With cameras on mobile devices becoming better quality than ever and are ideal for using in the classroom, I am often being asked for a list of great smartphone and tablet apps for making film making, so here is my pick.
This is a very simple to use video editing app for use on your mobile device or tablet. This app allows the operator to record a piece to camera and cut in footage and photos to illustrate the narrative, add an intro and outro, even add watermarks and banners.
For creating very quick and professional looking short videos on the fly, this is a great app and one that is often used by student journalists, so is perfect for creating a short documentary/news video or multimedia assignment. The length you can record is limited, so planning out the video beforehand will be great practice for students.
PowerDirector by Cyberlink is a video editing app for Android. It uses a timeline editor giving full control over your video and sound track, great for slightly more advanced users. You can split and trim your clips, add a voice-over, music, titles and effects, create a photo montage and save or share to YouTube and social media. Full HD is only available via in-app purchase.
The PowerDirector app syncs with the desktop version (available for purchase separately), allowing students to begin their edits on their device, and then transfer to PC for more functionality, including Title Designer and multicamera editing.
This award-winning app is a feature packed video editor for iPhone and iPad. Video editing is easy, students can quickly assemble their footage using the storyboard, or for more precision editing switch to the timeline view.
It’s possible to add and edit a voice-over, add music and other audio using three separate audio tracks, and easily control sound levels. The app allows students to create motion titles and add effects, as well as add photos to create a photo montage slideshow.
Pinnacle have a long history of making professional video editing software, so they know what functions are important to video editors and have packed a lot of features into this app, but for this reason this does make it more expensive than many other smartphone video editors, and is for advanced users.
This is another award-winning app and one of my favourite apps for videomaking on a smart phone. It gives full control over different lighting conditions and allows you to select which area of your scene to focus on, even giving you the option to ‘rack’ or ‘pull’ focus to change the focus between foreground and background subjects. It’s easy to control the colour of the video, handy for when filming under artificial lights with a colour cast, and the app allows you to make colour and exposure changes after capture. It also offers a variable speed zoom, timelapse and slow mo facility.
The full manual control options give the user full control over their phone’s camera, using it like you would a professional video camera.
It can export video to social media (ideal for sharing your students’ videos, or even yours, with parents), as well as via Dropbox, Google Drive and much more. It even has the option of creating square video for Instagram.
This is a great teleprompter app for use while filming with an iPhone or iPad. A teleprompter (or autocue) allows you to import a script from a document and view it on the screen while you are filming the video. You can control how fast or slow it scrolls, and pause or restart it if necessary.
This app is not your average teleprompter app. A common difficulty when using a teleprompter is reading the script and maintaining eye contact with the camera at the same time, which is why professionals often use a mirror teleprompter array to project their script in front of the camera lens.
This awesome app takes away this problem by allowing students to film while reading their scripts. I have used Joe Allen’s Teleprompter apps for years and have found them to be very easy to use, with all the features you would expect of a teleprompter app, including the ability to edit scripts on the fly.
Unfortunately this app is currently only available on IOS.
JoeAllenPro also makes the Teleprompter Premium and Teleprompter Lite, which are dedicated teleprompter apps without the video recording option. Teleprompter Premium allows use of a professional mirror rig to project the script in front of the camera lens.
FREE AND PAID APPS AVAILABLE
This app allows students to plan their videos visually, shot by shot. They can add photos from their device’s photo library or take photos with the camera, add silhouettes to represent people, add text notes to shots, even zoom in on parts of the image and specify how long to stay on the shot for. The storyboard can then be exported as a PDF or QuickTime movie.
Storyboards are useful planning tools, very helpful for clarifying video structure and communicate this to others in the group, and this app is especially handy for those who do not wish to hand draw a storyboard, but find a storyboard a useful tool.
Lotti Kershaw is a former integration aide/education support officer who has a background in broadcast television and runs her own video production company. She started Rock Paper Video to teach filmmaking and animation skills to children, so they can tell their own stories and make their own movies. She is passionate about bringing video, special effects and animation into schools, and linking this to required curriculum outcomes, enabling teachers to teach media arts and cross-curricular activities through filmmaking.
Lotti has worked in broadcast television in the UK, on programs for the BBC and major network television channels. She has credits on various TV programs, and has worked in many genres including documentary, drama, music, entertainment, live talk shows, reality TV, music programs and feature film, at different stages of the production process from pre-production to post production and even broadcast.
Rock Paper Video runs film making and animation workshops for children. See our latest workshops here