Tips for Making Your Own Oscar-Worthy Film

It’s that time of year – the stars will soon be on the red carpet, and the golden statues given once again. It’s Oscar Season!

The 2017 Academy Award nominations run the gamut of filmmaking, but they all have one thing in common – they are filmed beautifully, feature perfect lighting, and capture breathtaking audio.

We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite Oscar nominations and winners, of this year and years past, along with some tips for using Photojojo gadgets when creating your own Oscar-worthy piece of cinema.


La La Lights

Los Angeles, the City of Lights – and the city that’s featured in this year’s biggest Oscar nominated film La La Land. Not only is the city bright, but the filmmaking as well.

La La Land’s Director Damien Chazelle and Lighting Designer Linus Sandgren find a balance between semi-natural lighting for stellar outdoor dance routines and more electric hues to accent sentimental moments (can we just talk about how adorable Emma and Ryan are singing together in front of this expertly lit shot?).

If you can even see through your tears by the end, you’ll get to see this breathtaking silhouette shot:

Lighting is an important aspect of every single Oscar film (even au natural winners like The Revenant), so get yours perfect. Shooting on an iPhone? The Pocket Spotlight is sure to give you even, bright lighting wherever you’re at.

Shooting with a DSLR? Grab a Ring Light, which has three settings and pops right over your lens. Pair that with a Luxi Light Meter, and you’ll be one step closer to that Oscar nod.

See It Through The Camera’s Eye

When you’re using a camera to tell a story, one of the most powerful (and fun!) tools you have is your lens. Now, we know that Oscar masterpieces aren’t shot with a phone, but we picked a few films you can emulate using some of our favorite IRIS Lenses and Magnetic Lenses.

1. Gravity
One of the biggest films of 2013 was the sci-fi drama Gravity, which featured some even bigger, beautiful wide shots. The team of Director Alfonso Cuarón and Director of Photography Emmanuel Lubezki had a real knack for making space seem even bigger than we all know it to be.

A great example of this is the wide shot in the scene where Sandra Bullock finds herself safe after a very scary moment in the atmosphere (we’re not trying to spoil too much here).

Even though this particular example uses a lot of movie magic, using a Wide Angle Lens can help you grasp the same effect of adding more “space” to your story. (ba dum psh).

2. The Martian
A Fisheye Lens can be challenging to use when telling a story, but The Martian used it in a super creative way.

We all know the story – Matt Damon, Mars, he’s NOT dead and everyone’s trying to help him get home. When he communicates with his team via video, the director uses a “selfie” shot with cameras in the corner of the room and head-on.

A Fisheye Phone Lens can help you emulate this really clever one-on-one viewpoint for a smaller investment than the Go-Pro used in the film.

3. Mad Max
Mad Max: Fury Road is a stunning fourth installment to the Mad Max series by Director George Miller and Cinematographer John Seale. The story takes place in a desert, and uses heightened color stories to really draw attention to the blue of the sky in contrast to the dry, sandy temperament of the desert.

A Polarizer Lens (part of our Magnetic Lens Set) can help you achieve the same bold effect when shooting in bright, outdoor conditions – but you’re own your own for the crazy ten-wheelers and flame-throwing guitars.

Smooth and Seamless

Emmanuel Lubezki has been behind the cinematography for some outstanding films over the years (Gravity, The Revenant, we talk about his films a lot in this article – we know).

One film that really sticks out is Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu and winner of Best Picture in 2014. This movie has become infamous for its incredibly seamless camera work.

While Lubezki did talk about how crucial his team was, you can still capture a similar effect on your own using the Smoovie or Fly X-3 Phone Stabilizers. These will ensure your footage is so smooth, the critics will think it was Emmanuel’s this whole time.

Speak Up!

When listening over the quiet crunches of popcorn, the sound in a film is just as important and impressive as the camera work. This is proven time and again with films nominated for Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing.

Nominated for Sound Mixing in 2012, both Argo and Lincoln were dialogue-heavy films that needed crisp and concise dialogue capture. In 2013, Inside Llewyn Davis was a musical film that focused heavily on acoustic (and just so beautiful) performances by Oscar Issac.

When capturing audio for your film, try the Wireless Mighty Mic for getting up close and personal with your subject, or use the classic Mighty Mic boom-style mic, for capturing a more ambient sound like a natural one-take musical performance or scene.

The Academy Doesn’t Give Extra Credit, But We Do

We’ve got a few extra pieces of advice for those finishing touches to your masterpiece.