video but these apps give your footage a real edge.
If you prefer to add video effects in post-production – and why not keep your original clips pristine – then LumaFX is the perfect pairing for any video. Tweak colour and colour effects, video speed and motion, crop your video and much more. Go psychedelic with video distortion or simply trim video for posting to Instagram. See the tutorial below for a taster of what you can achieve with the powerful LumaFX app.