This Park Chan-wook Short Film Was Shot on an iPhone 13 Pro

'Life is But a Dream'Credit: Apple
These new iPhones are incredible. 

They say it's not what you shoot on. It's how you tell the story that matters. But with the new cameras on iPhones, you kind of have the best of both worlds.

One of the best and most visual directors working today is Park Chan-wook. He's the mind behind movies like The Handmaiden, Old Boy, Stoker, and many other films. He's one of the great auteurs, so when I heard he shot a new short film on an iPhone, I was pretty excited to see what he did. 

Check out this video from Apple and let's talk after! 

The story is simple and magical. It's about an undertaker who needs wood to build a coffin for an esteemed member of the village. He digs up an abandoned grave and accidentally awakens the ghost of an ancient swordsman who wants his coffin back. 

This wrestling of life and death is wondrous and poetic. It was shot on iPhone 13 Pro and is full of Park’s signature flair. Also, in reading about the short, I learned that it utilizes a traditional Korean musical narrative known as Pansori as well as a traditional Korean outdoor play format, Madanggeuk. 

To shoot the short, Director Park collaborated with cinematographer Kim Woo-hyung, who he worked with on The Little Drummer Girl. If you want the technical aspects, they utilized the iPhone 13 Pro’s Cinematic Mode, macro video, night mode, optical image stabilization, and the ultra-wide camera. 

In a video press conference, Park praised Apple not only for the phone but for the company for letting him do what he wanted with the short, saying, “It’s not easy to dive deeper into genre experiments in a full-length feature film because it costs a lot of money and there is a lot of pressure. When making short films, I have creative freedom.”

What did you think of the short? Let us know in the comments.     

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3 Comments

iPhone is a good camera, but obviously it is the weakest part in the chain. It makes no sense to use such a cheap camera if one dress from the actors cost more... only if apple pays you ;)

February 23, 2022 at 2:40AM

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I disagree, this illustrates that if you put all your eggs into the story and production design, then the image capture device doesnt really matter any more. Despite being shot on a phone, this film is far more compelling than most films shot on even 35mm.

February 23, 2022 at 10:31AM

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Nicholas Ortiz
Director/Writer/Stuntman
360

Thanks for sharing this, it's great to watch movies at home during the pandemic.

February 28, 2022 at 2:08AM, Edited February 28, 2:08AM

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