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18 July, 2017

iPhone filmmaking: Helium Core iPhone rig with Filmic Pro, Moondog Labs Anamorphic lens & Røde Videomic Pro

Can you film cinema-quality scenes while hiking between remote Alpine huts with your iPhone?
And also edit the widescreen anamorphic footage with the same iPhone?

This Helium iPhone rig did not let my phone overheat, delivered pro sound and made it easy to attach an Anamorphic lens and ND filters.

Here is a short scene that was shot, edited and shared from the film location at 2,100 meters elevation.

Locking the focus and shutter speed in Filmic Pro to achieve proper motion blur effects.

The gear travelled in waterproof bags as I hiked for six hours each day.

In the rain.





The week before the Alps trek, I built and tested this iPhone film rig that captures 4K, anamorphic footage with proper sound and motion artifacts.

I built it by wrapping an iPhone 6S+ with a Helium Core cage and attaching it to a modified GoPro chest mount.

The Røde VideoMic Pro on top captures pro audio (As you can see in the YouTube clip at the end of this tutorial)

The complete cinema quality film rig packs flat. It will join me and my backpack on a six-day trek across the Alps next week where I will be making a film project.

The chest mount combined with the extension bar make it very comfortable to record interviews, too.

I attach the Moondog Labs Anamorphic lens adapter and ND filters to be able to record 4K widescreen footage in bright light with a slow shutter speed.

Without an ND filter, the camera has no choice but to record with a high shutter speed - in this case at 1/12,288 of a second.

Which produces strobe motion footage.

With two ND filters attached (An ND 4 and an ND 2), the camera sees less light and I am able to record at 1/48 of a second to achieve a proper 180° shutter.

This allows the motion blur to be recorded in a way that more accurately mimics the way the human eye sees motion. This is one of the keys to pro filmmaking.


In the FilmicPro app, I make a preset to capture 4K video and set it to display the proper 'de-squeezed' preview for Anamorphic filming.

An overview of my Filmic settings.

And how it looks in the viewfinder while filming.

I also am experimenting with different video capture profiles to achieve a film look and am having great results with the Flat gamma curve in FilmicPro.

Recording 4K Anamorphic clips at 'Filmic Quality' means I have to clear off my camera roll and watch for apps that also copy clips inside their sandbox.

That's more like it! I conservatively estimate that the Filmic Pro settings I am using will require about 600MB of memory per minute of recorded footage.


In this ungraded example, I recorded 44 clips to make this film and when I transferred my clips to my Mac (using iTunes) the folder measured 9.54GB and the runtime of the raw footage is around 16 minutes when dropped onto a Final Cut Pro X timeline.

I applied cinema grading to this natural sound short film to show how a final treatment can look for cinema projection.

This means with 100GB of free memory on my iPhone.


Make a film with Robb