In addition to being a communication, entertainment and organisational god-send, the iPhone 4 and 4S are fairly capable video recorders. The iPhone Film Festival (IFF), a bi-annual celebration of handheld motion picture goodness, has taken this to the next level.
If you’re considering shooting a short film, documentary or music video then you’ve probably already got a long list of equipment you’ll need to invest in. You could, however, save some money and try shooting with the iPhone or smartphone you already own instead. Never underestimate the technology in your pocket.
Paranmanjang – “Night Fishing”
Written and directed by established South Korean director Chang-wook Park, Night Fishing is a short fantasy production about a fisherman who becomes entangled in his line after landing an unexpected catch. While the whole film was shot on an iPhone 4, the film had a modest budget of around $130,000 (thanks to the director’s past successes) which undoubtedly helped pay the cast and after-effects department.
Park made a bold statement by choosing to use only the iPhone to capture the movie, though admitted: “There are some good points of making a movie with the iPhone as there are many people around the world who like to play and have fun with them.”
According to the director the size, ease of use and abundance of iPhones available allowed for some creative angles and edits not possible on larger devices. You can watch Paranmanjang in full, below.
???????? – “The Editor”
This suspenseful Russian action-flick received the runner-up award for the category of best film in the second iPhone Film Festival. Again, the iPhone 4 was used here (the iPhone 4S had yet to be released at the time) in addition to a shoulder mount from Red Rock, some car mounts and tripods were used to stabilize shots.
At just over 8 minutes long, the film tells three stories in one. There’s a touch of class with some thoughtful editing techniques and the voice acting is definitely a strong point (at least to a non-Russian speaker). According to director Chris Nong: “I didn’t use any app or lenses. I wanted it to be shot strictly on [a] phone”.
The film that beat “The Editor” to top spot in the second IFF, The Fixer is a beautifully shot, superbly edited short created on an iPhone, by a few friends. It owes a lot of its success to the extensive post-production work, but maintains the “shot on an iPhone” look and feel.
It’s really not difficult to see why this won first place – the voice acting, make-up and score match the quality and stylish post-production techniques. There’s not much of a story, but a lot of technical expertise and time went into this one.
A Short Journey 4S & Steady iPhone 4S
‘The Film Artist’ as he is known on Vimeo is somewhat of a master of shooting silky smooth iPhone video. In the first outing below, titled “A Short Journey 4S” the filmmaker strolls through his home city of London, capturing whatever strikes him with the help of a stabilizer called the Steadicam Smoothee.
In this next video the filmmaker gets a friend to show off a few of his favourite techniques for shooting handheld, including his own method known simply as the “grip”. The film itself was shot entirely handheld apart from a couple of fast-paced running scenes which use the Steadicam.
If anything, these films show off the latest iPhone’s potential when coupled with the right techniques and accessories, and should only serve to inspire would-be filmmakers.
An entry into this year’s third iPhone Film Festival, Sharkoon is a quaint and comical tale of mythical sea beasts. The team used two apps to capture their footage – iSupr8 and almost DSLR – as well as a tripod for those still shots.
It’s short, sweet and all an entry into a mobile film festival needs to be. The acting is offbeat, the editing is tight and the music makes a fine accompaniment to the warm and simplistic world that this brief encounter takes place in.
You can watch the rest of this year’s entries into the categories of film, documentary, animation and music video over at the iPhone Film Festival website. The winner will be announced on May 25, and entries are now closed. If you’re still interested in entering however, you’ve got plenty of time before the next competition in October.
This week I’ll be writing an article all about producing video content using an iPhone, so for tips, techniques and accessories don’t forget to check it out. Who knows, maybe you’ll be winning the IFF grand prize next year?
Have you made any iPhone movies or documentaries? Any favourites? What do you think about directors using consumer-grade cameras in the productions? Have your say, below.