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Apple did something surprising with the iPhone last night

The iPhone 15 Pro Max's camera module.
iPhone 15 Pro Max Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

How do you flex the camera chops of your flagship phone? Use it to shoot the entire launch event for flagship laptops. Or that’s apparently what Apple thinks. The company’s Scary Fast event last night was shot on an iPhone 15 Pro Max, and it’s quite a solid statement to rest the fate of a product reveal that brings in billions of dollars for Apple each quarter.

So far, both Apple and Samsung have tried to one-up each other using “shot on XYZ” adverts to sell their camera-centric phones. It’s a long history. Lady Gaga used an iPhone 11 Pro to shoot the music video for “Stupid Love” in 2020, and Selena Gomez also put her trust in the same phone for her “Good for You” monochrome video.

John Legend deployed a Google Pixel 2 for “A Good Night,” Ellie Goulding used a Nokia Lumia 1020 to record “How Long Will I Love You,” while Grimes Went a step further and recorded four music videos on a phone. All the way back in 2013, Finnish metal band Constantine used a Galaxy S4 to capture a music video for their track “World Undefined.”

Apple Event - October 30

But Apple’s latest event was the best showcase of what the iPhone 15 Pro Max can do … in expert hands. The video, which you can watch in 4K resolution, features crisp transitions, spooky moonlit cloud views, drone capture of Apple Park, and of course, Tim Cook walking past smoke to say “Good Evening” for a change.

It’s magnificent to see what a $1,200 phone can do, assuming you can afford to spend a few million on top-notch filming hardware like fancy lights, cranes, rail-mounted rigs, dollies, and drones. And, of course, a whole film crew with experts handling everything from camera, sound, and light gear to video grading, sound editing, and post-processing.

Some more shots!

— Ian Zelbo (@ianzelbo) October 31, 2023

Apple’s recent fiscal quarter ending in July saw the company post $81.8 billion in revenue, so there’s a high chance that Tim Cook didn’t have to think twice before signing the expense report for the event shoot. It also helps that Apple has a whole film and streaming show empire of its own that keeps churning out critically acclaimed content starring Hollywood A-listers.

The Scary Fast event was shot using the new Log Encoding feature on the iPhone 15 Pro series, which allows an unprecedented level of control over adjusting the color chemistry. But again, it requires an expert hand on the editing desk and expensive computing gear to handle the load. Of course, Apple stuffed Macs in its behind-the-scenes footage to send home the right message.

Full behind the scenes – Apple's Scary Fast event.
Shot on iPhone, edited on Mac.

(Got this off of twitter, reposting it)

— Ananay (@ananayarora) October 31, 2023

Just in case you’re feeling curious, Apple’s filming crew used the Blackmagic Camera app for recording the event. It’s a free app loaded with professional-level controls. It’s also somewhat of a funny situation, as the iPhone’s default camera app could use more such controls and modes to take advantage of its camera hardware.

Overall, Apple deftly marketed two product categories in one go. Bravo! But don’t be swayed and burn over a thousand dollars to get the iPhone 15 Pro just yet. I recently toured the world’s highest motorable passes with an award-winning photojournalist and was blown away by the iPhone 14 Pro’s camera prowess. If you need more inspiration, you can also read how a filmmaker shot her documentary film using an iPhone 11 in this Digital Trends interview.

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Nadeem Sarwar
Nadeem is a tech journalist who started reading about cool smartphone tech out of curiosity and soon started writing…
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