Movement and Choreography in Smartphone Filmmaking

Susy Botello
Smartphone Filmmaking
4 min readMay 12, 2020
Jamiel Laurence

He wanted to tell a story with his skills in choreography using the tools available to him. Episode 80 of the SBP Podcast Mobile Filmmaking is an in-depth conversation with Jamiel Laurence, awarded Second Prize in the International Mobile Film Festival in San Diego.

Even though his film has a theme of isolation, ironically, it was submitted to IMFF 2020, in 2019. Jamiel had access to cameras from filmmaking friends, but he chose to use his iPhone. Benched, is his only his second mobile film. It was “filmed within the grounds of the iconic Kelvingrove Park.”

Dancer Jamie Reid during set up for the production of “Benched” film winner of Second Prize at the International Mobile Film Festival in San Diego.

He has a lifetime experience in dance, music, and drama which began in childhood. He studied ballet and is now a soloist by profession. His mother was a dancer who taught modern, contemporary dance and jazz.

Download epidode 80 of the SBP Podcast Mobile Filmmaking to listen anytime, anywhere.

Jamiel opened up to share his choreography techniques with film which involves camera movement as a dancer, and incorporating it into the cinematography. His techniques are creative and talented. His process brings the world of movement through dance and music together with film, and cinematography, through storytelling.

“Long-running one shots” in mobile film take serious precision to accomplish. Even with traditional professional cameras, it requires skill and experience. But with smartphones it’s risky. There is a spectrum of available settings with a camera which are not available with smartphone cameras. To achieve a moving shot with a duration of more than just a few seconds is quite an accomplishment, which a professional camera person can appreciate.

Jamiel spoke about the dancers who place their trust in Jamiel’s performance during filming. During the conversation with Jamiel, he brings light to the aspect of his own performance using motion to capture the dance performance. It sheds light to the benefit of using a small, light filming device such as a smartphone to capture the long lasting moment expressed in dance.

We discuss the other aspect of the dance driving his films: Music. Jamiel has made a point of accomplishing trust and integrity with musical artists he engages with in his profession. A big part of his filmmaking budget goes to the music.

Jamie Reid is the dancer in his film. He is from Glasgow and knows the city and Scotland who helped Jamiel select the location for his film. Jamiel refers to the location as one of the characters on his film, along with the bench. The story of the film is interactive in the way that is interpreted by the viewer. The emotions expressed by the actor and dancer allow the story to evolve through the performance.

“Love Stained” was his latest film created just before the current situation the world is in and now, stuck in isolation as most of us are, he keeps pushing his creativity through a series called “Mobile Isolation Creations.”

Listen to Episode 80 of the SBP Podcast Mobile Filmmaking with guest, Jamiel Laurence.

SBP Podcast: The Voice of Mobile Film™ is for everyone who ever wanted to or is curious about making movies and videos using smartphones.

Watch Jamiel’s film which won Second Prize at IMFF 2020, Benched:

Check out the “Video Salute to IMFF 2020” he created as part of the virtual International Mobile Film Festival in San Diego, which we discussed during the podcast:

Watch Jamiel’s latest film, Love Stained:

Jamiel’s film mentioned in the podcast, shot with a smartphone in one take, Flight:

Follow Jamiel Laurence:

Jamiel Laurence’s website:





Recommended by Jamiel in the podcast for music:

IMFF Virtual Film Festival:

Special Credit to Cara Rust from IMFF 2020 for her audio testimonial featured in this episode:

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Susy Botello
Smartphone Filmmaking

Official International Mobile Film Festival founder - S. Botello Productions. Mobile Film Advocate & Podcaster.