The iPhone 6 was launched amidst the greatest buildup of hype that has ever existed for a smartphone launch. We got to see Apple finally embrace large screens, and even launch a smartwatch. But among the various improvements Apple has made to the iPhone 6, one in particular stands out for selfie takers and amateur filmmakers alike – the camera.
What Apple has managed to do with the iPhone camera this year might usher in an entirely different breed of films shot by creative people who aren’t backed by millions of dollars of studio money.
Even before the iPhone 6, people have been making movies on their iPhones. As a matter of fact, there are entire film festivals dedicated to showcase movies shot via the iPhone. Last year, Apple introduced the capability to capture 120-fps videos at a 720p resolution. While the ability to shoot high frame-rate videos isn’t the most unique concept, this feature allowed the community of iPhone video creators to make more dynamic, stylish and entertaining products. And the camera on the iPhone 6 is even better.
The iPhone 6 Camera Capabilities
Now you can shoot 240-fps video at 720p to create even more stunning slow-motion videos. In addition, the camera on the iPhone 6 plus now automatically stabilizes your videos and photos. This means that you can take moving handheld shots without having them look like the cameraman had a seizure. For those of us who don’t want to run around with GoPro cameras and stabilizing rigs, this is a fantastic addition. Even if you aren’t a filmmaker, the ability to stable shots from your car or your motorcycle is a welcome addition.
The new continuous auto-focus feature on the camera now means that you can keep shooting a dynamic scene without losing the emphasis on the subject of your scene. This means you’ll have to do much less post-production and editing work after you’re finished shooting.
iPhone 6 & Movies
But let us talk about what this means for movies. There are plenty of movies that have been shot entirely on the iPhone, and the arrival of a better camera will only increase the amount of them. One of the more recent ones is called ‘Uneasy Lies the Mind‘ – a psychological thriller that was shot entirely on the iPhone 5 on a budget of only $15,000. Ricky Fosheim, who directed the film, has been vocal about the advantages of shooting with a smartphone camera. He believes the low barrier of entry makes the concept of shooting short movies and videos more accessible to the average user. The film has also qualified for the South by Southwest festival.
This is not to say that you won’t need any additional equipment if you’re really serious about making a professional feature with your iPhone.
You’ll need a decent add-on lens that will enhance the capability of your camera. There are plenty of good, inexpensive lenses on the market today from vendors like Photojojo, Smart Phocus and Olloclip. These will cost you about $100-150 and are totally worth the investment. You’ll also need a microphone to capture dialogue and other sound effects.
There are plenty of decent microphones you can get for under $250, such as the Apogee. When you combine these with the plethora of quality editing and film-making apps available on the App Store, you may realize this is an exciting time to be an amateur filmmaker.
Video Editing Equipment
Back in the day, Kevin Smith shot clerks on a shoestring budget with guerilla equipment. Fast forward 20 odd years to today, and you could shoot something of the same quality with less than $1000 worth of equipment, excluding the cost of the iPhone itself. When you consider that incredible films like ‘Magic Bullet’, ‘God is Dead’, ‘Die Here or at Home’ and many others have been shot with the iPhone 5 and 5s, the OIS on the iPhone 6 camera is only going to make things better.
Applications such as FiLMiC Pro will now have much better source material to work with. Neill Barham, who heads the company that created the application, has worked with the iPhone 6 to create the new version of the application. He’s stated in interviews that the new camera is able to shoot professional quality slow-motion videos. And let’s face it – everything looks better in slow-motion.
If you don’t want to buy an application to edit your videos, the default iMovie has a nifty set of features you can work with. It’s pretty safe to see that we are going to start seeing a massive surge of documentary films with the advent of the new camera. You could shoot video footage on your way to work or college and turn it into something that appears polished. You know those ideas that you talked about with your friends during countless wine-fueled late nights? Well now you can finally turn those into something tangible without bankrupting yourself with equipment costs.
Start At The Bottom
Guerilla film-making has always been around. Many of the greatest directors of our generation started with projects that had no major financial backing, and relied purely on the ingenuity of the concept and the people involved. Christopher Nolan, whom everyone now knows as the creator of the epic Dark Knight trilogy, started with a little known film called ‘Following’. Nolan shot the film on weekends because most of his cast were busy with their day jobs during the week.
Darren Aronofsky, who has created fantastic films such as ‘The Wrestler’ and ‘Black Swan’, made his debut with ‘Pi’ which had a budget of around $60,000. Fede Alvarez got the job for directing the Evil Dead reboot after the studio executives saw a short film called ‘Panic Attack’ that he had created with a $300 budget.
With the power of the iPhone 6’s camera, more talented filmmakers now have the chance to make a name for themselves.
It’s not just amateurs who have benefited from the capabilities of the iPhone either. Park Chan-wook, who catapulted to fame after he directed the classic ‘Oldboy’ in 2003, has used the iPhone 4 to shoot a short film. The Oscar-winning ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ documentary was shot in part on the iPhone after the filmmakers realized they could use an app to duplicate the results of using actual Super 8 film.
In summation, the future of film-making is more exciting than ever because of the capabilities of the iPhone 6 camera. With the DSLR-like fidelity on images and videos alike, the automatic video stabilization, capability to shoot high-definition slow-motion footage and the wide variety of applications available to process and edit video, literally anyone could create a short film or a documentary.
As wearable smartphone watches get more complex and functional, we could eventually get to a point where you can remotely control your iPhone and shoot footage. While there’s a lot of debate about the camera quality in the smartphone market, it is safe to say the camera on the iPhone 6 is one of the best available. And when it comes to shooting video footage, it stands head and shoulders above the competition.