Plan better stories to make your iPhone videos come alive

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Mobile editing is much easier when you have a plan.
Mobile editing is much easier when you have a plan.
Photo: Apple

We’ve all done it before: we head to the family reunion, the wedding, the kid’s birthday party and we just shoot everything. We have no plan except that we think we’ll have time later to edit it down to something interesting.

Unfortunately, that just leads to a bloated iPhone with too many unnecessary video files. Plus, you know you’re never going to get around to sitting down and looking through all that footage again. Ugh.

With a good plan, however, and a firm grasp of one simple storytelling technique, you’ll avoid this problem and create some amazing videos without a whole lot of extra work.

Here’s how.

I spoke with local filmmaker Scott Slone, who’s been filming the wild Alaskan outdoors and scouting locations for major film studios for years, about how he approaches his own iPhone videos.

“Think about the story,” he told me, “and take a few minutes to plan it out when you first arrive at an event.”

Plan out a basic beginning, middle, and end for your video. That way, you’ll be focused on making a tighter video and you’ll be less likely to shoot stuff indiscriminately.

For example, Slone said, at a wedding, you can focus on what’s important: the people. Start with an establishing shot, maybe showing the family members rolling up in their cars, some hugs among the bride and groom’s families, the exchange of rings, the kiss, and then dancing, cake, and a shot of the happy couple’s car pulling away at the end.

These are the shots you’d likely end up with anyway if you shot everything and edited down, so why waste time and iPhone storage space with the rest of it?