Steven Soderbergh shoots feature film on his Apple iPhone

“Juno Temple is set to co-star with ‘The Crown’s’ Claire Foy in Steven Soderbergh’s next movie, sources tell Variety,” Justin Kroll reports for Variety. “The official title of the pic, which Soderbergh will direct, is currently unknown, but sources says it has a working title of ‘Unsane.'”

“Plot details are being kept under wraps, but insiders say Soderbergh shot the entire film on an iPhone, similar to the indie hit ‘Tangerine,'” Kroll reports. “News of the project and Foy’s involvement were first reported by The Tracking Board.”

Read more in the full article here.

“Soderbergh is just beginning to promote his new movie Logan Lucky, and he recently did an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit,” Jeff Sneider reports for The Tracking Board. “Asked whether he had any advice or suggestions for how someone could find financing for an independent film, Soderbergh answered ‘get a script and an iPhone and start shooting. Seriously.'”

“Ever since Bubble,” Sneider reports, “Soderbergh has been more open to experimentation in both the production and distribution realms, so the idea that he has used his iPhone to shoot a secret movie with an up-and-coming actress isn’t as big a surprise as it might seem on the surface.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: There’s nothing like shooting 4K OIS video with Apple’s new iPhone 7 Plus! The results blow away those of the previous best smartphone, iPhone 6s Plus.

Alfa Romeo’s new car ad shot with Apple’s new iPhone 7 Plus – October 11, 2016
Pixar’s John Lasseter says iPhone, GoPro could be next film breakthroughs – May 13, 2015
The feature film that blew away everyone at Sundance was shot on an Apple iPhone 5s – January 29, 2015
Apple iPhone 6’s new camera could forever change filmmaking – September 10, 2014
iPhone used to record parts of Marvel’s ‘The Avengers’ feature film (with video) – October 22, 2011
First ever cinema-standard film shot solely with iPhone premieres – January 11, 2011


  1. A lot of what you see in any film, is proper lighting. The gear only goes so far but lighting takes it the rest of the way. Remember when the iPhone 5 came out? Some really good cinematography came out right away, and we were blown away.

    What the the iPhone 7 and recent models did, was automate some of the skill sets associated with capturing good quality images.

    iOS 11 takes this even further by adding the long exposure filter to Live photos. When you are out in nature all of this becomes apparent.

    Bells and whistles mean nothing in the hands of skilled lighting and a good cinematographer.

    Put a Red in the hands of your kids, and see what they come out with. Put an SLR in the hands of a newb, and it’s pointless. Learn how to use your equipment and how lighting works, even the iPhone, and I promise your shots will look great.

    I am a nobody when it comes to photography, but I do know the elements of what it takes to take good shots.

    Think of a camera as if it were a musicale instrument. Imaging what effort goes into playing the piano well. That’s what it takes to be a decent photographer.

    1. Exactly. Skill set is everything.

      Today, technology is a great equaliser. Thirty years ago, in order to shoot a feature film, or record a LP album, you had to have the financial support of a film studio (or record label). The equipment to shoot a film (or record music) was prohibitively expensive for vast majority of individual artists. Only the most successful working ones could afford to build their own music recording studio, or acquire their own film-making gear. It became quite difficult for talent to be discovered, if there was no way for them to express their talent.

      Today, two hundred million people are walking with a multi-track music recording studio in their pocket (GarageBand). What you can do in the GarageBand for iOS is not much different from what could be done in a professional music recording studio of the 80s. Similar thing with the 4K iPhone 6s (or 7) camera. The power in one’s pocket is not that far from what was used by professionals in the 80s (although here the difference is quite more noticeable than when it comes to music recording and the GarageBand).

      The result of this rapid democratisation of these two artistic endeavours is that now anyone and everyone can record an album (or shoot a movie). And quite many do. Which has now produced so much white noise of mediocrity (not to mention sheer crap produced by total dilettantes, clueless about their complete lack of skill and talent), it became almost impossible to sift through the crap in order to find true talent.

      In the end, though, I would have to say that the net result is positive. There have always been people with abundance of creative ideas and a powerful desire to do something with them. Out of those, there is a subset that has an understanding of the skills required to do this and the drive to learn them. These people go on to produce quite remarkable results, and more often than not, they end up getting recognised. Thirty years ago, that wouldn’t have been possible.

      I love technology…..

  2. …”get a script and an iPhone and start shooting. Seriously.”

    That is the essence of the whole gimmick.

    There have already been quite a few projects out there that were shot on iPhones (since iPhone 5, if I recall correctly). This one may be the first full feature by an A-list Hollywood director (yet), but the main point is that all these projects used the idea of shooting on the iPhone mostly as a gimmick to get a bit extra publicity (and it worked, for most of them). When you look at the process involved with some of those productions, it was obvious that there were not specific constraints (financial or logistical) that prevented them from using a proper professional camera. Most of these projects involved expensive rigging, in some they have tracking shots with dolly on a track, there were lights and audio gear… Everything except the actual camera was high-end, professional production, so it is obvious that in vast majority of these productions, using the iPhone was a gimmick to squeeze more publicity.

    From available information, we don’t know if Soderbergh went the same route (expensive supporting gear and crew, and an iPhone for a camera), or if he tried doing it the hard way, using just the iPhone(s) for everything (video, as well as audio), and using whatever natural or practical light was available. Or something mid-way (iPhones to record video and audio, with supporting lighting gear).

    The main point remains in the quote above. If you want to become a filmmaker, then sit down, fire up that Notepad (or Celtx on your iPhone / iPad / Mac) and start writing. Once you’re done writing, take that iPhone, get your friends (with the knack for acting) and shoot that film. Once you’re done shooting, transfer the material you shot into iMovie and edit it.

    There are thousands of wannabe “filmmakers” who are “ready to shoot their first film” as soon as they manage to acquire the proper gear to do it. They endlessly discuss cameras, lenses, focal lengths, apertures, shutter speeds, they buy these popular “indie filmmaker” camers (Canon’s EOS 5Dmkii /mkiii / mkiv), and shoot these “test shots” (Vimeo is full of camera test videos by “indie filmmakers”), but they NEVER actually shoot their film because they don’t have the “necessary gear”.

    If Soderbergh can shoot a feature with an iPhone, then nobody should use an excuse of not having a proper gear for not shooting their first feature.

    1. That one sparked a massive debate (both below the video, in its comments, as well as elsewhere online, in various filmmaking forums).

      It underscored Soderbergh’s punchline most vividly (“get a script and an iPhone and start shooting. Seriously.”).

      It is disingenuous to compare a $1k iPhone with a $50k RED camera, especially if your medium for comparison is YouTube. It is like recording symphony orchestra using an iPhone, and then using Neumann U87 pair of $4,000 microphones on a $1,000 24-bit 192kHz recorder, but then listen to the two recordings in an MP3/96kbps file. Both will sound the same, since MP3 at 96kbps will destroy the sonic quality of high-bitrate, high-sampling rate recording.

      Three main points emerge from that comparison video:

      1. You need plan your video shoot carefully, in order to avoid / overcome all shortcomings that iPhone has (compared to professional cameras);

      2. Keep in mind your target platform before shooting. There is no point using $50k camera if the video will end up crushed by YouTube’s 8Mbps quality;

      3. Wannabe filmmakers can no longer hide behind “inadequate gear” excuses for not shooting their film(s).

      There is a massive amount of How-To videos for independent filmmakers. Do-it-yourself instructionals range from “Microphone boom pole for $12”, “Camera crane for $45”, “Light reflector for $5”, “Portable lights for $30”, “$70 dolly and track”… It is clear that creative and industrious people have found a way to stretch their money to the max and solve problems with simple and creative solutions.

      As Soderbergh says, write that script, shoot that film. Seriously.

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