How To Shoot Anamorphic On Your Phone

Unlock cinematic footage with our guide on how to shoot anamorphic on your phone. Explore techniques, apps, and lens choices to transform everyday footage.

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Hollywood On Your Phone

Shooting anamorphic footage on your phone can add a cinematic look to your videos. While there isn’t a way to A.I. your way to anamorphic footage through a paid app, manual tools like attachable phone lenses will do just the trick — like the Moment Anamorphic 1.33x Lens (available in either M-Series or T-Series depending on your device).

Anamorphic lenses squeeze the image horizontally, allowing you to capture a wider field of view than a traditional lens. While there are many options on the market, we pride ourselves on crafting the best, highest-quality lenses to attach to both Apple and Android devices. Once you de-squeeze the footage in post-production, it effortlessly gives you that classic, movie-like look.

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1. Get An Anamorphic Lens for Your Phone

Various companies produce anamorphic smartphone lenses, including Moment (that’s us!), Sandmarc, and Moondog Labs. These lenses are high-quality and designed to attach to most smartphones easily.

Our Moment lenses are the brainchildren of experienced professionals and filmmakers in the industry. They have the insight to know what needs fine-tuning or enhancement, and a taste for cinematic looks. If you're interested in the technical details behind creating Moment Lenses and the latest Module 8 Tuners, check out our in-depth article below. The team's dedication to quality and detail truly sets our lenses apart.

But we offer more than just our classic best-selling 1.33x Blue Flare lens. We've expanded our range to include a 1.33x Gold Flare lens and a 1.55x Gold Flare lens, providing options for varying focal lengths and added warmth to your shots. If you're unsure which lens would be best for you, check out our detailed article on the differences between 1.33x and 1.55x ratios.

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2. Install Your Camera App

After getting a lens, you should download an app to your phone that will better optimize your mobile camera to shoot an anamorphic aspect ratio. Our favorites are either Filmic Pro or our very own Moment Pro Camera App.

Set Up the App for Anamorphic Shooting:

  • Go to the settings in the app by tapping on the gear icon.
  • Under the ‘Video’ or 'Camera' settings, look for an option to enable the 'Anamorphic' mode. This setting de-squeezes the footage in real time, allowing you to view the video with the correct aspect ratio as you shoot.

Adjust your resolution and frame rate as desired. Typically, shooting at 24 fps will give your video a more cinematic look.

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3. Shoot Your Video

After you get a mobile lens and have your app downloaded, you’re ready to start shooting.

But to truly master anamorphic-style shooting on a phone, it's crucial to appreciate the nuances of this unique format. When understanding how it stretches your image, aiming for that classic 2.39:1 ratio which may alter your compositional choices.

Don't shy away from using those iconic lens flares to add a layer of drama to your shots, but remember, moderation is key. Position your light sources thoughtfully to enhance, not overpower your scenes. Since anamorphic lenses typically require manual focusing, get comfortable with adjusting focus on the fly to keep your subjects crisp against a softly blurred background. Also, given the wider field of view, any shake or jitter in your footage will be more noticeable, so I highly recommend using a stabilizer or gimbal to keep your shots smooth and professional.

Lighting plays a pivotal role in anamorphic shooting. Well-lit scenes not only reduce noise but also highlight the anamorphic lens's capabilities to create depth and mood. If possible, use an external monitor while shooting; it’s a game-changer for visualizing how the final footage will look with the anamorphic squeeze.

Check out our full comprehensive guide for extra expert tips on shooting mobile videos on your smartphone.

4. Desqueeze Your Anamorphic Footage

After filming your video, the next step is to 'de-squeeze' it during editing to achieve the correct aspect ratio. This adjustment is typically performed using video editing software, such as Lightroom or Davinci. This means you will adjust the video's aspect ratio from its original ratio to around 2.40:1. However, this could vary depending on the specific squeeze factor of your anamorphic lens.

For users of our Moment Pro Camera App, we've simplified this process:

  1. Open App
  2. Select the “Anamorphic Lens Button” with the little “A” in the middle of the circle. (NOTE): Using the Anamorphic setting with your Moment Anamorphic Lens will only show what it’s like de-squeezed as a preview, but it WILL NOT save de-squeezed. You must continue to step three.
  3. Click the “Settings” button (three lines).
  4. Apply the "De-Squeezed file” button.
  5. You’re all done, except… if you’re shooting 4K 60FPS or 1080p 240FPS, your phone will have difficulty processing that high amount of RAM power, resulting in dropped frames after production.

If you’re interested in using additional software or applications, check out our article showing other easy ways to de-squeeze anamorphic footage.

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5. Edit and Color Grade

With your footage now 'de-squeezed', you can proceed to edit it in your usual manner. It's worth noting that anamorphic lenses often imbue the footage with a distinct color tone, allowing you to color grade your footage to achieve your desired aesthetic.

We have a wide array of presets and Look-Up Tables (LUTs) crafted by creators for filmmakers and cinematographers, offering a range of styles from vintage looks and cool tones to warm and ethereal moods. They're super easy to download and implement into your everyday editing routine, with a variety of vibes from real-life creators we follow in our community. Check out our full library for an easy plug-and-play during your next video.

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