We all know the iPhone single-handedly changed the way people shoot photos, but surprisingly, it’s also beginning to impact the world of professional filmmaking. Apple’s flagship smartphone recently made headlines at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival for the critically praised feature-length film, Tangerine, which was filmed entirely with the iconic mobile device.
Tangerine, directed by Sean Baker and now set for eventual distribution, quickly earned the backing of Magnolia Pictures. Although it lacks the heavy-hitting qualities of most blockbuster films — it features a small, unknown crew and a plot revolving around two transgender women running around Los Angeles’ underbelly — it still touts one big hook from a tech angle; the crew shot its entirety with an Apple iPhone 5s.
As with all filmmaking cameras, using just the iPhone by itself wasn’t quite enough to create a complete film. Rather, the crew relied on extra equipment to beef up the film quality, including a prototype anamorphic lens adapter from Moondog Labs, the FiLMiC Pro video app, and a Steadicam. The film crew also received a healthy dose of help on the audio front, utilizing an SD 664 production mixer, boom mics, and even a lavalier during the filmmaking process. Baker specifically pointed to the anamorphic lens as the essential part of Tangerine’s production, though. “To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t have even made the movie without it,” Baker told The Verge, further emphasizing how it “elevated” the film to a more “cinematic level.”
However, Tangerine isn’t the first production to utilize one of Apple’s many devices as a video camera. Here are some other great films shot entirely with Apple products.
And Uneasy Lies the Mind
This movie — coming in at 88 minutes in length — was shot strictly with an iPhone 5 while utilizing a mere $10,000 budget. The team used a Turtle Back Lens Adapter to equip the iPhone with a melange of different lenses, along with the same FiLMiC Pro app the crew behind Tangerine used. One drawback of using the iPhone? According to director Ricky Fosheim, the battery had a tendency to die within “two minutes” while shooting a few of the outdoor scenes in the cold.
Paranmanjang (Night Fishing)
Directed by Park Chan-wook, the man behind the South Korean iteration of Oldboy, this 33-minute film featured a “big” budget of $130,000 despite utilizing an iPhone 4 for filming purposes. However, it should also go without saying a hefty chunk of the budget went into working some post-production magic, which allowed the filmmakers to drastically spruce up the film’s visual qualities. The fantasy-horror flick features K-pop star Lee Jung-hyun as a man who encounters more than just sturgeon during what’s intended to be a mellow fishing trip.
Shot entirely with an iPhone 4S, the crew behind this three-minute short always intended to complete the project on a small budget. Aside from using the aforementioned Apple device, the small crew also opted for a tripod, slider, and a couple of clamps while filming. The entire film took a single day to film — and one more to edit — before the director uploaded it to the popular video site Vimeo.
A paltry eight minutes allow the team behind The Editor to showcase three short stories in one, all the while successfully achieving solid production along the way. However, unlike films such as Tangerine and And Uneasy Lies The Mind, director Chris Nong made a point to use nothing particularly fancy. “I didn’t use any apps or lenses,” Nong mentioned in a Vimeo comment. “I wanted it to be shot strictly on phone (sic).”
I Play with the Phrase Each Other
Jay Alvarez’s critically-acclaimed I Play with the Phrase Each Other tore through film festivals in 2014, not because of its peculiar filming style but because it featured an even more peculiar premise. Production-wise, the film shot exclusively with an iPhone – on a $17,000 budget, no less – but I Play with the Phrase Each Other’s greatest facet is the way Alvarez tells the film’s story strictly through phone calls. He expertly weaves the viewers’ perspective of what’s happening by chiming in a phone call here, a phone call there, giving audiences the sensation they’re eavesdropping their way through the story. It’s a fascinating experience, one that’s even more amazing given it was done entirely with just an iPhone.
Romance in NYC
Touted as the first film shot entirely with an iPhone 6, filmmaker Tristan Pope’s POV film Romance in NYC depicts two lovers’ everyday lives in New York City. The film expertly captures the subtleties of relationships – even the usual humdrum – rendering it as romantic as it is gripping. The crew accomplished the feat with just an iPhone 6, an HD2000 Glidecam, a Blackwing grip, and several tripods and shoulder rigs. Edits were made using the MoviePro app, which Pope further expanded upon recently alongside his inspirations and ideas for the sensational film with IndieWire.
This short film clocks in just shy of a minute and a half, but YouTube contributor Matthew Pearce’s DragonBorne is a stunning display of an iPhone 6’s production power. Pearce says he used the iOS video editing app Efexio, the FilMiC Pro app, iMovie, Movie Looks, and Video Crop during the movie’s production. In a short, behind-the-scenes shot toward the end, viewers see Pearce merely holding the iPhone 6 while shooting, showing off the device’s incredible knack for stability. He also briefly points out how the equipment used to create the flick would have cost ordinary filmmakers upward of $10,000 just a short time ago.
Next page: More videos shot with Apple products