Filmmaker Compares iPhone 7 To RED Weapon

iPhone 7 Plus vs RED Weapon
Image: Parker Walbeck

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

Camera to iPhone comparisons. Some love ’em, others hate ’em. But I never dreamed that someone would think to compare an iPhone 7 Plus to RED’s Weaponized 6K DRAGON. Can a tiny 4K sensor stand up against the beast? Is it even a fair contest? You may be shocked.

“Recently, I was challenged to make a short film using nothing but an iPhone 7 Plus. Now this is a pretty amazing camera for being in a phone, but just to see how good, I brought in my $50,000 RED Weapon, and compared the two side by side.” – Parker Walbeck

captureParker Walbeck was challenged to make a short film using the iPhone 7 Plus. So in an afternoon, he got together with a buddy and hiked in the hills while grabbing some pretty cinematic shots. The result is a short film that Cupertino would be envious to use as a commercial on Super Bowl Sunday.

But what no one could possibly know, was that Walbeck was actually shooting the film with two cameras… He had taped the iPhone 7 Plus to his RED Weapon, just to see how different the two would look.

“I understand the difference between the two cameras and recognize the RED Weapon is a much nicer camera. The point I’m trying to make is that 90% of the video content we watch is on compressed players like Facebook and YouTube… “

Now even Walbeck will admit that one-on-one, projecting onto a large screen like a movie theater, the RED Weapon has no equal in this test, and he would be right. But that’s not really the point here, as his audience was the highly compressed world of streaming on a computer or mobile device, and in that world, the iPhone thrives. So it’s the Weapon that is really the visiting team in this comparison, and the iPhone 7 Plus has the home field advantage (to use a sports term).

“To achieve the results I did, it’s not as simple as whipping out the iPhone 7 and using the native camera app.”

capture1Keeping that in mind, what Walbeck discovered is that the images were remarkably similar after a very light color correction. To achieve the results, Walbeck used the popular filmmaking app FiLMiC Pro, which offered him the ability to manually adjust the focus, ISO, white balance, etc.

Through FiLMiC Pro, Walbeck adjusted the bitrate to 100MBps, for a cleaner 4K video. While in there, he also changed the audio format to AAC, so that Adobe Premiere will read it, since AIFF isn’t supported. The filmmaker also shot at the default 30p setting, but changed it to 24p in post to give it a more cinematic vibe.

Walbeck also used his three axis Freefly MoVI M5 because he was shooting on the RED Weapon, but he says similar results can be done using the DJI Osmo Mobile. One key here though, is that you have to turn off the auto image stabilization in the FiLMiC Pro app, so the app and the iPhone 7 Plus won’t battle to stabilize the image, which causes a bit of motion warping.

Then, Walbeck took advantage of the iPhone 7 Plus dual lens capability to shift between the wide and telephoto focal lengths. This gave the film a more cinematic feel through versatility. Finally, cleaning it all up in post with a light color correction to adjust it allowed Walbeck to close the gap between the RED Weapon and the iPhone 7 Plus.

The bottom line from Walbeck’s experiment is that you don’t always need a $50,000 RED Weapon to achieve a compelling cinematic result and tell your story, especially if it’s going to be streaming on services like YouTube and Facebook.

Hat Tip: Videomaker

About James DeRuvo 801 Articles
Editor in Chief at doddleNEWS. James has been a writer and editor at doddleNEWS for nearly a decade. As a producer/director/writer James won a Telly Award in 2005 for his Short Film "Searching for Inspiration. James is a recovering talk show producer from KABC in Los Angeles, and a weekly guest on the Digital Production Buzz with Larry Jordan.

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