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iPhone Filmmaking: From Shoot Through Edit

Lesson 2 of 19

Your Story Arch


iPhone Filmmaking: From Shoot Through Edit

Lesson 2 of 19

Your Story Arch


Lesson Info

Your Story Arch

I want to talk about the whole idea of pre production. So preproduction sounds like a big word, and I kind of don't really like to use it when it comes to mobile filmmaking, cause it's a very you know, um, an industry kind of term. But what it really means to me pre production is that you just have to do a little bit of planning. And luckily with the phone, there's not a whole lot of planning you have to do because there's not a whole lot of gear and all sorts of things that you have to bring. So let's get into that. Um, so one of my favorite quotes by Benjamin Franklin by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. So if you are going to do much more complex, shoot like the one that we're going to go over today, it really will be helpful to you too. Have prepared what yours will shoot your She will go so much faster. Um, but there are other times there when you're just out and about. And I think a lot of us do this. We're pulling out. Our phones were Just fill me this and that. I m...

ean, you don't have to prepare for that, But if it's a more formal shoot and you actually want to tell a good story, then it is worth your while to do a little bit of planning. So we'll go into what that actually means. Eso preproduction. So here, this is going to sound complex, but it really isn't. But it's always good to have a rough story arc, and we'll go into the details of what a story arc is and what that looks like. And then you can, uh, you'll be putting together a shot list and I'll go over what my at my shot list actually looked like for this particular shoot and then the gear list. And, uh, what else you need in order to support the Charlie? So what you're doing here is with the rough story arc, you're gonna put together the story. This is the story. Want to tell? And then the shot list is your list of shots that support that story, right? So this is just you thinking about what the story is and what shots will support that. And finally, the gear is okay. What gear do I need to capture those shots to tell that story. So it's all supporting each other, and it really helps to take a moment and sit down and think about what it is that you're going to shoot and go through all of this. All right, so the fun part, the story arc, Um, so I have my version of the story arc. If any of you are into storytelling or know about storytelling, it can get really complex. You have, like this nine point story story frame Hero's journey. It doesn't have to be that crazy. So what is the story arc in this case? Um, so the story arc in this particular case is going to be just a simple beginning. A middle and an end. That's it. In the most simple, simple level. That's what a story is. Something happens and something changes. And now something new happen. There's a new one. So I called the Old World and the New World. And in between there's that transformation. So then to make a little bit more complicated or to add some kind of character to that, so then, within the whole story arc. Within that transformation, these air the things that happen so usually for a good story for any story. There's some kind of conflict, right? Um, and it doesn't have to be a crazy conflict, but usually there's conflict, or there's a desire for something to be different. Okay, and I'll show you if this is a making sense just yet, I'll show you an example of something that I shot that was really simple, that had all of these points in it. So my next one is journey. So then there's a character that is experiencing this conflict or has this desire. And so they go on this journey to try to resolve that conflict or achieve whatever it is that they desire. That's all it is. And then the next one is the climactic events. So usually there's something like a peak or something that happened to really like, have them resolve that conflict or have them attained that desire, which then ends up to the new world. So they've now transformed through this whole journey. I know it sounds complicated, but honestly, it I mean, I'll show you in a second how simple it can actually be. So it could be a simple as a child, you could also do something trump travel montage or vignette and experience and still have a little bit of that storytelling in there. So let me show you something that I shot that has those points in it. So I'm going to go on my phone. It's turned off. And so I'm launching an app called Loom Effusion, which is where I do a lot of my editing and, um, let me pull up. Sure, is it it's in here somewhere. Ah, date one. Okay, so before I play it, I want to remind you again there's a beginning. There's a middle and an end, and within that there is some conflict or desire. So if you just remember those things and if you watch this video, then you can kind of pinpoint like I'll ask You will test you who has the conflict or the desire in this really simple lesson. Two minute video. Okay, so I shot in portrait mode because this was for I G TV, and before it was like a big no no don't shoot in portrait mode. But nowadays it's okay. Toe do vertical videos, especially cause I g TV all right, So I'm gonna play is free and they will test you afterwards. Every first Sunday of the month, I go to the Alameda Antique Fair to search for my vintage lenses that I could. This used to be a Navy base back in the forties, but now it's just used for this e always get super distracted it and buying other things besides the vintage linens way. So far, no luck. Have not found any kind of camera gear at all. Well, it looks like some people. What about mine? Finally saw something. Unfortunately, they weren't what are looking for. Then I finally saw some vintage lenses. Quality of this window wasn't that great. I'll end. This goes through C pretty damn tired already. And then I found this 50 millimeter, but already had something similar. Well, I'm walking away empty handed, so there's only one thing to do about that. So you can see. I mean, that was that to be, honestly, that was new pre planning happening there. But I was just at the market and I was casually shooting with just my phone. It was a naked phone. No mikes attached new lenses or anything. Um and then I just It was just my day and my day was a story. And, you know, I didn't have to try too hard. I went out there to look for the sleds. I didn't find it. So I just made sure to document those moments where, you know, I couldn't find her where it did find it. So what was the conflict or desire there to begin with? Look over my find the lands. Yeah, exactly. That was all it was. It was something really simple. And so I wanted to show that because I think that when you know, when I bring up in the other classes that I teach, like a Stanford, you know, have a story. It feels like Oh, my God. You know, it has to be something super ethics, someone us to die. And someone has to, you know, and it doesn't have to be that way. Could be a simple, as you know, as long for loans and couldn't find it. So I bought Kettle corn. You know, eso that's all. That's all the story is. So when you go out and do your own mobile filmmaking, just keep that in mind. it could be something really, really simple. Okay, so now let's go back to, um Oh, yes. If you want to see more, I have a lot of those on my I G TV so you can go to story. Ah, Griffis. Um and look through all the little stories that I've done in vertical video. All right, so now let's get back into that story, arc. And, um, let's talk about nonfiction. So here's, um, the shoot that we did in San Francisco. Uh, the shoot was of this design agency called nonfiction, and they were really unique because they had they did a lot of industrial design of really high tech things. So this was a story that I was trying to tell. And so when I first talked to them, I already had the idea of the story arc in my head. So when I asked them questions before the shoot, I asked so that I would be able to answer some of these things ahead of time. Um, so let's see how not fiction the Industrial Design Agency how their story arc maps to this story arc. So not fiction is, um, the beginning was they are. They were individual designers, okay? And so there's two of them and they're a couple married couple, but they weren't agency yet. Their individual freelancers. That was the beginning of the story and then the ending of the story that they became a successful design agency. So they started their own business, and the happy ending was that they were successful and they had all these great clients. So that was the ark in which I was trying to work with it. So then let's map out to the rest of it. The conflict or desire in this case was that they wanted to do things their own way. And so that's what what got them started with creating their own design agency. So that was the pivotal moment. And then they ended up going on this journey where they were. They went through the struggle of starting a new venture. And if any of you have started a small business before, you know how hard that is. And so that was the journey that I wanted to show in the video. And then finally, what was the the peak of it was that they started landing new clients and their clients came back. So that was when they knew that they were successful. And then that's the new world. Now there this successful design agency.

Class Description


  • Create a video entirely on the iPhone, from shoot to edit
  • Master advanced video apps on the iPhone
  • Learn how to use iPhone video accessories like gimbals and mics
  • Build a story arch and shot list for your film
  • Capture pro-level audio in an interview
  • Shoot supporting b-roll
  • Master iPhone video editing using apps
  • Record and add a voice over
  • Export and share your video


Who says you need expensive video gear to create movie magic? In this course, Cielo de la Paz breaks down capturing effective and high-quality films with gear that can fit in your pocket -- the iPhone. She’ll walk through the importance of pre-production and crafting your story ahead of your shoot. Learn how to use a variety of iPhone video accessories and apps while exploring the technical side on how to get the best shots.

By going in the field with Cielo, you'll learn to navigate real-world scenarios, from problem-solving to prioritizing your shot list. While the iPhone may be a smartphone, she'll walk through every element of capturing pro-quality video from a simple device, from recording audio to using add-on lenses. Capture shots that make the videographers with the bulky cameras jealous by using the iPhone's small form factor to your advantage.

But the iPhone isn't just a video camera -- it's a powerful tool for editing videos anywhere. Cielo will then take you back in the studio and walk through one of the best video editing apps for iPhone and iPad out there while explaining how to piece together your story into a cinematic success. Add your own editing style to raw footage to create a story worth sharing. There is a lot of magic and ability in the camera that is always with you -- learn to use its capabilities to capture and create great video.


  • Beginner to intermediate mobile filmmakers
  • Beginner filmmakers
  • Social media influencers
  • IGTV producers
  • Beginner to intermediate vloggers
  • Anyone interested in making videos with their phones


iOS apps LumaFusion 2019, FiLMiC Pro, and Hyperlapse


San Francisco-based mobile filmmaker and photographer Cielo de la Paz first found success with a Shot on an iPhone billboard. Since then, Cielo has been teaching others to find the same success using just a smartphone. The founder of, Cielo teaches iPhone film and video classes at Stanford, as well as sharing techniques at conferences, private events, and even with government agencies. Over the course of her online and in-person courses, she's helped thousands to capture their own stories using the simplest video gear. Along with those Shot on an iPhone billboards and commercials, you can also find her work in Business Insider, USA Today, National Geographic, and House Beautiful. Her creative approach to iPhone filmmaking helped her earn the Gold Cannes Lions Award, as well as honors from the Mobile Photography Awards and iPhone Photography Awards (IPPA).


  1. Introduction

    Meet your instructor and gain an overview of the course. Learn why the iPhone is a good storytelling tool. Pick up the pros and cons of shooting iPhone video.

  2. Your Story Arch

    Set yourself up for success from the start with the pre-production process. Build a story arch, a shot list, and prep your gear before the shoot. Brainstorm a simple storyline to keep your project on track.

  3. Creating a Shot List

    What footage will you need to capture in order to tell your story? What shots do you need to have enough to stitch everything together inside a video editor? Walk through the process of brainstorming potential shots, for both short videos and longer content such as interviews. With variety in mind, categorize your shot list to capture context and tell the whole story.

  4. Gear List

    When working with an iPhone, the gear you use tends to be smaller too -- but that doesn't mean you need to bring all your mobile video tools with you. Learn how to determine what to pack and what to leave home based on your story arch and shot list. Then, go through the different smartphone video accessories to find what you need and what you can skip to suit your shooting style.

  5. Introduction to Location Shoot

    Go behind the scenes for Cielo's iPhone video project capturing a promotional video for an industrial design company. Gain background and context on the project in this short lesson.

  6. Mobile Filmmaking Gear

    Continuing the behind-the-scenes video, learn what gear Cielo brings with her. Look at different options for support rigs from tripods to gimbals. Capture better audio using lavalier mics, shotgun mics, and Bluetooth-enabled mics. Explore different lens options as well as lighting choices.

  7. Assessing the Location

    Don't start shooting right away -- scouting the location is an important part of the process. Go behind the scenes to explore the location and see potential angles for the video. Learn to adapt your shooting plans based on what you see on location, and use the pre-planning to stay focused on the project.

  8. Setting Up the Interview

    Interviews are part of many video projects. Learn how to set up for an interview, from considering the lighting and the background to lenses, composition, and audio. Get creative with video hacks, like using a rolling office chair as a make-shift video dolly. Learn to navigate the app FiLMiC Pro for advanced shooting features.

  9. Capturing the Interview

    With the audio prepped, the background cleared and the composition selected, go behind the scenes for the actual interview shoot. Navigate shooting options in the FiLMiC Pro app, like 4K video quality and frame rates, then see the full interview.

  10. Capturing B Roll

    With the interview finished, work to capture supporting footage, called B-Roll. In this lesson, you'll learn how to add more visual interest to your shot by recording extra B-Roll during the shoot. Cielo also demonstrates how to use a gimbal to add stabilized camera motion video effects.

  11. Shooting Creatively

    The iPhone is so small, that you can put the camera in tiny places for a unique perspective and special effects. In this lesson, beef up your creativity by learning iPhone video tricks, from using gaffers tape to keep the iPhone in place to using the Apple Watch as a remote trigger. Work with time-lapse in the Hyperlapse app and other creative iPhone filming techniques.

  12. Organizing Your Footage

    The iPhone is so small, that you can put the camera in tiny places for a unique perspective and special effects. In this lesson, beef up your creativity by learning iPhone video tricks, from using gaffers tape to keep the iPhone in place to using the Apple Watch as a remote trigger. Work with time-lapse in the Hyperlapse app and other creative iPhone filming techniques.

  13. Culling Footage

    All your shots won't make it into the final version. Jump into video editing with the LumaFusion app, one of the best video editors in the iOS App Store. Learn how to import the files to the LumaFusion app to edit videos, as well as how to choose the best video clips for the project.

  14. Shaping the Story

    With the parts selected, arrange those clips into a storyline. Work with the video app to build a timeline. Learn to build a story arch, to arrange video clips inside the editing software, and more.

  15. Adding B Roll to the Edit

    With the story in place, supplement the main video with that creative B-Roll. Learn how to determine where to place B-Roll and how to use those iPhone video clips strategically.

  16. Color Grading and Fixing

    Color grading helps establish your editing style -- and it's a must if you shoot in the raw N-Log format. Master the editing tools for color inside LumaFusion, including shortcuts for color grading multiple video clips.

  17. Music

    Sound effects help determine the mood of the movie. In this lesson, Cielo shares tips for finding the right music, as well as sharing how to add music to the video using LumaFusion. Work with adding music from a Storyblocks subscription and searching the music library, a quick method that doesn't require messing with iTunes.

  18. Voice Over

    Adding voice can help tie the story together. Learn how to record a voice over from iOS devices, from simple tricks like recording in a closet when you don't have a sound room, to using a mic. Then, learn how to add the voice over to the video inside the video editing software.

  19. Exporting and Uploading

    With the video editing finished, now what? Learn how to export and share video, including using cloud storage, and how to save space on your iPhone without losing the entire project file. Finally, see the final video Ciel worked on assembling throughout the course.


Chrystelle Hadjikakou

Being a beginner in all things video, watching this live class left me excited to try out a lot of things on my iPhone, not to mention I learned loads. Cielo showed us the full process from shot listing to gear to preparing the shoot and then shooting and editing, which was very enlightening, also I want to thank the people who were on the chat, because sharing tips and tricks was great too! Thank you for the awesome work!


This class was great! Cielo offered really good information. It was probably more than I needed since I am a beginner, but it inspired me to try and use it for the simple reasons I took the course. But it also showed me what is possible and how I can eventually upgrade what I am doing. It's good for people who are really into photography and telling the story of entrepreneurs (which is so important these days) can use their photography skills to help business owners stand out whether it's your side hustle or main career.

Chaya Emily Baumbach

Cielo is a gifted lecturer who explains iPhone filmmaking clearly, easily and in a fun way. I love the way she explains the steps in making videos on our smartphones, along with equipment and app recommendations. So glad I purchased this class as it is immensely helpful to me, a newbie.