Apple shot its entire Scary Fast keynote using iPhone 15 Pro Max

Shawn Knight

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The big picture: Modern smartphones have progressed to the point that they are now capable of capturing production-quality footage, but there's a lot more involved in a commercial-grade project than simply pointing and shooting.

Apple's recent Scary Fast Halloween showcase served as an excellent example of what's possible with a modern smartphone in capable hands (and with a sizable production budget). The entire event was shot using iPhone 15 Pro Max and led by Brian Oakes, an award-winning documentary film director perhaps best known for Living with Lincoln.

VFX specialist Jeff Wozniak said one of the most interesting things to see was how not different it was on set when shooing with the iPhone.

Aside from the camera, everything else was virtually the same as it would be on a normal set. The team utilized cranes, dollies, and drones to help get the shots they required, tapped into the Blackmagic Camera app found on the App Store, and leveraged Tentacle Sync via Bluetooth to sync multiple iPhones throughout production. The Blackmagic app allowed the crew to use the same interface they're familiar with on Blackmagic's digital cameras.

ProRes video recorded to an external drive over USB-C allowed the crew to review footage in near real time, while Apple Log afforded even more flexibility in editing thanks to its flexible color grading.

Even more impressive is the fact that most of the event was shot at night in low light, an environment where mobile cameras often struggle. Editing took place on Macs, we're told.

Apple isn't the only outfit using the new iPhone for production-grade projects. Pop star also used the iPhone 15 Pro Max to shoot the video for her latest single. The end result is indistinguishable from a traditionally shot video in terms of image quality, and even includes a number of practical and special effect sequences.

Back in 2019, Video Village used a then-new iPhone 11 Pro to recreate an iconic scene from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.

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Every phone with 4K24 and stabilization can do a great video in good lighting, the thing is when the lighting is not so good. My iPhone 15 Pro Max on low light is nothing to write home about… I see no improvement respect my older S22 Ultra. On good lighting yes, the video is better. But as most people use their phones on parties or tourism (inside buildings, medium to low light), most phones struggle.
 
Every phone with 4K24 and stabilization can do a great video in good lighting, the thing is when the lighting is not so good. My iPhone 15 Pro Max on low light is nothing to write home about… I see no improvement respect my older S22 Ultra. On good lighting yes, the video is better. But as most people use their phones on parties or tourism (inside buildings, medium to low light), most phones struggle.
So every phone is capable, because you tried 2 flagships, and then you extrapolated to the 9 million lower end phones. Alright then.
 
Actually, it's the software.
You can only correct so much for light and camera shake in software. My point was it wasn't just an iPhone it was an entire expensive gimbal, a lot of expensive lighting, and large spaces easy to shoot in.
 
So every phone is capable, because you tried 2 flagships, and then you extrapolated to the 9 million lower end phones. Alright then.
There aren’t 9M different models, if you paid attention, they are copies from some models. If there are 1.000.000 iPhones 15, I don’t have to try them all…

Besides, sensors and lenses and camera software and SoCs are built only by a few companies, so most images aren’t too different besides the extra job done by Apple, Samsung, Huawei and a couple more.
 
Any ol phone would look decent when its being wielded by a huge crew of professionals, and a near infinite pool of money to buy all the hardware needed by one of the biggest companies around.

that same formula would make the average cookout look epic too I bet.
 
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