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How to Shoot Cinematic Footage From a Smartphone

Caroline Laurent
Caroline Laurent Originally published Jan 12, 23, updated Dec 05, 23

Creating cinematic videos is easy if you have expensive equipment like a film set with high-quality cameras. But many of us can’t afford this, so read this article to get an alternative.

You can use smartphones to record cinematic shots if you don't have expensive lenses. You’ll learn about filming and editing those shots into Wondershare Filmora to get professional results in the below lines.

But before we get into the filming process, having a general idea about the topic can help a lot. So first, let’s understand what cinematic videos are!

In this article
  1. What Is a Cinematic Video?
  2. Requirements to Record a Cinematic Video
  3. Top 3 Cinematic Movements to Record From a Smartphone
  4. Edit the Clips with Wondershare Filmora

Part 1. What Is a Cinematic Video?

The world of cinema has developed and has high recording quality. A cinematic video is a video that is recorded to look more like a movie. These shots excel in all aspects of a video, such as Color, aspect ratio, and lighting techniques.

Most of the cinematic footage required unique cameras, i.e., IMAX cameras for movies. But these cameras are really costly and only suitable for large-scale production.

With the understanding of cinematic videos, you can now use alternative ways to record a cinematic video without an expensive camera. You can also record a cinematic video using only a smartphone with a few requirements.

Scroll below to learn more about what you need to record a cinematic video!

Part 2. Requirements to Record a Cinematic Video

To record a professional video with cinematic effects, you must have the following equipment in your studio:

1. A Gimbal Stabilizer

When you are recording footage from your smartphone, a significant issue that can disturb your video quality is the shaking of your phone. You may have to record while walking, or it could even be a static shot.

If the phone is held in your hands without support, you will end up with shaky footage. This will eventually ruin your video.

A gimbal stabilizer allows you to stabilize your footage with a handheld stand. Many gimbal stabilizers are available in the market, but for reference, we would be looking at the Q3 Gimbal from Zhiyun.

zhiyun q3 gimbal stabilizer

You can also connect the Gimbal from its app. Scroll below to learn more about the app!

Zhiyun Cami App

Zhiyun Q3 stabilizer also connects with the Zhiyun cami app. This app will allow users to access the filming features more intuitively and comprehensively. You can connect your Gimbal with the app via Bluetooth.

zhiyun cami app

Zhiyun Stabilizer Shooting Modes

There are many modes on different Gimbals, but the Locking and the POV mode are the most useful, which are illustrated as shown below:

  • The Locking mode: This mode allows you to lock all three motors of the Gimbal and allows your phone to remain fixed at a certain angle. Due to this, you can shoot your footage from multiple positions while keeping the camera fixed at one angle.
  • The POV mode will allow you to unlock all the axes. This mode will also adjust in all three axes when moving around. This feature gives you more freedom of movement.
the different modes of zhiyun q3 stabilizer

Extra Features of Zhiyun Q3 Stabilizer

When you are shooting a video using the Gimbal stabilizer, you come across a point where you want extra light. Thus, the Q3 stabilizer comes with a built-in flashlight.

This flashlight will not only light up those small corners of a dark room but also make a huge difference. If you are recording to focus on an object, such as a product, this flashlight will greatly help you.

zhiyun q3 gimbal flashlight

You can also turn the flashlight towards yourself if you are recording a Vlog or taking a selfie. The light’s temperature is 4300K, giving a relatively warm light on the subject.

spectrum of light indicating 4300k

2. A Good Smartphone

Most smartphones these days are equipped with cameras with varying powers of recording. Some smartphone cameras focus on Mega Pixels, while others focus on the capture sensor. You need a smartphone camera that balances out all these qualities to record cinematic footage.

The recently released iPhone 14 pro camera is an excellent example of a good quality camera you can use to record cinematic videos.

smartphone attached to gimbal

3. Video Editing Software

There is no better software in the video editing field than the infamous Wondershare Filmora. It allows you to edit high-quality videos with creative features.

Wondershare Filmora allows access to the range of effects and filters you can apply to your videos to give them a more cinematic look. It also allows you to access the vast library of audio to utilize in your videos. Moreover, its engaging UI allows beginners to access to features of Wondershare Filmora easily.

wondershare filmora website

Now that we have learned about the requirements for recording a cinematic video. Let’s look at the different cinematic movements you can use to record from your Smartphone.

Part 3. Top 3 Cinematic Movements to Record From a Smartphone

You may have watched many movies or TV shows, but the general audience usually ignores the effort put into a shot. Only an experienced videographer can detect the difference between a great cinematic shot and a poor one.

Of the great cinematic shots, some are described in this article. These shots can easily record by using a smartphone. The cinematic movements explained below are the best choice. Here we will look at the three camera movements you can record on your smartphone.

  • The Reveal Movement.
  • The 180° Presentation Movement.
  • The Following Movement.

First, let’s take a look at the Reveal movement.

1. The Reveal Movement

This is the most popular movement used in cinematic shooting from your smartphone. With a Gimbal, the Reveal movement is one of the easiest shots to master. But for this, you will need to learn it first.

The Reveal Movement is a shot taken with an object as a perspective. The shot starts from a static object in the foreground. It could be focused at first, but as the camera moves, the focus will be diverted to reveal our target object. This is known as the Reveal Movement.

To shoot the reveal movement, follow the steps mentioned as shown:

  • First, ensure your phone is connected properly to the Gimbal.
  • Align your Smartphone camera behind the static object.
  • Guide the target individual to be ready as you move the camera to reveal them.
  • Slowly move the camera, focusing on the static object to change its focus on your main object.
the reveal movement
Note: Make sure to practice and experiment a lot with the steps. Try to be more creative and innovative. With every video you shoot, you gain experience with the errors.

Another thing to remember is that when you are shooting a Reveal movement using the Gimbal, it is best to put it in Locking mode. This mode works the best as it allows the camera to stay fixed in one frame making your footage seem balanced and of quality.

gimbal fixed in locking mode

2. The 180° Presentation Movement

The next movement we will be looking at will be the 180° presentation movement. The 180° presentation will move in a half-circle fashion. It will move from one side of the subject to the other side. This will allow you to cover the overall subject’s view.

Apart from that, it will allow you to capture the background with much clarity and detail to maintain a general sense of the ambiance. Making a 180° presentation shot is fairly easy to do so. With its multiple uses, you can use this method in any scenario.

As we will move from one side to the other in a circular manner, we need to fix the frame of our video to move along. Using the POV mode of the Zhiyun Gimbal stabilizer will be the best option in this sense.

gimbal fixed in pov mode

Setting the Gimbal in POV mode will allow you to shoot the video from more than one angle while keeping the video balanced. Follow the steps mentioned to shoot a 180° presentation video:

  • First, start recording from one side of the subject while keeping the Gimbal in the POV mode.
  • Slowly start moving in front of the subject in an arch.
  • When you face the subject, do not stop and keep moving to complete the arch.
  • When you reach the end of the arch, close the video.
the 180° presentation movement

By following the steps mentioned, you can create the 180° presentation movement using a smartphone. Now, move forward to learn about “The Following movement.”

3. The Following Movement

You can use “The following movement” when recording a scene in which the object moves in random directions. Or when there is a high degree of movement of your object in the video, and you want to fix the focus of your footage to that object.

The Following movement is not technically a movement, but a setting that will allow you to record the footage while keeping the object and the video frame focused. In this type of footage, we will use the Zhiyun Cami app to focus on our target object.

drawing a square to focus the subject

To focus on our subject in the video by Cami app, follow the steps mentioned below:

  • When recording the video, make sure to put the Gimbal on a tripod stand.
  • After that, open the Cami app and draw a square over the object you want to keep in focus.
  • Now, the camera will shift its angle to its perspective wherever the object goes.
the following movement

This is how you will create the following movement.

Part 4. Edit the Clips with Wondershare Filmora

Now that we have recorded our footage, it is time to arrange it and apply the finishing touches. We are going to use Wondershare Filmora for editing the recorded footage.

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Follow the steps mentioned below to edit on Wondershare Filmora!

Step1 Download Wondershare Filmora

To download Wondershare Filmora, follow the steps outlined below:

  • First, download the Wondershare Filmora.
  • When the download is finished, click on the setup.
  • The Wondershare Filmora installer will begin to load.
  • Then you will have installed Wondershare Filmora on your PC or Mac.

If you want to purchase the premium plan's features, check out the Wondershare Filmora Premium plans.

Step2 Add clips to the timeline

After downloading the Wondershare Filmora app, we must create a workplace. To do so, follow the steps mentioned:

  • First of all, click on the import icon in the upper left corner of the home interface of Wondershare Filmora. This will open up your PC library.
  • Then Import your footage in the import window.
  • Click and drag to drop the footage in the Timeline.
importing clips to the timeline
Step3 Trim the Video Clips

After you have added the clips to the timeline, you may have some extra footage you don’t want. Go through the clips you added and trim them according to your wish.

Step4 Add The Effects

After you have trimmed the clips now, you will have to add the finishing touches. To perform this, follow the below instructions:

  • Go to the effects icon on the upper bar above the import window.
  • Here, you can see the range of effects Wondershare Filmora Provides. Select the one you want for your video.
  • You can also search for effects from the search bar.
  • Once you have found the effect you want, download it if not been downloaded before.
  • Click and drag it to drop below your clips to add the effect.
  • Double-click on the effect that you added to adjust its settings.
  • Here, you can adjust the opacity to your liking.
adding effects

Now that we have added the Effects, it is time to add the Overlays!

Step5 Add Overlays

You can also add overlays on your videos to make them pop up even more. You can add Overlays by the following steps:

  • In the effects icon on the bar above the import window, you can see the multiple effects of Wondershare Filmora.
  • In the left column, you can also see the Filters and Overlays.
  • Go to the Overlay
  • Select the Overlay that you want.
  • Then click and drag it above your video.
  • You can also add a border to your video by searching “Border” in the search bar and dragging it below your clips.
adding overlays
Step6 Add Some Music

To finish off your editing, you can also add audio music from the Wondershare Filmora Audio library:

  • Before adding the audio music, make sure to lower the volume of your video clips.
  • You can do so by dragging below the audio tab on your video clips in the timeline.
  • Go to the Audio icon on the bar above the import window.
  • Here, you can see the multiple audio available.
  • Browse through the library till you find suitable audio.
  • Download it and drag it below on the timeline.
adding audio to the clips

Now play the Video from the beginning to see the final looks.

final results of cinematic shots

Congratulations! You have now successfully created a cinematic video using Wondershare Filmora.


Using expensive equipment to record a cinematic video can be a reliable step. But it is not in everyone’s budget. You can also use a smartphone to record a cinematic video by the steps mentioned above and give it a professional look by editing on Wondershare Filmora.

Although it might seem strange initially, but the time is close when everyone will create cinematic videos from their smartphones.

Caroline Laurent
Caroline Laurent Dec 05, 23
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