Apple pays a lot of attention to the “Shot on iPhone” project. First of all, this allows us to evaluate the capabilities of the company’s flagship flagships, and such films undoubtedly have artistic value. In March 2020, the first film of this series filmed in Russia was presented.
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This event in itself, but much more surprising is the history of the creation of such a masterpiece. Apple made a film lasting more than 5 hours. It is based on a walk through the treasury of world culture – the Hermitage. It is difficult to see in this an exclusively advertising message. It is also surprising that the cinema trip in 4K resolution was shot with one take, without mounting and gluing on the same battery charge of the iPhone 11 Pro Max. By the end of filming, 19% of the battery charge remained.
This film was the longest in the history of the company’s projects. To prepare for its creation, it took about six months and the work of hundreds of Russians. The film shows 45 museum rooms and nearly 600 works of art. In the project you can hear the music of Anton Schwartz, Gabriel Prokofiev and even a live performance by Cyril Richter. It must be said that as many as three iPhones were involved in the filming: one directly shot, the second was a spare, and the third displayed a picture for the director. They became a young Russian woman Aksinya Gog, known mainly for TV shows and short films: “Petersburg. Only for love “,” How to get married. Instruction ”,“ Selfie ”. The director of photography was David Khayznikov, who directed the television series Epidemic. It was far from immediately possible to find professionals who decided on such a challenge.
The project is even more surprising if you study the shooting conditions. The Hermitage has rather complicated lighting – in each hall it has its own. No heavy professional cinematic equipment could be used in the museum. The authors had to use trolleys, a small crane, a stabilizer, and already completed the work to undergo color correction. To remotely control the smartphone’s camera from the Apple Watch, I even had to create a special Catch program. Fine control of the iPhone camera (focus, white balance, ISO) was instituted on the Digital Crown. Now the application has received even more options for fine-tuning and is aimed at professionals, having appeared in the App Store.
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It must be said that the idea of shooting the Hermitage in one shot is not new. It appeared 20 years ago, and the film “Russian Ark” by Alexander Sokurov became the realization. The viewer swam behind the camera from the hall to the museum hall, watching the change of eras. Then the film became a cultural and technological event. This idea was developed by Apple in the Hermitage. Shot on the iPhone 11 Pro. ” But if at one time Sokurov used rare and advanced technologies, now this problem has been solved using one of the most popular smartphones in the world.
The project itself was agreed with the Hermitage on a museum basis, as was the shooting date. But long before the appointed day, the team carefully examined all the halls, working out the route. Aksinya Gog said that the task was set quite simply: there is a Hermitage, you need to remove it with one take on the iPhone for 5 hours. And then it was already possible to invent a canvas. That’s just even technical experts doubted that the phone is capable of taking 5 hours in 4K resolution.
Certain difficulties arose with the light, because in December it was frankly few in St. Petersburg. That is why it was so important to strictly follow the schedule, for the sake of capturing natural daylight. It was important to calculate the timing – how much time to spend in each room and spend on selected paintings. Rehearsals helped, during which the team merged with tourists and simply explored the future route. The specifics of the site did not allow one hundred percent to think over the situation, the creators relied on the ability to work with space.
The shooting took place on Monday, when the Hermitage has a day off. But at the same time, life in the museum did not stop – cleaners, restorers worked, and an inventory was kept. Although trolleys and a crane were used for shooting, most of the time smartphones were spent in the hands of three operators, periodically replacing each other. In total, the camera was followed by a team of seven people.
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The film was shot on the main, wide-angle camera of the iPhone. But this format required the implementation of new circuits and equipment. It is no coincidence that a whole bunch of three iPhone 11 Pros was built for safety. And the film itself immediately after shooting took a volume of 126 GB. At the same time, during the shooting, the wires were not connected to the phones even for transferring the playback, so that there was no sensation of their recharging. In the video itself, there is virtually no advertising – only in the trailer you can find a mention of the product. But the fact of shooting a video of similar duration in this capacity speaks rather eloquently about the flagship of Apple. The picture quality is pleasantly amazing, but the shooting was carried out under different lighting conditions and not at all with a professional camera, but with a popular smartphone, albeit with the Pro prefix in the name. The creators did not seek to create the perfect picture, the flaws only prove that the shooting was real.
The film itself can be found on the Apple Russia channel. Do not be afraid of the need to watch all 5 hours 19 minutes and 28 seconds.
The director himself believes that the film is assembled from self-contained pieces, this is a kind of meditation that you can immerse yourself in at any time. There is no action here – shooting is conducted calmly, only by the end of accelerating and saturated with meaning. You can review this film again and again, finding new meanings, admiring both the masterpieces of world culture and the shooting possibilities of the iPhone 11 Pro.