October 2, 2015

Check Out the First 4K Short Film Shot Entirely on an iPhone 6s

If you've been wondering about the filmmaking potential of the new iPhone 6s, wonder no more.

Though plenty of videos have surfaced that put the 6s' 4K video to the test, the journalists that make up RYOT have made the first 4K short film using the smartphone, revealing just how powerful of a tool the iPhone 6s can be. You can watch The Painter of Jalouzi below.

Now, even though the iPhone 6s can produce great images on its own, RYOT, like many other smartphone filmmakers, use special tools to make the smartphone more powerful. RYOT used an mCam cradle that allowed them to mount high end camera lenses, handheld stabilizer from ikan, and a DJI Phantom to capture those beautiful aerials. The filmmakers detail their process in the BTS featurette below:

Ever since the iPhone 6s dropped in mid-September, we've been wondering how its new 4K camera compares to its predecessors. Camera+ co-founder Lisa Bettany completed a thorough side-by-side comparison of all of the iPhone iterations, putting it through a series of different tests, including macro shots, backlight, daylight, portrait, and sunset to name a few. If you haven't checked it out, I highly suggest that you do so.

Macro test
Macro (detail)
Backlit macro
Backlit

There's no doubt that filmmakers are starting to realize that films can be well made using smartphones. Sean Baker's Tangerine was shot on an iPhone 5s, Swiss TV Station Léman Bleu has done away with traditional TV cameras and now shoots entirely on the iPhone 6. Even though they have big limitations when it comes to cinema level filmmaking, smartphones are incredibly powerful tools now, and it's exciting to see the work filmmakers are doing using them.      

Your Comment

37 Comments

Actually I'd take an ARRI Alexia.

October 2, 2015 at 4:02PM, Edited October 2, 4:02PM

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Jerry Roe
Indie filmmaker
881

Err, umm- you mean, Alexa!

October 2, 2015 at 4:21PM

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Breht
Filmmaker
169

ALEXA.

October 2, 2015 at 6:22PM

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Jerry Roe
Indie filmmaker
881

Well, an Alexa is a bit more expensive than a phone (I guess those filmmakers were on a budget or they wanted to test the maximum quality of a smartphone sensor). If they can make a production like this with a phone, imagine what they actually can do with an Alexa....

October 2, 2015 at 6:15PM

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Lutte Kikker
Photographer
244

I think you're talking about purchasing an Alexa. You can always rent one. it's cheaper! Heck, I'd of taken a blackmagic pocket, or sony A7s. Buy someone had to be first.
Wonderful short.

October 2, 2015 at 10:20PM

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Vincent Gortho
none
624

"I'd of taken"

What does that mean?

October 9, 2015 at 2:59AM

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David Gurney
DP
1349

They say in the video that Apple asked them to test out the new 6s. I watched the doc until the scene with the girl painting the fence that obviously wasn't shot with a standard iphone, then the BTS shows them with various lenses attached. Overall hardly a proper test.

October 5, 2015 at 4:05PM, Edited October 5, 4:05PM

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Very good mini-doc. It's done very well and I'm surprised it was shot on an iPhone 6s. Congrats!

October 2, 2015 at 4:21PM, Edited October 2, 4:21PM

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Breht
Filmmaker
169

4K on the iPhone now? Man, I really gotta get rid of my GH2...

October 2, 2015 at 5:58PM

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Samsung has 4K on their Note 4 and Galaxy S5 for years already. Apple iPhone is just late with 4K really. GH2 has much better Image quality (even in FHD).

October 2, 2015 at 6:20PM, Edited October 2, 6:20PM

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Lutte Kikker
Photographer
244

and what about the Panasonic Lumix CM1? Scarily expensive but possible better than the iPhone for camera?
http://www.cnet.com/uk/products/panasonic-lumix-cm1/

October 4, 2015 at 6:15PM

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Julian Richards
Film Warlord
1092

That camera/phone has potential but only 15fps at 4K. Samsung and LG offer 4K Android variants at full frame rate. If Panasonic is hoping to compete with the iPhone 6 series (including S), hopefully, the company can address this shortcoming in a firmware update.

October 5, 2015 at 10:21AM

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Jefferson Donald
Director
187

That's certainly something Panasonic don't say much about. Absolute deal breaker for a film maker. What were they thinking about? I wonder what Chinese phones are any good for 4K. Their development cauldron bubbles so furiously, it's hard to keep track of what's what.

October 6, 2015 at 5:00AM

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Julian Richards
Film Warlord
1092

Xiaomi Mi4C shoots 4K for $240/£163/€214. Limited test footage on Youtube.

October 8, 2015 at 7:08AM

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Julian Richards
Film Warlord
1092

The galaxy has been able to shoot 4K for one year, about three months prior to the 6S was able, and they don't compare in quality. Also, good luck using your shitty Samsung for an all-around on-the-go editing suite like you can with the iPhone (if you're good at it).

July 26, 2016 at 8:09PM, Edited July 26, 8:09PM

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This mini doc is a very solid advertisement... cough, i mean a very solid proof of the accomplishments smartphone cameras have got to achieve. But come on! It's not shot on an iphone. It's shot on an iphone, accompanied with thousands of dollars of gear and production value. I can't imagine who an earth, with plenty of money, could choose to shoot with an iphone, except if he was paid to do so or if he wanted an extra reason for more lights on him.
This mini doc is nice, don't get me wrong. It's more about the ethics i think. Generally speaking. Motivation coming for promotion reasons and not from a deep and honest need to capture those poor people's lifes. Choosing to promote the camera more than the subject. Seeing that being done so prominently, it just distructs me.

October 2, 2015 at 6:05PM

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Panos Economou
Director / Editor
335

I agree with you on this, the danger is that people "might" think they can easy make a film production like this on an Apple iPhone 6s, which is not the case. Also, I was not really impressed with the blocky structures now and then (especially when you see the green shirt). Yes, it's amazing phones can film in 4K and all that, but for the price, I'd buy a cheaper UHD camera like the Panasonic FZ1000 or G7. Better quality, more settings to choose from and a much higher bitrate for around $700,- .....

October 2, 2015 at 6:24PM

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Lutte Kikker
Photographer
244

If you are shooting a low budget movie, why the insistence on 4K? If you have the proper money to do proper 4K then that's all well and good, but if you feel that you have so little money for the whole of your movie that you have to use a mobile phone then maybe save 4K for the next one when you hope to have more funds.

October 5, 2015 at 9:18AM

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Julian Richards
Film Warlord
1092

100% agreed my friend. I guarantee that audio came from an external recorder, and not the onboard mic. My point being is that any phone will not be an all-in-one package for such a project.

October 2, 2015 at 7:05PM

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Charles Duoto
Instructor & TV Production Crew
1337

in the BTS there's a 70-200 hooked up to the phone. totally unrealistic set up for anyone other than someone paid to do a promo piece

October 2, 2015 at 10:15PM

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Don't forget the Apple Watch he's wearing in the BTS video.

October 5, 2015 at 7:53PM

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You clearly just don't have the talent there, champ. This was shot ENTIRELY on an iPhone. It used other lenses, but shot entirely on an iPhone.

Kind of like if you say, "This feature was shot entirely on a DSLR." Okay, but I'm sure you don't need to ask whether they used lenses and not just the body. It's common fucking sense.

July 26, 2016 at 8:11PM

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Shooting on a I-phone......so what! "Searching for Sugar-man", was shot in Super Eight, and won an Oscar. I don't get the excitement of something being shot on a telephone. Maybe I'm old school, but I always thought that.....It's all about the story.

October 2, 2015 at 6:26PM

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Jerry Roe
Indie filmmaker
881

No you're right it's always about the content not the camera.

October 8, 2015 at 7:52PM

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Enrique Godinez
Director/Producer/Actor
350

I am actually quite angry about promoting iPhones for television broadcast, calling it exciting to see "tv-stations" like the swiss one to stop using professional camera people and jumping to coverage by iPhones is just plain and plain sad. It's just a matter of time until these producers get their head out of their iPhone-asses and start respecting decent camerawork again, and that saving a few dollars is not necessarily a good thing.

October 2, 2015 at 7:50PM

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Next thing: iphone7 as a workstation for post production. iphone8 as a renderfarm for CGI features.

October 3, 2015 at 12:31AM

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Einar Gabbassoff
D&CD at Frame One Studio
1044

I did hear something about MK12 switching entirely to iphone8 renderfarms. Their new shit is going to be SO sick! lol

October 8, 2015 at 10:24AM

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phil kwarta
Video Editor
154

I'm actually impressed it was shot on a phone. Genuinely. I don't think the image was by any means spectacular but at the same time I don't think I would have ever flagged the quality of the image if I was to see this WITHOUT knowing it was shot on a phone (bar the one or two softer shots but most docs end up with a little rough b-roll here and there) and surely that's not a bad thing. I'd love to see the video image on phones improve, even if it's just for personal stuff - it would be ace to have a tiny run and gun in your pocket and that has to start somewhere right? I mean some of the best stills I've taken were with my phone simple because I had the damn thing with me at the right time.

Einar Gabbassoff, you joked "iphone7 as a workstation for post production. iphone8 as a renderfarm for CGI features" but dude in all honesty I see that as the future.

Imagine if your phone is your desktop when you plug it into a monitor, mouse and keyboard (functionality I heard they were trying to push with Windows 10). I don't think it's unlikely at all that with the exponential growth of technology, within the next decade we'll easily see phones that are powerful enough to run production software (of course I'm sure a desktop will always trump a mobile device simply due to size but still). I mean even the Surface can run most software and playback RED footage if you choose so we can't be far off.

Anyway, my point is we will ALWAYS have the need for our workhorse kit but how cool would it be to be able to shoot and edit something on your phone with a few accessories, even if it's just for fun (god forbid).

I dunno... maybe it's just the excitable uber-geek inside me but I can totally dig that future!

October 3, 2015 at 6:13AM

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Nice futuristic thinking there, Mr Kraig! I wish we were living in a world where industries were aiming for the best product and not fighting schedules and earnings. For example, almost all brands cannibalizing mid-range smartphones to only 1Gb of ram, making them almost unusable, just to promote flagships(like 1 gig more ram costs a fortune). Or new products coming out on a time schedule and not on an innovation one.
Since more items usually cost more than one and there are conflicting industries, i cannot see the super portable all-in-one shooting and editing device any time soon. Smartphones will always have the size factor against them, not enough space for a big sensor. But i like to dream of such a device. A very capable camera, with interchangable lenses, where you can pick your wireless mouse and start editing on it on the go, wearing something like an oculus vr as a monitor. A canon c100 mark VIII powered by adobe! Making unloading footage to a pc something of the past.
I dunno... maybe it's just the excitable uber-geek inside me, hehe!
What i'd like to see now, is a flat profile option on these phones.

October 3, 2015 at 7:19AM

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Panos Economou
Director / Editor
335

Has a more attractive color palette than BlackMagic cameras.

How long until phones will be doing 6K?

October 3, 2015 at 7:35AM, Edited October 3, 7:36AM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
651

Not bad, but you should see this feature I shot on my rotary phone.

October 3, 2015 at 11:37AM, Edited October 3, 11:37AM

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Here's the thing for all of us gear-centric film makers to realize: Yes, there will always be pro gear better than consumer gear. Big deal.

However, the consumer gear is evolving into very capable products. They are already at a place where their IQ is better than our most celebrated film makers from a generation ago had through most of their careers.

When almost everyone on the planet has devices that can create wonderful images, what exactly are you, as a GAS afflicted tech-head, going to be offering? Owning that pro gear is not going to matter as much as things move along.

We need to come to terms with that rather than just scoffing how this consumer stuff doesn't match up to what the big-boys use.

October 3, 2015 at 11:44AM

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The thing is it doesn't matter. Content is always what matters the most not the gear. Just because an iphone 6 shoots well it doesn't mean you are gonna do groundbreaking things with it. Everybody can record nice images now but not everybody can create great and impressive content.

October 8, 2015 at 7:55PM

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Enrique Godinez
Director/Producer/Actor
350

The documentary is good and beautiful. The image has some quality and the editing is very good. But, if you have just an iphone 6 you can't get something like that. These guys used a lot of gear. They used a zoom several times bigger than the iphone attached to it. More than that: a drone, gimbal, etc. ¿Do the used a studio for the sound? Probably.
Besides, they know how to shoot. If you are a regular person the footage you can get from an Alexa will be bad. If you are a proffesional you can get a good video even with a iphone.
By the way, there are actual cameras out there better and cheaper for filmaking than an iphone. Only if you don't have your gear with you, the chance to film something interesting suddenly appears and you only have your smarphone, then it is worth it to use it.

In a nutshell: if you only has an smarphone use it. If you really care about filming and don't have enough money buy a camera instead an iphone.

October 3, 2015 at 12:16PM

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Cool that it was shot on an iPhone with 4K, but the jittery-ness killed the immersion for me. Would rather have 480p without the jitter than the 4K. But, of course, that's my opinion.

October 3, 2015 at 12:30PM

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Auke-Jan Weening
Filmmaker
69

Does the Moondog anamorphic lens step the whole iPhone moviemaking up a gear?

October 5, 2015 at 9:27AM

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Julian Richards
Film Warlord
1092

Cool so basically if i stand VERY still this phone will produce a decent image....but if i move at all i should basically use a T2i? Great!

October 7, 2015 at 8:00PM

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phil kwarta
Video Editor
154

Bullshit. They used a lens adapter and other external junk.

What a tired gimmick. Just like calling low-bitrate, color-decimated, interframe-compressed-to-hell footage "4K." Or "HD" for that matter.

October 9, 2015 at 3:01AM, Edited October 9, 3:06AM

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David Gurney
DP
1349

What a beautiful film. Can't wait to go back to iphone.

October 9, 2015 at 1:40PM

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Daniel Duerto
Everything is me
182

Get job! I'm impressed!

October 10, 2015 at 1:04AM

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William Scherer
Producer, Writer, Director, Aerial Photography
376