The Best Camera Is The One That's With You

The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You

Unless you were living under a rock last week, you know that one of the hit films to come out of Sundance was shot on an iPhone 5s, (or more specifically, on three iPhone 5s’). I saw Sean Baker’s terrific no-budget feature Tangerine at the festival and it’s an impressive work, not just a publicity stunt. As you may know, Sean was a No Budget Film School guest speaker back in 2013. He is an incredibly talented filmmaker with several terrific features under his belt, but it’s pretty fair to say that Tangerine is (or will be) his most successful from a commercial standpoint. The film was picked up by Magnolia for a reported “high 6 figures” and will likely get a healthy theatrical release, for an indie film with no stars. It also made several critics’ Top Films of Sundance lists.
Sean contacted me back in the Fall looking for some help coloring the film. At the time, I knew he had very little money for post, but I never asked him what he shot the film on. His last feature, Starlet, had been shot on the Sony F3 using Log. I just assumed he shot similarly on this new film, so when I watched the film at its very first Sundance screening, I had no idea it was shot on the iPhone. Yes, it had a somewhat raw look, but nothing to give away its camera origins. And more importantly, Sean designed the entire feel of the film–the grading, the energetic camera moves, the moving story and raw performances–to compliment and enhance the look he was going to get with the phone’s camera. THIS IS THE KEY, Folks. It’s really the key with any camera you choose, but certainly, it’s a necessity with a lower-end camera that gives you a very specific, more limited-range look.
Knowing how Sean made his last films, I kind of assumed his shots on Highland Ave. and Santa Monica Blvd. were stolen, but I couldn’t figure out how he was getting these great “jib” moves, until I read the end credits line that revealed the camera. Of course! He probably didn’t have a jib at all. He probably just taped the phone to a pole! I’ll talk to Sean and get the full scoop for a future newsletter, but I wanted to let you know that if you’re planning to shoot your film on an iPhone, look into taking my upcoming class at the end of this month…

Learn How To Make A Film With An iPhone

I’m excited to have as one of my guest speakers for the new class Ricky Fosheim, who directed and shot the FIRST feature to be entirely made on an iPhone, And Uneasy Lies The Mind, which premiered at the 2014 SXSW Film Festival. Ricky has written extensively about how he shot with this camera and he will go into detail how he designed the whole look and feel of the film to compliment what he was going to get from the iPhone. He will discuss the interesting accessories he used (and will have the items on hand to demonstrate), and we will show clips from the film to illustrate the various techniques he utilized. We will also discuss the other non-camera techniques used to enable him to make the whole feature for only $10k.
If you’ve been waiting around to make your feature, for whatever reason, (don’t have the money yet to make a film, can’t afford an Arri Alexa, don’t know how to shoot it yourself), you owe it to yourself to attend this upcoming No Budget Film School class. This will certainly be the NO EXCUSES class!! If you’re reading this, you likely have a camera sitting in your pocket that is perfect for some kind of film, and you can take it out right now and practice with it. I’ll show you how to do the rest, confidently. And remember to use your special Subscriber discount–20% off! Use Promotional Code: SUBS
“The Art & Science of No-Budget Filmmaking"February 28 - March 1, 2015 • 9:00am - 6:00pmRaleigh Studios’ Chaplin Theater5300 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038
For more information and to register using your promo code, please visit: