Apps can do more than you think.
Since local lockdowns began and then were lifted and then put back in place, it’s been interesting to watch the film industry adapt. Crews have shrunk, become remote, or even become obsolete. In some cases, the talent has been required to take on more filmmaking responsibilities, like shooting and media managing themselves, while never breaking character. Though FiLMiC Pro’s DoubleTake app was not released with COVID-19 in mind, it can play an enormous role when it comes to remote productions.
Earlier in the year we had a first look at the multicam recording capabilities that FiLMic Pro’s DoubleTake provides for the latest iPhones. Shortly after New York went into quarantine, many weekly late-night shows adapted to a near crew-less workflow. Those watching at home immediately felt the absence of an audiences' laughter or the familiar set design. The editors and post-production crews for many shows have received praise for maintaining quality in remote storytelling. So where is the footage coming from?
For some productions, having the actors film themselves with smartphones has been a workaround for not having a crew on set. For the iPhone-based web series Interconnected, began shooting remotely in April 2020, and is currently in post-production. Editors quickly realized upon receiving hours of iPhone footage that the front-facing camera of the iPhone 11 records at a different frame rate than the wide and ultra-wide lens does when facing outwards. In other words, selfie-cam wasn’t lining up with the rest of the footage in the edit.
In the times of a global pandemic, FaceTime and other remote conference applications have become a crucial part of staying in touch with those we love, and therefore, a crucial part of telling the story of love and communication during quarantine. So with tons of front-facing camera footage that was intended to be composited into a “FaceTime-like” graphic, having footage with different frame rates was causing issues. DoubleTake was an immediate fix for this problem, with the ability to select a frame rate 24fps, 25fps, and 30fps for each iPhone 11 camera.
DoubleTake also allowed the actors to record themselves with the selfie camera while simultaneously recording the room with the wide or ultra-wide lens in discrete mode, meaning that both cameras were able to capture full-frame recordings at the same time, with both frames visible on-screen during recording. This provided more coverage for continuity while working with non-professional cinematographers.
There were even some cases where the actors either lived with or were co-quarantining with another actor in a FaceTime scene, so they were able to use DoubleTake’s PiP (picture in picture) composite mode to record both sides of the conversation at the same time. The editors then exported a pre-comped image with A cam and B cam saved as a single video file with the PiP screen animated during recording to save time in VFX finishing later on.
So even in a pandemic, looking to the tools you have in front of may offer the best solution over eyeing something more grandiose. You can download the app today for free in the Apple App Store.