To test the new hardware, we gave an iPhone XS Max to the film
director Jon M. Chu. The Crazy Rich Asians director shot a short
film for Wired, and the results are truly special.
“I had literally zero equipment,” says Chu. “I see a lot of
samples of iPhone videos, and sometimes they use different lenses
or professional lights. I didn’t have any of that.”
Chu shot the film — a view into dancer Luigi Rosado’s
rehearsal space, titled Somewhere — in 4K using the iPhone’s
native camera app. It was all shot handheld using the phone’s
default stabilizing system. And while he edited the video on a
computer, Chu didn’t apply any color correction or any
post-production tricks. What you’re seeing is the default
output of the iPhone’s camera.
Chu is, of course, a masterful filmmaker. He could make a great movie with an iPhone 3GS. But it’s fascinating to see the potential of the XS camera. This is just a gorgeous film. And it doesn’t just show off the image quality and slow motion capabilities — it really shows off the stabilization. When you watch the tracking shot at the end keep in mind he wasn’t using a gimbal — it was truly handheld.
The democratization of professional quality video cameras for filmmaking is one of the great technical achievements of the last two decades. 20 years ago you’d have had to spend thousands of dollars on film to make a short movie that looks this good. Now you just need your iPhone.