$40,000 USD WORTH OF PRIZES! Zhiyun MOBILE FILM Challenge 2021 is ON!

Tips for short film submissions


ZHIYUN Mobile Film Challenge 2021 is officially here with some big prizes. You can seriously win lots, you shouldn’t miss this film challenge open to people from all over the world. This is international. I know that some of you already know that I was invited by Zhiyun to be one of the judges.

I am sure you already know Zhiyun well by now. I’ve had a chance to introduce several of their gimbals on this channel as well, such as their latest Zhiyun Smooth 5, Q3 and Crane M3 which I will be reviewing very soon. They have teamed up with Insta360, Artlist, Artgrid, Motion Array, ESR, Smallrig, Nanlite and Filmic pro and now Zhiyun is here with Mobile Film Challenge 2021.y looking forward to seeing your work.

What can you win? There is $40,000 in total in gear and prizes. One person will win the Filmmaker’s Choice award title, $10,000 US cash and all this amazing gear. There are 6 judges who will be reviewing your work. Yes I am one of them. I am pretty sure that some of the faces you see are quite familiar to you. Andy, Arian, Dmitry, Luca and of course Simon.

Film challenge has 5 categories. The winner of each category will win $3,000 US cash and all this amazing gear. Judges are: Zhiyun, Insta360, Artlist, Artgrid, Motion Array, ESR, Smallrig, Nanlite and Filmic Pro.

LINK TO CHALLENGE - ZHIYUN Mobile Film Challenge 2021

I suppose the next thing we should talk about are the categories. Category no.1 is NARRATIVES. Tell a fictional or fictionalized story, event, romance, love story, or narrative, drive us to tears. Anguish, or pure suspense with a story from the heart. Bring us into the fabricated scene you create.

Category no.2 is MINI-DOC. Record a true short film dedicated to instruction, education, or maintaining a historical record. Inform us, educate us, or provoke us to rethink.

Category no.3 is ADVENTURE. Take us through the forest, or deep down in the ocean, or climb up on the mountain high, record the journey you seek thrill on.

Category no.4 is MUSIC & DANCE. Show us how you create a perfect combination of music and dance.

And finally category no.5 is HOW-TO. Get creative with the content and format, don’t hesitate to show the audience how to do …. Anything.

There is so much room for creativity. Just choose a category which you feel the most connected with based on your hobbies, interest, access and comfortable level. Yes, you can only choose 1 category. You may not submit to several categories. You don’t need to be a professional filmmaker, you can be a beginner, you can be an intermediate. You’ve got your smartphone, you are good to go. You should think of it as a project which will push you to another level. The more challenges you accept, the more hands-on experience you get, the more knowledge you gain. Hands-on experience is the key… and this is an amazing opportunity.

Speaking of gear, what are you allowed to use? The film must be shot mostly on mobile phones with resolution 1080p or higher. So no 720p.. Sorry. You are looking at a minimum of 80% video filmed with a mobile phone. If you need to include some drone or action cam footage, you can. If you are going to be using gimbals, it doesn’t matter what brand of the gimbal it is. It doesn’t have to be a gimbal made by Zhiyun. Any gimbal goes.

Your film has to be longer than 90 seconds but cannot be longer than 4 minutes. So between 90 seconds and 4 minutes. You must also submit a behind the scenes film under 2 minutes long to show how you filmed your short film.

Another requirement also is that the film must include music from Artlist. Not entirely but must include a part of it. If you are already an Artlist subscriber, feel free to use any song from Artlist. You must include the name of the song used in the description of the video, either in the description box of Youtube, in the film, or in the email. If you are NOT an Artlist subscriber, you can download starter kit or open a free trial account on Artlist to use their music for this film. I will link this film challenge below the video so you can get access to all that there.

You may submit now, it is already open for your submissions. You have until January 20th, 2022. After that you won’t be able to participate anymore. Mark it down to your calendars. The deadline again is January 20th, 2022. Winners will be announced 7 days later, January 27th, 2022.

What you also need to know is how you actually submit your film to this film challenge. Upload the film and BTS film separately on YouTube or Instagram. Remember, you need to choose title of your film and right after of the title you will need to include category and hashtag #zhiyunmobilechallenge.So it is going to look something like this: The Horror Film is the title | Narrative #zhiyunmobilechallenge. Right after send an email to Official@zhiyun-tech.com, including the link to your YouTube video or Instagram post, and the original file download link.

LINK TO CHALLENGE - ZHIYUN Mobile Film Challenge 2021

Now that you know everything, some of you might be excited ready to go and they are about to search for the topic and want to film… others might be excited too but have no clue where to start. Might be a bit overwhelmed. I think I belong to the second group. I get excited too at first but then too many thoughts and worries, I start overthinking and that stops me from actually following through. 

In this case let me share a bit of a sneak peak of what I am up to. My 2022 is already planned, lined up. I know that I will be filming 2 short films. The first one is already in production. You will certainly know about it. These are not small projects. I am going to give you some tips now for your short film without revealing much about my projects.

The most important thing about creating a short film is not to rush the process. I know that you have a deadline to meet for this film challenge so yes you need to start now. The most important thing is the story. You have to be able to ask the audience what they took away from the film? If they have a straight answer then you had a great story, or meaning. If they will say, I don’t know, then the story wasn’t really that strong. My short film started with choosing the music first. I knew that it had to be filmed in the winter, showing off the most beautiful scenes in my area in Ontario, Canada. I also knew that I wanted to involve an actor in this short film. The music was for me the most important to match with nature. I also knew what type of look I wanted to achieve, what the actor wore, rough locations, 20% of the story. 

Since I am not a story writer I had a bit of trouble with that. So I reached out to all my friends and even family members. I sent them the music, photos, all info which could help. Well, 24 hours later, one of them, Frank, sent me an absolutely brilliant story. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people around you. It might actually be a fun project for your family or close people to you without even knowing. I was afraid to reach out but I am now glad I did that. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. What is your weakness is someone else’s strength. 

Once you know your story, your location, your actors, it’s time to think of the gear you might need, think of the time of the day, what type of light you want. Should it be daylight? Should it be overcast, night? If you are going to be filming indoors, what type of light would look the best? You don’t need much… lamps, cheap LED lights, there are things you can do to get the best result possible. 

Make sure you rehearse with your actors prior to filming so you guys all know what you are doing. I am going to draw a few sketches of scenes so we follow through because in my case I am extremely dependent on certain weather situations and light. I cannot just go anytime and film. We will have to be literally ready to go once we reach the ideal weather combination. 

Film more, make sure you have enough clips so you don’t run into situations when you don’t have enough and you will try to patch it up in the post. I say that because I used to run into problems like that until I realized that I seriously cannot rush, I need to film more… not all the clips need to be used. It is way easier to choose from many clips, rather than create what you don’t have. 

Editing doesn’t have to be complex, full of crazy effects and transitions. Sometimes less is more. If you have an amazing story, let the story shine. Don’t over edit. Make sure it all makes sense and the final outcome is something you enjoy when you are watching it yourself. Be happy with your work. Experiment, enjoy, explore. There are no rules in creativity, only focus. Best of luck, I am truly looking forward to seeing your work.