Can you believe this was shot on a smartphone?
I wrote a blog some time ago called After Bedroom producers, will there be bedroom filmmakers? Where I discussed how technology in filmmaking will be better and cheaper as time goes by. This will inevitably democratize filmmaking and give aspiring filmmakers the chance to visualize their story. It's already happening and people are making amazing stuff everyday!
I must admit though, this is something I didn't expect! Apple's new iPhone 13 just added a feature called Cinematic mode! But what is it exactly? Well I don't want to get into technical detail but Apple has managed through software to give a "cinematic" depth of field in the video mode of the iPhone and also the ability to record that footage in pro-res which is an industry standard file for Hollywood filmmaking.
But what does that all mean and why I consider it an industry shifting event perhaps just like when the first DSLR started to record video?
There are several reason so I'll try to break them down from different aspects. The aspiring filmmaker, the professional filmmaker and the viewer.
The aspiring filmmaker
As someone that wants to experiment with filmmaking and to start developing their own style I couldn't thing of a better tool to get started with! Your own phone that shoots almost like a starter dslr. Sure it's more expensive, but you were going to buy it anyway and now it's always going to be in your pocket, which means you will always be able to capture that b-roll you were looking for! Add a gimbal for your phone and you will also have smooth shots that certainly don't look amateur! If you also do editing and some color grading you could probably get that footage looking pretty professional provided you shot your scene under the right conditions. Yes, like I said before the 3 "L's" still count! Lights - Lens and Location!
But you know what? It doesn't matter - this device with a couple of your friends can help you make your first short movie or film. It wouldn't be the first time an entire film was shot on an iPhone but now it will have a depth of field and better file codecs! People are already doing amazing videos on their phones and Apple has realized that the need for better video quality whether its for vlogs, TikTok , social media or even short sketches and movies is rising exponentially every day! and they tapped into that market!
The professional filmmaker
This is probably not a reason to buy the iPhone, but it is a very valid reason to asses the future in filmmaking through the technology behind that phone. Keep in mind Apple has already admitted it's not as good as it will get in future software updates, and if that's their starting point there are plenty of things think about for the future of filmmaking.
Obviously I'm not talking about Hollywood level stuff, but I can definitely see a future where plenty of other professional applications could be used to it. Also don't be too quick to dismiss it, since it's software bokeh even though it's not as good as a real lens bokeh, it gives the ability to change the focus AFTER the shot was taken. This is probably going to be something future professional DSLRS will look into to see how that can be implemented on their products. They already have amazing autofocus but the idea that one can change the focus on edit is something that can bring in new techniques in filmmaking.
I'm certainly seeing a movement being build behind the "cinema mode" the new iPhone is offering. Perhaps entire film festivals dedicated to films shot on smartphones, which by then they will have found their own version of "cinema mode". This would be a very interesting development. Until then I would keep a close eye on how people are using this feature because one day some one will do something very creative with it that changes the entire game.
Again, technology has made you the beneficiary of access to amazing things that you will be seeing in the future. People will get more creative and soon you will be watching new ideas emerge through social media and YouTube because of this!
After all at the end of the day, filmmaking is all about telling a story through angles, dialogue, lighting and editing to convey it as best as possible. It's only a matter of time until some kid makes something so amazing that it will certainly open the doors for them! It doesn't have to be with the best camera in the world, as long as what you are watching is engaging and has something to say! The iPhone 13 is certainly a tool that will make "filmmaking" more accessible than ever in the history of filmmaking!