Jon M. Chu Shot This Short Film Entirely on an iPhone XS Max


Whenever Apple reveals off a brand new iPhone, the corporate all the time has an excellent deal to say about its digital camera. True to type, this 12 months’s iPhone Xs and Xs Max—introduced final week and accessible on Friday—have a digital camera that bests final 12 months’s mannequin and, as the primary spherical of opinions signifies, does a notch higher than nearly each competing smartphone.

To take a look at the brand new {hardware}, we gave an iPhone XS Max to the movie director Jon M. Chu. The Crazy Rich Asians director shot a brief movie for WIRED, and the outcomes are actually particular.

“I had actually zero tools,” says Chu. “I see a lot of samples of iPhone videos, and sometimes they use different lenses or professional lights. I didn’t have any of that.”

Chu shot the movie—a view into dancer Luigi Rosado’s rehearsal house, titled Somewhere—in 4K utilizing the iPhone’s native digital camera app. It was all shot handheld utilizing the telephone’s default stabilizing system. And whereas he edited the video on a pc, Chu did not apply any shade correction or any post-production methods. What you are seeing is the default output of the iPhone’s digital camera.

Lights, Camera, Action

Shooting in a setting that would not assure nice outcomes—at nighttime in a small storage beneath fluorescent lights—was a problem Chu gave himself. “I wanted to stretch it in a harsh environment,” he says.

He tried to check as lots of the digital camera’s options as attainable. There are a number of moments in Somewhere when Chu drops right into a slow-motion shot. He did that with the iPhone Camera app’s built-in slo-motion setting, which shoots at 240 frames per second.

“I knew those bright fluorescents were in there. When I’m pushing at 240, you can see the light noise,” he says. Indeed, the video slows down sufficient that you would be able to see the lights biking between yellow and white, one thing that is barely perceptible to the bare eye in actual time.

Chu says he was impressed by how properly the iPhone dealt with his shifting photographs as he walked in circles round Rosado, closing in on him to higher seize his kinetic fury up shut. “I’m moving around a lot, and the focus was adjusting as I was moving, but it was finding the subject really well,” he says. “There’s a shot at the end where I’m rushing toward the garage—that’s using the built-in stabilizers. It’s pretty smooth.”

Something else Chu discovered notable was the iPhone’s shade accuracy, particularly in Rosado’s storage, with its grafitti-covered wall and stark lighting. “You can see the colors, they really pop. I did some shots in the daytime that didn’t make it into the movie, and the daylight images felt a little cooler. But shooting at night, the video warms up. You can adjust the colors however you want, but I was shooting with the defaults.”

There’s even one overhead shot of Rosado spinning round on one hand. Chu grabbed that one with no grip-stand or some other accent, once more emphasizing that he used no tools aside from the telephone. “There was a hanging piece of wood on the ceiling, and I put the phone on it and angled it down. It was as raw as that.”

It’s additionally vital to notice that each the iPhone XS and the XS Max have the identical digital camera, so the video and photograph capabilities Chu examined for us can be found in each units.

Dance Revolution

One factor we have not gotten to but: Luigi’s acquired some strikes! The dancer is a huge within the B-Boy scene, and later this month, he’ll compete within the Red Bull BC One World Final B-Boy dance competitors.

Chu says Luigi’s storage is the best-kept secret of the B-Boy scene in Los Angeles. “Luigi has this garage on 3rd street. It’s on a pretty busy street, but it’s set back. Some of the best B-Boys in the world come there to train. He turns his little garage into a hub. Every night, that garage is open and there are dancers in there working out.”

So which iPhone is Chu going to purchase? “The XS Max. No question.”

“I was coming from the iPhone X,” he says. “The hardest part actually was going from an 8 Plus to a X, then getting used to the X’s size. I thought that getting the XS Max would be hard, since it would mean going back to another big phone. In fact, the XS is lighter than the 8 Plus, and doesn’t feel like a ‘plus’ phone. The weight, the density—it doesn’t feel like an inconvenience to hold it.”

Apple loaned the director a grey telephone, however the one that gave it to him additionally confirmed him the gold model. “I’m definitely going to get the gold,” Chu says. “I’m not a gold sort particular person, however that gold, they did an excellent job.”


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