Conrad Mess Shares Mobile Filmmaking Secrets

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Conrad Mess Makes Award Winning iPhone Films

You can make great videos and films with a smartphone, and if you don’t believe me, check out the work of Luis Mieses (aka Conrad Mess).

Mess has mastered the art and science of production using the same device that most people use to tweet, make phone calls, and share Instagram pics.

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Conrad Mess’ latest iPhone5 film

His latest film is called, “The Other Side.” It’s being shot entirely in chroma with an iPhone 5 with victorian aesthetics, and 3D backgrounds in a “horror comic style.”

The short film stars two Spanish TV stars Cristina Castaño (La que se Avecina) & Pedro Pablo Isla (El Secreto de Puente Viejo).  The film is now in post, and Conrad is crowdfunding to finish the film (you can make a donation here).

His work is certainly turning heads.  His iPhone films are award-winning, and Mess took a few moments to share some great tips and advice for anyone that wants to create quality video content with a mobile device.

WVC: What’s your experience with smartphone production?

CM: I started filmmaking a little more than 2 years ago. My first short film was shot with a regular handycam, from that moment on, all my short films have been shot on the iPhone. I also have shot two commercials in between with a DSLR, but almost everything else has been with a cellphone, including “The Fixer” (watch at the end of this post), “The Russian Roulette,” “The Asking Room,” “Vengeance,” and my current project that is in postproduction, “The Other Side.”

WVC: Would you suggest an Android smartphone or Apple device and why?

CM: Apple, not because the quality, but because of the amount of gear that you can use with the iPhone like lenses, grips, steady-cams, etc.

WVC: What is the advantage of using a mobile device over traditional film and video equipment?

CM: It’s cheaper, and you don’t have to know anything about cameras. Everything is easier with a phone…and lighter!

WVC: What are the limitations or issues that people should be aware of?

CM: Obviously, you can’t do everything that you can with a traditional video camera. You can’t zoom, you must move everything closer to the scene.  The jello effect (rolling shutter) is horrible. You have to move the cellphone carefully, if not, you’ll have the jello effect plus blur. If you can, connect your cellphone to a monitor. I did it for the first time with, “The Other Side” and the difference is huge. If you use the cellphone screen to view what’s happening, you’ll notice unexpected things during the edit, trust me.

WVC: Please share your top accessories for capturing good audio and visuals.

CM: The top app for shooting is FiLMiCPRO . It’s very useful, and shoots great video, up to 50 mbps. The Phocus  (iPhone 4 & 4s/iPhone 5) is the a great accessory. You can attach a lens including a wide angle, macro, and telephoto. And then there is the Mobislyder, an affordable smartphone slider to make smooth movements.

WVC: How does mobile video production differ from traditional film production?

CM: That question has two valid answers. The first and logical answer is NOTHING, because some pros have used cellphones for their productions, so they only have to exchange their cameras.  Everything else is exactly the same. But it is also different because 99% of the mobile filmmakers are people without a budget, and most of time without film knowledge (as myself), so they/we don’t do things by the book. Each production is a learning process. You make mistakes that you won’t make again in the next project. I did not even have a script for “The Fixer,” I drew some pictures, some kind of storyboard.

His pictures must have been amazing, because his films certainly are.

To learn more about Conrad Mess, check him out on Facebook, YouTube and/or Twitter.

And for your viewing pleasure, here is “The Fixer,” by Conrad Mess.
iPhone Film Festival 2011 Best Film Winner

 

About Amani Channel

Amani Channel is a former news reporter, a vlogger, an award winning video producer, and an adjunct professor. He also helps organizations and companies create visual stories through VisualEyeMedia.

Follow Amani on Twitter and circle him on Google+

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  3. Edmund Furilla says:

    Totally blown away (no pun intended) by the Fixer Movie. It goes to show you that talent trumps tools every time. Thanks for the inspiration.

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