The other day we saw how good the iPhone 8 Plus camera can be in the hands of a professional photographer. Now, it’s time for Italian director, cinematographer and coloring artist Matteo Bertoli take the camera for a spin and give us a look at what it can do in the hands of a professional.
So without further ado, here is the video.
In case you are wondering why the video looks as good as it does and how you can achieve this yourself if you have an iPhone 8 Plus, here are some tips and observations.
First of all, the iPhone 8 Plus has a great camera. A great artist needs great tools and that’s exactly what the new iPhone gives you. The quality of the 4K image at this point has far surpassed point and shoot cameras and budget DSLR makers should start getting worried.
The image has been cropped to a 21:9 or 1.77:1 aspect ratio. This is a common aspect ratio for film and instantly gives anything a filmic look, regardless of other aspects. Of course, the iPhone does not shoot natively in this aspect ratio nor does it have onboard crop factors so while shooting you have to keep in mind what the image will look like after its cropped and frame your shot accordingly. The video has some spectacular framing, with multiple wide shots that fill the frame and some tight crops of wide objects, as well as really good symmetry wherever possible.
The frame rate is really the key here. As with the aspect ratio, 24 frames per second gives video a filmic look due to it being the standard frame rate for films. The entire video is processed in 24 frames per second, which contributes to the cinematic look.
Majority of the video is in slow motion. This has really been made possible by the addition of 4K 60fps recording on the iPhone 8. 60fps mode can not just be used to make things look smoother but it’s other advantage is that you can slow it down 2x in post and instantly get a 2x slower 30fps video. In this case, the video has been slowed down 2.5x to 24fps, which slows things down even further while still being smooth enough to watch. You can try turning up the YouTube player speed to 2x and suddenly everything will look like it’s moving at regular speed. The video will also instantly look pedestrian and boring.
Most of the camera work seems handheld. You can see slight movement in each shot. The iPhone’s image stabilization is correcting the major shakes and making pan shots seem like they are on a dolly (which is quite impressive in itself).
The 2x optical zoom has been made good use of here. Wide angle lenses are good for wide shots but telephoto lenses give better closeups as they distort the image less.
The key aspect of this video is that it’s mostly shot in bright sunlight. Phone cameras are great but they still struggle in low light. By shooting in bright light the cinematographer was able to get the best out of the sensor. It also made using the 2x lens practical.
The video is lightly color graded. Good color grading is like makeup; you are not supposed to notice it. Apple sets iPhone color output to neutral, which lends itself well to color grading in post as you are working with an image that’s not already overprocessed. The wide dynamic range also helps while grading and pulling up the shadows a bit in some shots.
The audio is equally important. The choice of music here plays a big role in setting up the mood for the video. Always important to capture the mood of your videos with your background score so it doesn’t get too distracting or disrupts the flow of the video. Also a good idea to match your shot changes to the notes of the music.
Of course, every film needs to be centered around a story and in this clip, Bertoli chose to make the city of Los Angeles his subject.
These are just some basic observations, which might help you the next time you choose to head out and shoot something. Important thing, as always, is to keep shooting and get better with experience.