NFTS Scotland: Filming with a Smartphone Online

Short course


Delivered via Zoom, in partnership with NFTS Cymru Wales and  NFTS Leeds 

The best camera is the one you have with you at the time - and for most of us that's our phone. In this three-hour course, documentary director Nick O'Dwyer teaches you how to maximise your smartphone's potential as a filmmaking tool. This is a really useful skill for anyone needing to shoot a taster tape, create content for social media, record interviews or  generally make their own stylish films without hiring in expensive kit.

The course will cover: 
•    how to maximise the smartphone’s capabilities – and work round its limitations
•    how to capture steady, correctly exposed pictures 
•    how to record and monitor good location sound 
•    the best additional devices to use 
•    using downloadable apps to give you more control over the camera
•    the basics of composition and framing 
•    how to achieve a more ‘cinematic’ look 

Once you know the strengths and weaknesses of your smartphone and you've learned to work with those, you'll be able to film perfectly composed, technically accomplished images in full HD or 4K. You can actually achieve pretty startling results.

About the tutor: Nick O’Dwyer has worked as a documentary director and executive producer for 28 years, making some of the most memorable and controversial films of that period. 
Nick learned his filming skills working with highly skilled DoPs, went on to shoot many of his own broadcast films and for the past five years has been enjoying filming on a range of cameras including smartphones. 

The course will be split into 3 x 1hr sessions to ensure plenty of opportunities for Q&A and breaks in between.


Fees and funding options

Fees for this course are as follows:

Freelance rate £100
Corporate rate £200


A limited number of bursaries are available for all of our short courses. If you wish to apply for a bursary to contribute to the costs of your course, please read the bursary guidelines below carefully to confirm your eligibility. Please do not apply to a course unless you are sure you meet the bursary eligibility criteria, or can pay for the course by other means.

Please apply as far in advance of the course date as possible to give yourself the best chance of securing a supported place, as we may not be able to accommodate all applications. We aim to advise successful applicants no later than 10 working days prior to the course start date. 

Once you have submitted your course application, your bursary application, and supporting documents, should be submitted to

NFTS Scotland Bursary Guidelines (Word doc)

NFTS Scotland Bursary Application Form (pdf)

If you are not eligible for an NFTS Scotland bursary, please read our Alternative Funding Avenues document (pdf) which points you in the direction of a few other places which may be able to help. Please submit your application in plenty of time as timescales for funders differ. 

How to apply

Application deadline: Register your interest

Please complete the application form to apply. You will be required to upload your C.V. 
Please also read the Terms and Conditions of booking as payment of a successful application assumes acceptance of these. 

Begin your application