Size doesn’t matter anymore. In theory, we all carry a whole film crew in our front pocket. Steven Soderbergh’s new movie “Unsane” proves that smartphone filmmaking is ready for the big screen.
“I think this is the future. Anybody going to see this movie who has no idea of the backstory to the production will have no idea this was shot on the phone”, said the legendary Traffic-director when he was asked by Indiewire on why he decided to shoot his March release “Unsane” solely on a high-end smartphone. Cutting the production costs down to only $1,5 million, it’s easy to understand why smartphone filmmaking is catching the attention of Hollywood studios.
The end result is simply stunning:
More accessible than ever
Only a couple of years ago it would have been hard to grasp, even laughable, that a movie of this caliber could be made with only a smartphone. Part of the explanation is of course the introduction of 4K-resolution, which has taken smartphone filmmaking to a completely different level. Combined with affordable camera rigs, especially designed for smartphones, and several accessible film applications the distance between the professional filmmaker and the regular user has never been shorter.
Not the first of its kind
Unsane isn’t the only “real” movie that has explored the possibilities of smartphone filmmaking. Independent movies such as “Tangerine” and “I Play With the Phrase Each Other” are regarded as groundbreaking pioneers. Even scenes from the Oscar winning and critically acclaimed documentary “Searching for Sugar Man”, by Swedish director Malik Bendjelloul, was partly recorded with a smartphone app that delivered just the right amount Super 8mm vintage feeling.
Everyone is a director
So, what now? Is everyone suddenly a director? Well, that would maybe undermine what it means to be a great artist. The experienced professional will probably still outshine the amateur when it comes to composition, concept, editing skills and sound. Let’s put it like this – if you have a creative mind, there is nowadays no valid excuses left not to get out there and realize your ideas. A small budget is certainly not a big issue. Soderbergh himself describes a bright future for feature filmmakers that lacks the resources of big production companies:
“There’s a philosophical obstacle a lot of people have about the size of the capture device. I don’t have that problem. I look at this as potentially one of the most liberating experiences that I’ve ever had as a filmmaker, and that I continue having. The gets that I felt moment to moment were so significant that this is, to me, a new chapter.”
Don’t stare yourself blind on buying the most expensive gear before you start creating your masterpiece. When TechRadar tested a high-end smartphone versus a $6,000 pro camera rig they were astonished how well the smartphone’s all-in-one pocket camcorder kept up with the Red Scarlet-X.
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