People have pretty much stopped using phones to make calls and send texts. In fact, there’s an impressive number of great films shot on smartphones!
Who remembers phone calls? No, I don’t mean voice notes over messenger apps. I’m talking about no internet connection, type in the phone number, ring ring, telephone calls.
I won’t even bother asking who remembers taking their top-up card to the corner shop to add more credit to their mobile, then. These days, smartphones are, well, super smart. So much more than calls and messages, the cameras that can be found in phones nowadays are incredibly powerful.
Whenever a new iPhone is released, there will be a photography competition run by Apple. This time, it was a macrophotography challenge to herald the new iPhone 13 Pro Max. Phones are marketed most on how impressive the videography capabilities are. A recent campaign from Apple showed the iPhone as a realistic and viable options for cinematographers shooting movies.
We thought we’d take a look at some of the coolest films shot on smartphones, to see just what can be achieved using something that fits neatly in the palm of your hand!
This thriller, directed by Steven Soderberg, was released in 2018. Unsane follows a woman known as Sawyer, who is played by star of The Crown, Claire Foy. After involuntarily admitting herself to a psychiatric hospital for 24 hours, Sawyer has to face her greatest fear.
The film was shot in 10 days using the iPhone 7 Pro. Help from the FiLMiC Pro camera app, Moment lenses, and JOBY tripods contributed to an overall gritty look.
Olive was the first feature length film to be shot on a smartphone. It was directed by Hooman Khalili all the way back in 2011. The film was shot on a Nokia N8, which was hacked into in order to adjust the auto focus.
This film lives in the fantasy realm, and follows a mysterious girl with magical powers.
High Flying Bird
Another film from Steven Soderberg, High Flying Bird is a sports drama. Released in 2019, it tells the story of a sports agent who has just 72 hours to end a lockout between players and the basketball league. The whole thing was shot on an iPhone 8, using Moondog Labs’ anamorphic lens.
Released in 2016, 9 Rides is a fantasy drama directed by Matthew A. Cherry. Set on the busiest night of the year for cab drivers, New Year’s Eve, the film follows an Uber driver and sees the 9 passengers he picks up help him come to terms with some big news.
9 Rides was shot on an iPhone 6, and premiered at SXSW.
Searching for Sugar Man
Searching for Sugar Man is a documentary that was predominantly shot in Super 8 Film. Unfortunately, the film’s budget ran out before director, Malik Bendjelloul could shoot the final few scenes.
After 3 years, Bendjelloul filmed the final scenes on his iPhone. He used an app called 8mm Vintage Camera in order to achieve the right effect.
Directed by Sean Baker, Tangerine is a comedy film that was released in 2015. The film focuses on a transgender woman named Alexandra, who discovers she is being conned by her partner and her pimp.
This film was shot using several iPhone 5S phones, and utilised the FiLMiC Pro camera app.
Night Fishing was directed by renowned Korean filmmaker, Park Chan-wook. It was shot in 2011 using an iPhone 4 with an additional Canon lens. The film initially seems like a simple story of a man fishing in the dark, but transforms into something much more.