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How To Video: Upgrade your smartphone videos with lenses
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How To Video: Upgrade your smartphone videos with lenses

4:24 /

In this episode of CNET Australia's Pocket Filmmaker, Jason Van Genderen shows you how to use inexpensive detachable lenses to turn your smartphone into a true video camera capable of taking ultra-close-up and ultra-wide shots.

Hi, I'm Jason, otherwise known as the "Pocket Filmmaker." And welcome to the very first in our pocket filmmaking webisode series. This week, we're looking at lensing for pocket cameras. And when I say lensing, I mean the glass that we put onto our camera to give the whole new view in the world. Now, whether you're shooting on something like an iPhone or on something like this old little flip camera, there's so many things you can now add to the front of your lens to create a whole new picture. Now, in my hands, I've got two little lenses. Okay. Well, I've actually got three. And I'll show you how that works in a minute. These are optical lenses, they're metal and glass. They cost less than $20, sometimes less than $10 online when you look on eBay and sites like that. These are fantastic for expanding your scope when it comes to using your pocket camera to create a whole new lensing opportunity. I'm gonna show you how they work now. What these lenses come with is a very, very tiny metal ring with a sticky back coating. Now, you peel off that sticker, and then you place this little ring around the lens of your pocket camera. Then, these actual lenses are magnetic, so they just simply click on. You don't have to glue them on, you don't have to hold them on. They just stay on like so. I'm gonna show you a little demonstration of something filmed with a conventional lens, on say this flip camera, and then if I put on this lens, which is a wide-angle lens. See? All of a sudden, there's a massive difference in that picture. You can see so much more of the imagery. Now, this lens, there's two lenses in this one little package. If I unscrew the front element, the back end of this lens becomes a macro lens. Now, if you have ever tried taking photos on your pocket camera of things very, very close-up, an insect on a flower, or a grain of sand, or anything really, really small and close, you'll know that that focus is really, really hard to find, and it struggles. In fact, with this thing, beautiful and crisp. Have a look at this example. Now, this lens here, this is the big daddy. This is a fish-eye magnetic lens. Same principle as the other one, it just clicks on to that magnetic ring, and straight away, it opens up 170 degrees field of view, which is unheard of for a smartphone. You can just cram so much more into the picture. If you're in a tiny space, if you're outdoors, you wanna get a big scene in, this fish-eye lens is the one for the job. So, those optical lenses are fantastic, they're really inexpensive, they're a must-have for your tool kit. In fact, if I'm gonna pick out a must-have accessory, it's the little wide-angle one because it's two lenses in one, wide-angle and a macro. I use it everyday. And if you just Google online, you'll see that there's Telephoto versions for iPhone now. There's even microscope lenses. They're really, really cool, so check them out. But here's another-- Jelly Lenses. Now, these are just made of plastic. Okay. There's no metal parts and no glass in these. And these are only a couple of dollars online if you look for them. They come in a whole range of different effects, some 30, 40 different color effects, special effects you can put on your lensing. This one here is a polarizer, a circular polarizer. So, if you wanna introduce nice, deep blue skies in your shots, or introduce or eliminate reflections in a glass surface, this polarizer will do that for you. Now, one of the criticisms we often have with pocket filmmaking is we don't get to use that nice, dreamy effect of shallow depth of field-- until now. This Jelly Lens here is a vignette filter. So, it gives you that soft, dreamy look in-- on the edge of frame, just like what you can achieve when using shallow depth of field. Really, really good. Now, I'm gonna leave you with a really cool pocket film to check out this week online. It's called Dot by Aardman Studios in the UK. Now, you might know Aardman from such great films such as Wallace and Gromit. They do some of the best stop frame animation in the world. Well, they even made a film on a pocket camera, on a Smartphone. So, that's called Dot. Check it out. And if you get an opportunity, have a look at the making of it, too. It will blow your mind. All right. That's about it for me. Want to catch up next time, I'm gonna run you through how to keep your shots super steady. Okay. So, a bit steady cam devices, and really simple techniques to keep those pocket filmmaking shots nice and smooth. See you next time.

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