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Iphone Movies Television Entertainment

Soderbergh's Thriller Shot on iPhone Premieres in Berlin (reuters.com) 62

Director Steven Soderbergh said this week he so enjoyed making his psychological thriller "Unsane" on an iPhone, he would find it hard to go back to conventional filmmaking. From a report: "Unsane", which premieres at the Berlin film festival, was shot over just two weeks - way shorter than the months a movie usually takes. It tells the story of Sawyer Valentini, who moves to a new city to escape her stalker David but finds herself admitted to a mental health institution where he works.
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Soderbergh's Thriller Shot on iPhone Premieres in Berlin

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  • a GoPro or small video camera?

    I can see the advantages of a small camera, but I don't see the advantages of an iPhone over other platforms, especially since it has a very small aperture and limited exposure control options (especially compared to a small video camera) which means that the lighting must be more difficult - and would probably require lights to be placed in holes and rigs that Mr. Soderbergh describe as not being necessary for the camera.

    In an ironic twist, the ad that shows up on the page as

    • The main advantage isn't the Camera, but the fact that you have a device that you use for a bunch of other stuff with a Camera good enough for quality video work if needed.

      Often with technology the generic consumer device gets to a point where getting a specialized device just isn't worth it, because the difference is much more minute. While the convenience of a general purpose is quite handy.

      I am sure this could had been done nearly as well with some sort of Android phone too. There is no Magic Apple featu

      • The main advantage isn't the Camera, but the fact that you have a device that you use for a bunch of other stuff with a Camera good enough for quality video work if needed.

        Often with technology the generic consumer device gets to a point where getting a specialized device just isn't worth it, because the difference is much more minute. While the convenience of a general purpose is quite handy.

        I am sure this could had been done nearly as well with some sort of Android phone too. There is no Magic Apple feature, but it may be the fact it was the phone he had.

        I can't think of any advantages other than the nice built-in monitor or perhaps the different mood it creates on set. I suspect it's an artistic statement, or even a gesture to encourage budding filmmakers to get shooting with what they have. You could very easily produce a better looking film with the same time and money constraints using cheap still cameras instead. An iPhone has a phenomenal camera for the size, but nothing beats a bigger sensor and bigger sensors aren't expensive.

      • by Cederic ( 9623 )

        a Camera good enough for quality video work if needed

        Ah, bullshit. I'll bet he had several kilos of other tech with him to go with the iPhone.

        By the time you're carrying all that crap the choice of sensor is fairly interchangeable. Adding a gopro or a different mobile phone is fuck all difference.

    • by gnick ( 1211984 ) on Friday February 23, 2018 @01:19PM (#56176609) Homepage

      What makes the iPhone Superior to... a GoPro or small video camera?

      Snapchat filters. During the really intense scenes, the psycho-stalker has a puppy nose and floppy ears to cut the tension.

    • Workflow, timecode, latency

    • "a GoPro or small video camera?"

      You can't get Trump tweets on a GoPro.

  • by Greger47 ( 516305 ) on Friday February 23, 2018 @01:02PM (#56176497)

    What?!

    Entierly shot on an iPhone and there is no VV syndrome? I don't believe it!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    - greger

  • by Headw1nd ( 829599 ) on Friday February 23, 2018 @01:20PM (#56176617)
    i wonder if Apple is offering some special technical support to get people to do these kinds of things. If they're not, they really should.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yep, they do lots of stuff for filmmakers. They do courses at Apple stores and have a big online creative section and showcase.

  • The phrase, "shot on an iPhone" is enough to keep me away from it on the big screen. If hand-held filming styles, e.g. "found footage" movies, make you feel a little queezy after a while, just imagine what watching 90 - 180 minutes of hand-held iPhone footage feels like.
    • by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Friday February 23, 2018 @01:48PM (#56176843) Homepage Journal

      There is nothing preventing them from mounting the iphone on a tripod or a gyro-stabilized drone.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I hear you dude, but at least watch the trailer [youtube.com] before you judge.

      • I watched it. It looks shit. It looks like he's deliberately gone for a first-year film student vibe. Some really lazy shot choices in there, and technically it looks horrible. No depth of field and the shutter speed and frame rate look off.

    • by djbckr ( 673156 )
      It was shot conventionally using rigs for stabilization. If there is "found-footage" in it, it doesn't appear in the trailer.
      • So really you can shoot a film on any camera or smartphone under the same conditions, i.e. rigs, stabilisers, etc. ($30,000+), and a professional crew to operate it all. So it's possible to swap out the iPhone and put in an LG, Samsung, or a Red 8K video camera ($80,000+). And what did they do for the sound recording? In many ways, sound is more critical to getting the story across than the video image. I wonder if they used the iPhone's built in mic?

        For the average person who'd like to make home movies, th

    • My iPhone 6 has optical image stabilisation and it makes a huge difference compared with footage I made using my earlier devices (cameras or phones). I'm sure the later phones are even better but my footage looks very smooth and stable and nothing like your typical found footage stuff. Where I would worry more is in how the phone handles lighting conditions.

  • ... Soderbergh remembers to hold his iPhone horizontally. And the actor all hold their guns vertically.

    This will go a long way to not making this move look like shit.

  • All of the posts on here are about the technical aspects of shooting with a phone. (Mount it like you would a normal camera and other than lower resolution it should work about the same). But a good movie doesn't need great camera effects (just enough to not make you feel nauseous from the shaking). If the movie is truly good, you don't even need the dialog. Less focus on "production" values and more on storytelling seems refreshing.
    • (Mount it like you would a normal camera and other than lower resolution it should work about the same)

      Sure, it'll work about the same. As long as you want it to look like it was shot on a phone.

      There's a certain language of cinematography we've come to understand from the cinema-going experience. Shutter speeds, frame rates, depth of field, colouring, the shapes of lenses, all of those things contribute to it.

      From the trailer it actually looks like he's tried to make it look like a film-student level production. Maybe that's what he wanted, and maybe it is a good film, but I think it would distract me.

      If the movie is truly good, you don't even need the dialog.

      That

      • I want the move to tell me a fascinating story that would be hard to convey as pure text. But I concede that others may want something different from the experience.
  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Friday February 23, 2018 @03:16PM (#56177375) Homepage

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    If he's trying to make it look like a no-budget amateur movie, he's succeeded. Not only is the actual technical quality cheap and nasty (depth of field, lens distortion, shutter speed), it's also been coloured in an ugly way and he's chosen what seem to be stereotypically amateur angles and shots.

    • No no no no. You don't understand. Having every scene shot in the same form factor with the same focal length with the same off exposure is not "amateur" it's "artistic".

      He says he can't go back to traditional movie making. Well after trying to create tension on a single focal length it makes me wonder if he was ever able to.

    • Personally, I find all those films before the 60's to be completely unwatchable crap. What moron thought it would be possible to tell a good story, or create tension, without COLOR?

      Cheap and nasty.

      • We associate black-and-white with "old." We don't associate it with "cheap and amateurish," which is what this looks like.

        • by garote ( 682822 )

          I know; for one thing there isn't a single CGI effect visible. Talk about cheap. Michael Bay, now there's a guy who makes expensive, quality films.

          I mean, clearly this is just a stunt. It doesn't, for example, folow cinéma vérité custom by presenting the imagery as though it was shot by, or of, an ordinary person using their ordinary equipment. Which is totally unlike, say, Stephen Spielberg filming Schindler's List in "old" black and white specifically to invoke a documentary feel, excep

          • filming Schindler's List in "old" black and white specifically to invoke a documentary feel, except adding splashes of color for symbolic purposes, and subsequently winning an academy award for best director for his "cheap and nasty" decision...

            Make up your mind. Is black-and-white "old" or is it "cheap and nasty"?

            You're completely missing the point.

  • ... was shot over just two weeks - way shorter than the months a movie usually takes.

    The shooting ratio with film is typically 6:1, with video it's 20:1. YMMV.
    This isn't because they spend less time doing a scene, it's because they keep the camera's rolling even during the stuff they "know" they're going to cut out later.
    I.e. they shoot more video because video is cheaper.

    There's setup (getting everyone in the right place, facing the right way, with the right props and the right lighting), retakes, and alternates (when you shoot video multiple ways because you don't know which one you like

  • "New technolgy" becomes broadly available ("Videotape" in the case of "Eyes Wide Shut", smartphone with so-so camera in the case of "Unsane"), and somebody feels compelled to make an artsy movie with it - that looks like shit.

    Boooooring!
  • Wide angle all along, washed ambient colors, the trailer shows that images are not as pleasing as with a bigger camera.
  • by hcs_$reboot ( 1536101 ) on Friday February 23, 2018 @08:29PM (#56179421)
    "shot over just two weeks - way shorter than the months a movie usually takes" ... why shooting on an iPhone would reduce dramatically the time it takes to release a movie? Most pro video cameras are digital anyway. Doesn't really make sense.
    • by garote ( 682822 )

      From the look of the footage, Soderbergh has also ditched the expensive and cumbersome lighting kit for almost every scene. That also in turn cuts way down on the need for studio space. You can even run-and-gun your outdoor scenes without shutting everything down beforehand.

      Also it helps that Soderbergh is a VERY experienced director and has probably broken out the entire movie into complete storyboards so he can farm most of the shooting out to assistants and they can go all at once, and he knows how to

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