The Apple iPhone boasts one of the best smartphone cameras around, and if you browse around the Internet, you can see examples of the iPhone’s camera in action. Amateur filmmakers across the world are shooting short films and movies on this pocket-sized gizmo. And boy, there’s some good stuff out there.
Things have changed on the app side as well. The ease of tools makes it tempting for anyone to start making movies. While you may start with the iPhone camera app itself and edit it on iMovie, you will soon want to shoot, process, and edit video with pro apps. Be sure to read our guides on how to shoot striking videos on iPhones, and the best video editors and tools you can get.
To inspire yourself in your quest to make movies on your phone, let’s look at five more short films (plus some bonus videos) to see what filmmakers have been doing with their iDevices.
The humble iPhone 4s was good enough for Mael Sevestre to use it to tell a mystical story. A photographer with an old twin lens reflex camera — those with a viewfinder on top — is strolling through the countryside, framing his shot. And suddenly, that viewfinder starts showing a beautiful woman in the scene, even though there’s no one there in real life.
Framed is a great example of how the tools required to make a short film are no longer daunting. It’s more about your imagination, your techniques, and your storytelling ability. Framed has some lovely cinematography, and the final scene will catch you by surprise.
Dark Side of the Earth
I’m a sucker for some science fiction, and I’m sure you are too. Dark Side of the Earth has won plenty of awards for its unique storytelling style and filmmaker Acim Vasic should be proud of managing this quality on a low budget. It’s another one of those must-see geek movies for its concept alone.
The film is shot in a first person style, much like the Blair Witch movies. The protagonist is a scientist, who wants to warn the public at large about an impending crisis regarding our solar system, which certain powers want to keep secret. The movie is his confession, as he flees from his captors in a frenetic chase.
The Painter of Jalouzi
One of the reasons documentary filmmakers and photojournalists love the iPhone because its small size and familiarity makes it less intimidating, so it’s easier to get subjects to be more candid around the camera. The Painter of Jalouzi is a free, thought-provoking documentary about a man who wants to add color to Haiti’s biggest slum.
“Some people say, ‘What difference can color make?’ Color gives us dignity. Color gives us identity. Color gives us hope,” says Duval Pierre, a painter who enlists kids around the slum in his quest to paint every wall in Jalouzi. Watching the mini documentary, by David Darg and Bryn Mooser, may just be the best use of five minutes of your time today.
The Matt Morris iPhone 5s Adventure
The Matt Morris iPhone 5s Adventure made me laugh more times than I’d like to admit. Silly, irreverent humor gets me every time, and that’s exactly what this is. But in a way, it’s also an exploration of the iPhone’s features. The whole video was shot and edited on an iPhone, which is impressive enough on its own.
However, throughout the video, Matt Morris and his friend showcase the different cool abilities of the iPhone 5s and future models, like slow-motion video recording. The video follows Moris and his friend emulating a skateboarder and a free-runner, respectively… well, trying to emulate a skateboarder and a free-runner, and failing hilariously.
Dragonborne isn’t the best short film you’ll watch today, but it is a great example of the kind of movies you can create using just your iPhone and nothing else. Filmmaker Matthew Pearce used no other equipment to make this, which only showcases the iPhone’s wonderful video stabilization and tools to add visual effects.
It’s the tale of a warrior woman in a battle, who picks up a sword to face down the dragon looming large in the background. Yes, the dragon’s effect when he’s up close looks cartoonish, but remember, this is an amateur production, and for that, it’s pretty impressive.
Bonus: Goldilocks (Series)
The iPhone isn’t just about movies, you know. In fact, features like 4K video negate low-storage iPhones. As the world shifts from movies, and TV series gain credibility as art, why not check out the first shot-with-an-iPhone Web series?
The video above is just the first part of the Goldilocks series by Michael Koerbel and Anna Elizabeth James, which was also the first series of its kind. This Goldilocks isn’t the fairy tale of the same name; it’s a fast-paced action series full of chases and adrenaline-filled stunts. There are nine episodes in total, which you can watch here:
Episode 1 “Meet Locks”
Episode 2 “Hide & Seek”
Episode 3 “A Little Trip”
Episode 4 “A Secret Message”
Episode 5 “The Supermom Diaries”
Episode 6 “Back to Work”
Episode 7 “Strike a Deal”
Episode 8 “An Old Friend”
Episode 9 “Lock & Key”
Bonus: Ronen’s Adventure
While the five short films and one Web series above are all shot on the iPhone, I’m not sure if Ronen’s Adventure Trapped in an iPhone was. Still, it’s a video that you shouldn’t miss. It’s so exquisitely choreographed that it serves as the perfect inspiration to think outside the box and do more with your iPhone.
What’s Your Favorite iPhone Movie?
Have you made a cool iPhone movie? Or found one that inspires you? Please share your made-on-an-iPhone favorite in the comments below, after you have uploaded your video on Vimeo.
Or check out the iPhone Cinema channel for other such movies, and let us know which ones you would have included in this list!