Making Music Videos with HTC Phones

After last year’s HTC One X fashion photo shoot by professional photographer Chuck Jackson, we thought we’d seen it all. Now, Chuck is back and more creative than ever; this time shooting a music video entirely on HTC phones. The video for “Captured” by Jacksonville, Florida musician Samuel Sanders, is believed to be the first music video shot entirely on HTCs. I caught up with both Chuck and Samuel to talk about this project, how it went, and the final results.

Jason Dunn (JD): Chuck, what made you want to try shooting a music video using HTC phones? Samuel, what was your first reaction – did Chuck have to win you over to the idea?

Chuck Jackson (CJ): Well, it all started with the One X, and it’s revolutionary camera, that came out last year. Since then, HTC has continued releasing phones with amazing cameras. Then it hit me, I’d already done the photo testing in real-life fashion shoots, so why not test the video capabilities next? I was using my HTC 8X at the time and was very pleased with the overall camera quality, and then the DROID DNA came out with its amazing specs. I thought it would be a great chance to showcase the line of HTC phones and their camera quality.

Rather than just do a typical test shoot comparing and contrasting, I was talking to a friend about the idea of a video. He’s a musician and we just had light bulbs go off above our heads. We’d shot a music video before with DSLRs and other video-specific cameras. He said “Why don’t you challenge yourself and see if you could make a music video just using HTC phones?” That’s all it took.

Samuel Sanders (SS): He didn’t have to win me over in the least bit. As soon we talked about the idea, I was sold! I’d been wanting to do an acoustic recording project using only phones (which is still in the back of my mind to try), so naturally, shooting a video with HTC phones sounded great. I loved the innovative mindset behind it. I’m glad I hopped on board because Patrick [Bass] and I had a blast shooting. It turned out amazing.

JD: How was the process different from using traditional video cameras or your DLSR? Did you have to develop any new techniques?

CJ: There are many similarities. Composition, lighting, etc. That’s all the same. But when it comes to zooming, focal range and focusing, physical manual adjustments – those are out of your hands. You can still pan and move the phone like any other camera, but you’re paying closer attention to how the camera is reacting on the move.

JD: You mentioned using three HTC phones, right? Was the post-production any different?

CJ: I used the DROID DNA, the One X+ and the 8X. Post production wasn’t any different from using any specific video production camera. None of the files needed to be reformatted or sized. I cut, chopped and styled it like any other set of footage.

JD: Samuel, what did you think of the end result? Are the people you’ve shown it to shocked it was all shot on HTC phones?

SS: The end result was dope. I knew it was going to turn out good, but not THAT good. The people I’ve shown the video to have been blown away and completely flabbergasted that it was shot on cell phones. A couple of them have said it looked like they were watching a video on the music channel! The quality and sharpness captured by these phones is second to none. I’ve never used an HTC phone, but this experience (video a photo shoot) has completely sold me on HTC products. I’m a fan and so is everyone who’s seen the video and photos.

musicvideo2JD: Chuck, Now that you’ve seen the HTC One, how do you think the improved sensor would fare when it comes to video?

CJ: I think it would fare amazingly well. HTC is not about the size of the image but the quality, which is the most important factor in video production.  Even at full 1080p resolution, that’s still a fraction the size of what most cameras can capture. The upgrade in the sensor will do wonders for video production when it comes to smartphone video.

JD: Any tips for aspiring smartphone videographers?

CJ: When you’re testing the limits of equipment, you are going to test yourself as an artist too. I think it’s a great way to build your knowledge of composition and editing. With technology where it’s at currently, phones like the HTC One bridge the gap from consumer and professional. That helps you progress as an artist and gives you a running start to further your view.

  • ukscj

    Will keep your tips in mind CJ
    great video
    thanks JASON DUNN for sharing this info with us, got more confidence for my photo shoot week 🙂

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=696112190 Ahmad Abdel-Aziz

    Thank you for the interview, Jason.

    I’m utterly glad that S.Sanders, now, loves HTC.

    I’m very happy that this experience has sold him on HTC Producs. That’s a success.

    Great techniques there by C.Jackson, sure it’s a challenge.

    I loved what he said “When you’re testing the limits of equipment, you are going to test yourself as an artist too”

    Thanks again, Jason.

    Shared the article all over.

  • http://www.facebook.com/d.guija David Guija Alcaraz

    Amazing quality! It’s hard to believe it’s made just with phones… but as a owner of one of the models used… I know that something like this could be made!

  • Ordeith

    I guess it isn’t just the microphones HTC stole.
    Like those, this has also been done before, and better.
    But I guess HTC won’t get the same injunction for marketing their competitors technology as they did for using it.

  • Anil kumar
  • john horsley

    The autofocus is just annoying.