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Thread: Shooting flat with iPhone?

  1. Default Shooting flat with iPhone?

    Hi all,

    Due to my lack of funds for gear right now I've bit the bullet and decided to shoot a short using my iPhone and spend the money I do have on a tripod and building some DIY dolly's and steadycams. I've seen some nice results on iPhone films which would suit me fine and I'll enjoy the challenge of working with less but I have a question.

    Does anyone know if it is possible to shoot flat with the iPhone? I'll primarily be using Filmic Pro but it doesn't have any contrast or colour adjusters and the iPhone camera does tend to be over saturated.

    I could mess about and drain it in post but I was advised by a friend to get it right at the source and this is what I want for a film look and after seeing some examples I agree with him.

    Any advice?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Blog Entries


    Shooting fiat is the new 24p. Everyone's so caught up with it, but I'll let you in to a secret - it's likely to cause more hassle than reward in your case. Particularly as you won't need to colour match with other sources.

    Before you tear your hair out, try out the look you want in a test video. It's unlikely you'll gain much by shooting washed out video and then adding back contrast in post. And any perceived "dynamic range" will be completely lost when you add your film look grading.

    "Film look" is about so much more than just colour grading. It's about using the camera to tell a story. Do yourself a favour, leave the flat, 24p tips on the shelf unless you really do need them. I wish the filmmaking forums would educate on why to use certain tools, not Jump on the recent bandwagon.

    In my opinion shooting flat on an iPhone is like putting high octane petrol in a mini. You won't be making the best of the machinery, so save the hassle! I'm sure your mate will argue that it's best not to bake in settings... But you're shooting on an iPhone!

  3. Default

    Thanks for the reply. I'm new to all this so I didn't realise there was a bandwagon to jump on.

    I guess you are right though, all of the film is going to be shot outside and if the weather stays good it'll look fine anyway as there's not really a particular look I'm after but I do think the iPhone camera picks up a little too much colour sometimes and things can look cartoony.

    But like you say, test footage seems to be the way to go so I'l do that and see what I think.

    Thanks for the advice!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    London, England


    I think "Shooting Flat" is the buzz-word because of the new BlackMagic designs, where their wide-ranging sensor is deliberately flat (although this may contribute to the wide range, methinks).
    This is fixed afterwards to make the fully contrasted, colour-corrected footage many strive.
    It's a bulky camera, not cheap and not fully Pro (in the nicest sense), requiring much add-on kit to get going. It may appeal to techy film-makers, but it adds nowt to the story-line which is often the place to start, er, IMHO.

    Artistically there is nothing to prevent the creative use of iPhone, - but as with taking fantastic Stills, a Brownie can make things very difficult, eg having no sharp-focus, light-effects, etc.
    If you're famous then you might get some publicity by filming this way, but I suspect a cheap camcorder will do a far better job - although the cheaper ones may suffer from (non-) shallow Depth of Focus, such is the Mfr's desire to sharpen everything.

    OP suggested spending on Tripod and dolly - possibly good - but a stonkingly good storyline is the place to put the major EFFORT, I believe. Learning to control a FiggRig might be good also.
    Last edited by vidmanners; 06-10-2013 at 12:15 AM.

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