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You can do the same to create content when $s are tight

Selena Gomez’s new music video released in October was shot entirely on an iPhone. In 2018, Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh shot his 2018 movie Unsane on an iPhone. And this Verizon TV commercial to spur holiday sales of the iPhone was created on — you guessed it — an iPhone.

The photo to your left is my iPhone and it is what I used to shoot numerous videos for a mayoral campaign for which I just finished providing consulting services. Unlike the more advanced iPhone 11 with multiple lenses that was used for the Selena Gomez video, mine is an iPhone 6 with one lens, internal storage capacity that must be constantly managed and a battery that will not hold a charge. Even with its shortcomings, it did a pretty good job.

I was telling the director of the TV station at one of the local community colleges about what I had done and he shared that he has his photographers using iPhones out in the field. We have all used our phones to snap selfies and shoot home videos, but more and more they are seen as a cost-effective alternative to expensive video equipment. There’s even an entire social media campaign dedicated to showcasing the iPhone’s photographic prowess. Obviously, Apple’s main motivation with #ShotOnAniPhone is to increase sales, but the campaign and the high-profile use of the iPhone in projects like the Gomez video are also helping to educate the public on the capabilities of the technology we carry with us all the time.

In a political campaign, there is a constant need for content and budget is always of concern. We utilized a small professional video production crew for the tv ads, but a lot of the other video content was shot using my iPhone and editing was done using Wondershare Filmora. I recall a member of the digital team being aghast upon learning I wasn’t using Adobe Premiere as my editing platform. Again, you do what you can given the dollars available. Not only was Filmora affordable, but it was also easy for this novice video editor to learn.

My equipment amounted to the iPhone, a wireless microphone purchased for $200 at Best Buy, and two $20 tripods with camera mounts from Amazon. With two tripods you can shoot with two phones, which provides more flexibility when editing because you’ll have more than one shot of your subject. If I had to recommend any additional equipment, it would be some lighting. There are some very affordable options on Amazon. You should also purchase a monthly subscription to an online music inventory. Depending on how you intend to use the videos, subscriptions with download rights are available for less than $20 a month.

Although I have written many video scripts and provided creative direction for TV ads and other videos in the past I had never shot or edited video until last spring. I believe my background as a former radio reporter was a big help in my ability to pick it up. I already knew how to piece together a story using audio. This was just a matter of adding pictures. Perhaps this is too much of an oversimplification of things for the professionals out there, but that is not for whom this is intended.

My old iPhone was used to shoot everything from a get-to-know the candidate series to supporter endorsements to news conferences and other events out in the field. I would pull out my phone, ask the candidate a few questions and then gather some appropriate b’roll for fill when editing. He met with flood victims, crawled down in a clogged sewer and visited a road construction project residents have been waiting for years to see completed.

We paid about $5,000 for each of the professionally produced TV ads done for the campaign, so just imagine the cost of paying a video production crew for all the other video content done with the iPhone.

Selena Gomez hasn’t called to ask for my services, but my client was pleased with the work. Sure, he got a heck of a deal thanks to my initiative in this area, but I gained a new skill and had fun doing so. A lack of dollars doesn’t mean there must be a lack of content. Just pull out your phone and start rolling.

Here are links to a couple of the videos I did. You can find more @billkinghouston on Facebook. Full disclosure I did not shoot and edit all the videos there, but I did do a lot of them.

What videos have you shot on your iPhone? Share them so we can see.

Janice is a public affairs/public relations strategist who is actively seeking a new opportunity. Since 2017, she has been working as a freelance consultant. Before that, she was the chief policy officer/director of communications for the mayor’s office in Houston, Texas. You can find out more about her at or via her social media links below.




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Janice Evans-Davis

Janice Evans-Davis

Janice Evans-Davis is a public affairs/public relations strategist in Houston, TX.

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