September 24, 2019

How I Made This iPhone 11 Pro Footage Look So Damn Good

iPhone 11 Test Sequoia
Last weekend, I took my iPhone 11 Pro Max for a test in Sequoia National Park.

I decided to mainly test the ultra-wide-angle camera and there's no better subject to film than the park's huge trees. In terms of camera, we need to separate photos from videos. 

The 11 Pro is a huge update compared to the previous model. Photos look better, night mode is insane, portrait mode is improved and the wide-angle camera really makes a big difference when you are trying to capture landscape or architecture.

In terms of videos, there is a slight improvement when it comes to noise (on the wide and telephoto lens) and mainly bug fixes from the previous model. For example, the extended dynamic range was working very poorly for me on the iPhone X/XR/Xs; the skin tones used to look very weird and when I was filming sunset/sunrise there was something off in the way the iPhone was managing the highlights. Now that that is fixed, the image looks much more natural. The stabilization is absolutely incredible and I think we are near a point where you don’t need a gimbal anymore, period.

I’ve never seen anything like that and even on the ultra-wide-angle camera (which doesn’t have optical IS) the software does an amazing job in stabilizing the footage.

I actually brought my tripod and slider with me, but I never used them since I was able to do all my camera movements handheld. Now, let’s talk about that ultra-wide-angle camera because this is the main difference from any other iPhone.

The ultra-wide-angle camera is not sharp at all. And this is why I love it so much! We've reached a point where sensors are so good that the image is usually extra sharp and crisp, especially when we film in 4K. This happens not just on smartphones, but on any other cameras. It's also why cinematographers use diffusion filters so much: To smooth out the highlights, decrease the contrast and to make the image less sharp and more organic.

I used the ultra-wide-angle lens for the vast majority of the time because it almost seems to have a diffusion filter in front of the lens. The other two cameras, on the other hand, are incredibly sharp. But the ultra-wide-angle lens has way more noise with low light and interiors and thus I wouldn't recommend it in those situations.

I absolutely love it, though, and it opens up tons of opportunity for creators since you can literally capture everything with that 13mm focal length.

iPhones are always ahead of the competition when it comes to video and this iPhone 11 Pro is just another great iPhone that captures amazing cinematic visuals. The real deal here is the Filmic Pro App and I think the new version is gonna be incredible, especially because users will be able to record footage from multiple cameras at the same time. I will definitely shoot another test once the app is gonna be ready!

For this video, I wanted to test the camera as it is. What you see in this test was filmed on the iPhone 11 Pro Max, the original camera app, and a Shoulderpod for a better grip -- nothing else. (Filmic Pro was not working properly, but they are releasing a compatibility software update.) 

Everything was shot in 4K 60p and conformed at 24p. The video was edited and graded in DaVinci Resolve 16. For the grade, I used our brand new BUTTERY LUTs for iPhone that we just released today (https://www.butteryfilms.com/luts). The package includes our super popular Natural Rec709 and four creative LUTs to stylize your footage. They are fully compatible with Luma Touch; you can grade your footage on the go either on your iPhone or iPad.

Speaking of Luma Touch, the only reason why I didn’t do everything on my tablet is that I could not see the external SSD in the app and I didn’t have time to transfer everything to my camera roll. My guess/hope is that Luma Fusion will release an update that will allow us to import the files directly from an external SSD and that will be revolutionary! I hope you will enjoy the video and if you have any questions just leave a comment below.

Here are some of my favorite accessories for smartphone filmmaking: Polar Pro NDs, ShoulderpodShure Mic.

Thanks for watching!     

This post was written by Director/Cinematographer Matteo Bertoli

Your Comment

17 Comments

Another NoFilm School commercial ... but hey...You'll have the best kid birthday videos of anybody the the cub scout pack.

September 24, 2019 at 8:27PM

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I legitimately do not understand what any of that means. How is a write up on NFS a NFS commercial??The author of this is a working DP who really knows his stuff. I for one would love more write ups from pros working in the industry spreading their knowledge. That should be the whole point of a site like this.

September 24, 2019 at 8:50PM

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Stephen Herron
Writer/Director
1873

It's generic nature/national park footage in an article meant to sell LUTs. There's nothing about technique in here...just "buy our LUT and your footage will look so damn good too!"

September 25, 2019 at 4:53PM

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Jeremiah Kuehne
Filmmaker
929

Exactly Jeremiah ... Thank you for getting it.

September 25, 2019 at 6:25PM

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It would actually be hard to make most of that footage look bad, unless you purposely messed up the exposure or whipped the camera around like a maniac. But, please buy our LUTs =)

September 26, 2019 at 8:37AM

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Josh.R
Motion Designer/Predator
1057

thats exactly what i was thinking, stopped reading when it got to the LUTS.

September 26, 2019 at 8:49AM

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rehan
133

I am interested now!

September 25, 2019 at 12:57AM

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“iPhones are always ahead of the competition when it comes to video...” I would say Apple finally copied what android phones had for years and playing catch up.

A friend just showed me what his Android phone can do and he had it for two years and the quality is way better than the iPhone 11 pro

September 25, 2019 at 2:53AM, Edited September 25, 2:53AM

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Johnny Wu
Director, Producer, Editor
331

What device is it?
I can think only of the Samsung Galaxy 10 or Note 10 to potentially be better than iPhone, if you're talking about video capture.

September 25, 2019 at 3:56AM

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He might be talking features instead of image quality.

As an avid Android user/Apple hater. The iPhone almost always has the better image quality.

September 25, 2019 at 10:38AM

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Alex Everingham
Video Editor
529

The footage looks okay but I don't think I would call it "so damn good."

September 25, 2019 at 2:47PM

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Rory Sopoci-Belknap
Director
115

Meh. You went somewhere with really striking visuals and got ok footage. The LUT's used were ok. That new wide-angle lens is pretty crap quality, but admittedly a fun perspective. That being said, it was fun to see my backyard (I live just down the road from there).

September 25, 2019 at 6:56PM, Edited September 25, 6:58PM

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Forrest Cavale
Creative Director
8

NFS going down the drain. It has became no film school, literally.

September 26, 2019 at 9:27AM

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I think too many young people who grew up with cell phones with cameras all their lives are reading this. If I showed this to my boss, who is close to my age, he'd probably say, "That's a very nice video." If I told him it was shot entirely on an iPhone using only a handle accessory, after he picked his jaw up off the floor, he'd probably say, "Why have we spent so much money on cameras, lenses, gimbals etc, if you can do that with a phone?!" We know there are many answers to that question but honestly, phones keep getting better and better at shooting video. To really appreciate this you have to have lugged big shoulder mount, videotape cameras around or mounted them on heavy Steadicam rigs...and this phone video still looks better. It's a good video. I appreciate the effort. Maybe I will get the LUTs if I get the phone. Thanks for sharing.

September 26, 2019 at 2:28PM

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Dave Stanton
DP
250

I don't think this footage really beats what you might get from say a T2i and some thoughtful shooting and grading. You could say it's not 4k, but who among us is watching this in full screen 4k on our 4k monitors? I think it makes more sense to just buy a camera because you get way more lens options and the added benefit of learning proper exposure techniques as opposed to relying on auto. Should filmmakers shoot with iphone, maybe for instagram stories, but with phone cinematography you are really just shorting yourself. You absolutely need to know how a camera works and the best way is hands on. My 2 cents.

September 26, 2019 at 5:34PM

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Derek Olson
Directomatographeditor
690

Thats not good footage! Period.

September 27, 2019 at 10:20AM

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Tomas Frezza
Audiovisual Designer
8

It looks amazing, iPhone camera is <3

October 1, 2019 at 4:16AM

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7 Seas Solutions
Digital Marketing Agency
8