Great work does not always require a fancy camera. While I love shooting with my Panasonic HPX170 DVCPro HD camcorder, sometimes the iPhone is a better choice when I need to maintain a low profile and I can shoot what I need with the iPhone’s fixed lens or with a wide-angle lens attachment. There are lots of great examples on Vimeo and YouTube of videos shot, in part, with the iPhone, as well as examples of works shot entirely on an iPhone. Here are seven examples of videos shot entirely with an iPhone.
- 156 Turns (3:24, Seth Schaeffer and Greg Tracy, 2010, YouTube). This is one of the better examples I’ve seen of a documentary shot entirely using an iPhone. In the summer of 2010 Seth Schaeffer and Greg Tracy shot this short documentary with the iPhone 4s. The video was neither color graded nor treated with image enhancements, however, they took advantage of the Owle Bubos (since then it has been updated and renamed to Phocus) to stabilize the camera and use a variety of lenses. It is an impressive feat to shoot an entire piece like this with a iPhone and the right accessories, the secret sauce in many iPhone videos.
- Coffee Branch iPhone Documentary (3:00, Stephen de Villiers, 2012, Vimeo). This is a nice portrait of a person and a place shot entirely on an iPhone. The filmmaker spent a day with the folks from his favorite coffee shop.
- Syria: Songs of Defiance (24:52, Al Jazeera). In this video from the Al Jazeera People and Power series an undercover correspondent takes us inside the lives of Syria’s anti-government demonstrators, the iPhone allowed the filmmaker to be less obtrusive than they might have been with a camcorder.
- iSolation (5:07, 2012, Daniel Hume, Vimeo). An exploration of isolation amongst people living in an urban center. Shot with the iPhone 4S, edited in Premiere Pro, color grading done using Magic Bullet Looks.
- Flying iPhone 4 (HD Aerial Video) (1:29, Brandon J Laatsch, 2010, YouTube). A fun video in which an iPhone is sent up carried by balloons, slyly subtitled as “the best way to fix the iPhone’s reception issues.”
- Framed – an iphone 4S short story (3:20, Mael Sevestre, 2012, Vimeo). While this is not a documentary, it’s a lovely example showing that with the combination of good story, interesting characters, proper exposure, expressive framing, and the judicious use of Magic Bullet Looks you can certainly make up for many of the limitations the iPhone imposes on visual storytelling.
- Kevin Sweet: Intervals (1:19, David Tamés, 2012, Vimeo). A short piece edited quickly, shot with an iPhone 4S and the standard video app, however, the audio was recorded using a professional lavaliere microphone and a separate recorder.Double-system sound (the term used to describe shooting picture and recording sound using separate devices and then synching picture and sound in postproduction) has experienced a renaissance in the digital era with D-SLRs and iPhones in the mix.
If there are other exemplary videos shot with an iPhone that you like, I’d love to hear about them.
Photo credit: Screen shot of FiLMiC Pro video application by Cinegenix, LLC.