By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
With the solid marks that DxOMark is giving Apple’s iPhone X for its high-end camera system, it looks to be a viable option for mobile filmmakers to create content on a regular basis. So much so that filmmakers are making their next short films with it.
There have been several short films that have come out that showcase the image stabilization of the iPhone X camera, including the one above (and even Michel Gondry made one with the 7). Many of them have had a little helping hand from gimbals, sliders and other technology.
But director Matteo Bertoli has created this short film below with no additional stabilization other than the iPhone X itself. He even avoided popular third-party apps like FiLMiC Pro just to get a baseline of how the phone’s camera stabilization works all on its own.
Not exactly perfect, especially in the car, but considering it was shot using the iPhone’s standard video camera app, it’s completely usable if you smooth it out with warp stabilizer in post. And outside of the bumpy ride, the image stabilization is down right buttery smooth.
As we said before, that old chestnut “I don’t have the gear” doesn’t exist anymore. And thanks to FiLMiC Pro expanding to Android, along with RED Tools, we should soon see more cinematic apps expanding to that platform as well.
But can you use an iPhone to shoot a feature? Well that question was already answered when Searching for Sugarman director Malik Bendjelloul finished his documentary on his iPhone 5 and won an Oscar for his trouble. The film Tangerine took top honors at Sundance a few years ago. Even Steven Soderbergh has made a horror film with an iPhone.
But all those examples were using iPhones that were several generations back, and Soderbergh’s horror film may have been shot with an iPhone 7, or a pre-production version of the iPhone 8 or even X. Nobody knows for sure, but the point is, that the iPhone X and 8’s camera is getting to the point where it’s downright cinematic.
And the good news is we’ve already written that the iPhone X has the same camera system as the iPhone 8 Plus. So if you aren’t thrilled about laying out $1,000 or more, and then worrying about breaking the glass body, then you can use the iPhone 8 Plus with similar results. Though you will be missing out on the optical image stabilization that the iPhone X brings to the party.
And the future is even brighter. While Apple has only just started to deliver the iPhone X to an ever growing waiting list of eager users wanting to get their hands on it, the news is that Apple is already at work on the next generation, and looking to retrofit the rear facing camera system with a 3D sensor for more advanced augmented reality applications. But that could also mean equate to some other more interesting applications for filmmakers.
If you recall, the Face ID camera in the iPhone X can do rudimentary motion capture to create ‘Animojis.’ Sure, it’s fun and worthy time suck, but what if you could use it to create full body motion capture? The technology is certainly there. It’s just waiting for someone to take advantage of the SDK and make it happen (should Apple allow it). The phone’s will also be larger, up to 6.5 inches, making it a nifty field monitor as well.
So John Lassiter’s prediction that smartphones are the future of filmmaking once again takes a step closer to reality. I rather doubt that will be the case for all filmmaking, but it’s certainly going to be an interesting tool to have in the quiver.