Shot on iPhone

Shot on iPhone frame at the end of their Scary Fast event
Shot on iPhone frame at the end of their Scary Fast event

Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” frame unveiled at the end of their “Scary Fast” event exceeded my expectations. The integration of CGI was so sophisticated that it challenged my perception of what’s achievable with the iPhone 15 Pro Max. It left me eager see the behind the scenes right away. Apple then promptly released the BTS of the keynote and the interviews, providing undeniable evidence of the iPhone 15’s remarkable versatility.

The video quality that the iPhone 15 Pro produces is impressively comparable to high-end cameras, which is a testament to Apple’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of technology. The seamless integration of devices within the Apple ecosystem, along with third-party hardware such as external Solid-State Drives and camera monitors revolutionizes video production.

The transition to USB-C was definitely a milestone on the iPhone. Although it would have been preferable for Apple to emphasize this more. They seemed somewhat reluctant to completely abandon their Lightning ports on the iPhones.

That’s a lot of SSDs
That's a lot of SSDs

Full production DIT cart from Shot on iPhone behind the scenes
Full production DIT cart from Shot on iPhone behind the scenes

Apple’s decision to film their event using an iPhone wasn’t just about adhering to the best filmmaking practices. Rather, it was a carefully thought-out marketing move, a show-stopping display, and a powerful showcase of their technological prowess. This bold move stunned the filmmaking world, with many meticulously analyzing every detail of the production to grasp its impact on the iPhone 15’s reputation as a pro-level camera.

Tim Cook on set for Scary Fast at Apple Park, Image: Apple
Tim Cook on set for Scary Fast at Apple Park, Image: Apple

People’s interpretation of Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” campaign may be somewhat misguided. The utilization of high-end equipment during the production period, including drones, dollies, cranes, and the custom SpaceCam rig, can of course significantly escalate production costs. Given that this was a full-scale video production, and Apple’s reputation for product launches, they would have spared no expense, whether they opted for an Arri Alexa or a Blackmagic camera for the keynote. Elements such as lighting, production design, and rigs all contribute to creating a high-quality production and achieving a “professional” look.

iPhone 15 Pro Max in a custom SpaceCam, Image: Apple
iPhone 15 Pro Max on a custom SpaceCam, Image: Apple

iPhone 15 Pro Max in a dolly, Image: Apple
iPhone 15 Pro Max in a dolly , Image: Apple

For average consumers who primarily use their iPhone for everyday tasks like texting, calling, or capturing photos of their pets to post on social media, these pro features might not make a noticeable difference unless they actively explore them. To be clear, Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” campaign doesn’t suggest that owning an iPhone instantly turns one into a professional videographer. Without access to high-quality video equipment and a comprehensive understanding of camera movement and settings, it remains implausible for the average individual to replicate that “professional look” solely by owning an iPhone.

Custom SpaceCam!
Tim Cook on set for Scary Fast at Apple Park, Image: Apple

I actually love seeing these YouTubers/filmmakers create shorts with the iPhone 15 using the Log feature. You may choose to push the boundaries of your iPhone 15 or you might experiment with the Log feature to add a creative twist to your colors in post-production. The important thing is to leverage these features and insights in a way that enhances your artistic vision and objectives.

Remember, great films have already been made using smartphones. Take Tangerine (2015) by Sean Baker, for example. It was shot on an iPhone 5s and still scooped up loads of awards at film festivals.1 This just goes to show that there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to choosing your camera. So when it comes to the phrase “Shot on iPhone”, it can mean whatever you want it to mean. It’s all about your own unique journey as a filmmaker and how you choose to use these tools. After all, the true meaning of this phrase comes to life when you start creating and sharing your own stories using the tools you love.

  1. Funny Apple politely told them, “We wish you luck” according to the producer. ↩︎

Thoughts? Email me.

Did you find this post useful?

Please consider sharing it with your friends. This blog is entirely self-funded, and relies on the generosity of readers to keep things active and ad free. If you would like to support my work, you can make a one-time or recurring donation here

Buy Me A Coffee