Although, when you see all the lighting and grip gear needed for this shoot, the camera itself (no matter what it is) seems to be dwarfed by everything else!
Amazing what you can do with a $1600 iPhone, and several hundred thousand dollars worth of additional equipment and talent.
But it is an impressive “camera”. Thanks for posting.
It is unsurprising to me that they need all these additional tools to make iPhone footage look as good as they do. It is also not indicative of the iPhone’s performance as a camera.
In fact, the fact that they’re able to do this now — with ProRes flat colour profiles and everything finally supported by the iPhone 15 Pro/Pro Max — really just means that these tools are truly ready for prime time in Hollywood scenarios. Which has always been what they’re gunning for.
Folks talk about how expensive this gear is, and it’s true that all this gear is very expensive, but if you’re an aspiring filmmaker, the fact you can get this level of quality from your phone, a free app, a tripod/gimbal, and a couple lights is pretty incredible. That whole setup comes in at less than $5k, which is self-funded indie filmmaking territory, and incredibly accessible.
Christopher Nolan spent that much just printing the reels for Following. All the rest of the gear he got to use for free because of his Monday-to-Friday job as a videographer for an advertising firm. But imagine finding a young Christopher Nolan and telling him he could use his phone and do the same thing. If he had access to the lights and the mic, he could have made Following without spending any dollars beyond what he would have spent on his phone.
That’s pretty incredible.
There are a lot of new voices who will be enabled and empowered by this (and who perhaps otherwise might never have had the chance), and I don’t know why the internet has been so snarky about this achievement (apart from the fact that the internet is snarky about everything these days).
The iPhone as a video camera is a real achievement on Apple’s part. Good on them for walking the talk.
Just a few random thoughts:
- you’d have had just as much equipment behind the scenes for a pro shoot (e.g. lighting) if you’d been using a more “professional” video camera
- the sensor and camera processor sets a bar: beyond its limits you cannot go no matter how good the lighting etc. Reaching pro quality on an iPhone is impressive, even if it was in ideal conditions
- Of course an iPhone won’t match the best available video cameras, set up and used correctly and especially in “edge cases” (low light, complex lighting sources etc.)
- but it’s undeniable that you can shoot excellent video with iPhones. That lowers the cost of entry and sometime, somewhere that will unleash creativity that would otherwise never have been seen.
If you Google ‘major motion picture iPhone’ you will find several references to movies and/or scenes that have been filmed on iPhones. Martin Scorsese used an iPhone for one scene in Wolf of Wall Street, and Steven Soderbergh has filmed at least two entire movies using iPhones (7 & 8).
My experience is mainly in still photography, and IMO lens quality and lighting are the most important factors in getting a good image. Another is size. The camera has to be able to fit in the needed location. That’s one reason GoPros have probably been used in many more movies including The Martian, Furious 7, and The King’s Man.
Choosing the right camera is like choosing the right computer or tablet.
I think we misunderstand one another. I’m talking about the quality of the sensor and the phone, not the quality of the lighting. The quality of the iPhone sensor is amazing.
And I think you’d be surprised how good a “normal person” can make their videos look with decent lighting. Decent lighting doesn’t have to look like this Apple shoot. Apple’s production quality is up there with an actual Hollywood blockbuster. It’s a different level of rigour compared to almost any other production.
If you were to do a talking head documentary shoot, and film it in a room with some windows during daylight hours, and merely add a fill light (dirt cheap!) opposite the windows to prevent excess shadows, you could use the iPhone 15 Pro to get close to HGTV/Netflix quality.
That’s thanks to the new log format and the workflows enabled by USB-C, both of which were desperately needed to make the iPhone this useful in a production setting. It’s also thanks to the smarts of the image capture pipeline, which are doing a lot of work to capture a pretty flat, clean, HDR-ready image in high resolution despite the tiny size of the thing.
I think the iPhone has a long way to go as a photographic tool for still images, but shooting video is an altogether different beast, and the iPhone excels there.
Would I use it to shoot an Avengers movie? No, but the budget there is another beast. Would I use it for indie filmmaking and Youtube? Absolutely, without a second thought. Does it compare to the Venice camera they’re describing in the promo video? Probably not as well as they’d hope. But I bet it compares great to an FX3 or similar.
On the topic of Apple’s lighting rigs specifically: Good video is almost entirely about good light, but as proven by the many films shot with just natural light, one does not need to spend Apple’s budget to find it. And I don’t think people watch Apple’s marketing video and say, “Dang, I guess my home videos will look this good with an iPhone.” We like to pretend people are that dumb, and some people like to pretend they’re that dumb as a copout, but people are not that dumb.