Are Shot on iPhone Commercials Really Shot on the iPhone? Well, sort of …

By George Shaw

We’ve all seen the dramatic images of the “shot on iPhone campaign.” Stunning visuals, gorgeous colors, and a little something to think about. But that we may not have seen was the “additional equipment and software used” warnings in the fine print. But Marques Brownlee did.

“Are those shot on iPhone or any of those shot on smartphone commercials actually shot on smartphones? Well the answer is technically yes, but with a lot of adaptations. You can often guarantee a much better shot if you have a little gear with you.” – Marques Brownlee

If you don’t know who who Marques Brownlee is, he’s a serious technology influencer on youtube who wanted to know just what “additional equipment used” really meant.   So he did some behind the scenes digging, and he found out that often times, those commercials are indeed being shot with an iPhone, but they get a little help thanks to special mounts, drones, a gimbal, motororized remote control skateboard, and even follow focus thanks to a special lens adapter. That’s kind of cheating.

“The main point of those commercials is that it’s supposed to make you feel that you can get those kind of images with the phone you buy,” Brownlee says, “but it kind of has the opposite effect because a lot of that extra equipment isn’t available to 95% of us wanting to get those kind of images.”

But that doesn’t mean shooters can’t get close. There is some gear that can help you including add on lenses like the Moment line of lenses that mount to the phone’s protective case and offer everything from a wide angle to 10x macro or telephoto. The downside is, when you upgrade the phone, you have to buy your lenses (or the case) all over again. But the benefit is, you have a precise alignment for the lens as opposed to a clip on one that you have to eyeball the alignment to every time.

Then there’s stabilization. “To get a solid cinematic video image with your mobile device, you need to think about taking stabilization to the next level,” Brownlee says. To that end, he points to the DJI Osmo mobile, which is designed to give your smartphone an solid cinematic look. But the balance can get thrown off if you add those add-on lenses, and so you have to make a choice there.

Then there’s software. Many can shoot using the standard camera app that comes with your phone, but to get minute control over white balance, shutter speed and even aperture in your smartphone, an app like FiLMiC Pro (or Cinema FV5 for Android) will enable you to really dial in your video’s exposure. Then a color correction app like VideoGrade can really improve the color.

At the end of the day, the answer is yes, those images and videos that are “shot on iPhone” are indeed shot on the iPhone. But the secret hiding in plain sight is, they need a little help. So give your phone a leg up and improve your shots. You may not get a “shot on iPhone” commercial out of it, but you’ll be pretty satisfied with the results.

For more tips check out Brownlee’s YouTube Channel here –

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