Why Shoot a Feature Film on an iPhone Over Android

Why Shoot a Feature Film on an iPhone Over Android

Having used Apple systems for some years now, I might be becoming a fan boy. But it was not the reason for choosing to shoot Munnariv, on an iPhone and not Android, or any of the better smartphones out there. We shot on iPhone purely to reduce the number of unknowns.

iPhone Over Android

With Android phones the Operating System (OS) is developed by one firm, while its hardware is designed by another, and apps by an entirely different firm. Testing apps on all the countless Android phone models manufactured by the hundreds of companies is impossible.

On the other hand, Apple builds its own software as well as the hardware of their phones. It is only a handful of iPhone models that are sold at any given time. Similar to Android, third parties develop apps on the iPhone OS as well. But when an app developer claims that their app will work on a particular iPhone, we can know that it will work. This reduces the risk of apps crashing during filming.

Even though the app we used for filming (FiLMiC Pro) was available on both platforms, we choose to shoot our feature on an iPhone over an Android, so as to minimise risks.

Additional Hardware

Besides the software, we also needed lenses and attachments to enhance the visuals. We wanted something that had already been tested and known to work. Hence we went with the same gear that was used in previous iPhone films, such as Tangerine and High Flying Bird.

Shooting a whole feature on a mobile brings with itself a lot of unknowns. As far as possible we wanted to reduce them. Hence choosing to shoot on an iPhone with additional tried and tested hardware was purely a logical decision to ensure we could achieve a finished product.

Why iPhone SE?

Choosing the iPhone SE over other iPhone models was fairly easy. It was based on the following two needs:

  • 4k footage
    We had decided that the final film would be in 1080p. Hence shooting in 4k would let us zoom in on shots in the edit, create artificial dolly/track shots and so on.
  • Keep expenses low
    This was fairly obvious. iPhone SE was the cheapest iPhone that could shoot 4k. Even then we did not have the resources to buy a new one. Hence we brought a second hand phone off eBay, while eBay was still active.

Mobile filmmaking is opening up possibilities that filmmakers of the yesteryears could not even dream of. Make use of the times we live in and the opportunities it gifts us. Go make your film happen.

Hey Aspiring Filmmaker,

I debuted my film career making a feature film for ₹5 lakhs ($7,000) on an iPhone. I’d like to help you do the same. So I wrote everything I learned into a book. It is now available on Amazon, called The Indian Indie Film (or Make Your Film for rest of the world). Enjoy!

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