All those Apple commercials encouraging people to use their iPhones to make their smartphone movies look amazing, but how can you achieve some of the same looks? That's the question many often ask after plunking down over $1,000 for a brand new iPhone, shooting some video, and getting somewhat mediocre results.
Well, it turns out that, beyond buying the best phone for recording, finding the best VSCO filters, video-recording apps, and general settings help, there's one powerful tool that can give your iPhone films that cinematic pop: an anamorphic lens.
Available to buy now from Amazon for just $149.90, the Moment Anamorphic Lens does a couple of cool things that will ratchet up the quality of your video instantly. First, it will give you that cinematic, widescreen, letterbox look so familiar from your favorite films.
Often, independent filmmakers will attempt to duplicate this look in post-production, but the Moment Anamorphic Lens does it for you with ease right on your smartphone.
The other thing the Moment Anamorphic Lens does is it gives you that sweet lens flare that is so common in blockbuster films that it signals high-end lens work and dramatic effects. Sure, directors like J.J. Abrams may take it a bit too far on franchises like Star Trek. But used in moderation and with the right lighting, lens flares can immediately give your video a boost of auteur cred even before you've started editing.
However, before you buy the Moment Anamorphic Lens, you'll need a couple of things to get started, namely a smartphone case to hold your new lens. These Moment cases are great. They're one of our go-to accessories when buying a new phone — especially if you've already invested in some lenses.
For example, if you're using the iPhone X, you can buy the Moment Photo Case — which also serves as a great overall iPhone case —for just $39.99 on Amazon. The Moment Anamorphic Lens easily fits into the Moment Photo Case and quickly gives you access to the power of the cinematic lens.
Overall, that's all you "really" need to achieve the proper effect, but since you've gone this far, you might as well do things right and add a 62mm ND (neutral density) filter to your set up.
Using this kind of filter, you can control the exposure of your video imagery, thus combining the widescreen and lens flare effects with an image that looks a lot more like film footage rather than pure HD video (which can make otherwise great shots look "too" crisp in some respects).
Many companies offer ND filters (B&H has a reliable option). But regardless of where you get yours, you'll also need a Moment 62mm Filter Mount ($39.99 on Amazon) — even if you already have a Moment case.
Armed with the tools above, you'll be well on your way toward helming what might be the next great independent film epic.
Find the right Moment case and accessories for your phone on Amazon's Moment page. If you have other specific video needs, you can check out their other smartphone lenses as well — including macro lenses ($99.99 on Amazon), telephoto lenses ($119.99 on Amazon), wide-angle ($119.99 on Amazon), and even a Superfish option ($99.99 on Amazon). They all work with the same cases and lens mounts, so you won't need to double up on accessories to shoot all kinds of different looks on your smartphone.