Is Apple’s Latest ‘Shot on iPhone’ Video Deceptive?

In a recent video, Apple showcased their ‘Scary Fast’ keynote and surprised viewers by revealing that it was filmed entirely on the latest iPhone 15 Pro Max. This revelation has sparked some controversy as people question the intentions behind using the iPhone to promote their product. While it is natural for Apple to showcase the capabilities of their iPhones, many viewers are skeptical because they noticed the extensive use of other expensive equipment during the filming process.

The video was directed by Brian Oakes, a documentary maker, who expressed his excitement about being able to achieve complex shots with the iPhone 15 Pro Max. The quality of the footage produced by the crew was undeniably impressive and comparable to professional standards.

However, it’s important to break down the details. The crew consisted of experienced professionals who utilized robotic jibs and industry-grade gimbals, such as custom Spacecam rigs, which come with a hefty price tag. Additionally, the lighting used was of a professional standard, as we all know the critical role lighting plays in a production.

So what exactly is Apple trying to convey with this? Are they suggesting that by placing the iPhone in the hands of talented filmmakers with access to expensive accessories, they can achieve results comparable to those from an ARRI? Let’s face it, the footage is not on par with what an ARRI camera can produce.

Some may argue that Apple is demonstrating how the iPhone can replace a professional camera in certain situations, where it’s difficult to differentiate the footage from that of a professional camera. However, it’s worth noting that achieving that level of quality also requires the use of expensive lighting setups, which may not be accessible to everyone.

A commenter on a photography subreddit raised concerns about how this stunt could potentially lead to mid-level managers devaluing the work of professional photographers and videographers by assuming that anyone with an iPhone 15 can produce the same results. This perspective already exists, and this publicity stunt might exacerbate it.

On the other hand, there are those who argue that the point Apple is making is that the camera on the iPhone is good enough to be used as a substitute for professional cameras in certain situations and that the quality of the footage is determined by the lighting conditions.

Perhaps, at this moment, it’s best to view the iPhone 15 Pro Max as another convenient camera option that can be used when it suits our needs. The quality of the footage will ultimately depend on how well all the other components of a shoot are planned and executed, just like any other camera.

As photographers, we understand that a great camera doesn’t guarantee great photos. And while an iPhone might be within reach for some of us, an ARRI camera is an entirely different story.

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