Aerial Film ‘Flying Into Dusk’ Proves the iPhone Is Capable of Professional Quality Video

Never underestimate the smartphone as a tool for video. That’s the lesson we learn from “Flying Into Dusk,” an impressive aerial short film completely shot using the iPhone 6s. With the use of a stabilizer and the Filmic Pro app, filmmakers Toby Harriman and Jaron Schneider have created a 4K high-quality video that rivals those filmed with far more expensive gear.

Harriman and Schneider, together forming the creative content agency Planet Unicorn, took to the late day skies over New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Boston in the making of “Flying Into Dusk.” Their efforts in these self-funded charters paid off, as there’s no doubt that they proved having a small, lightweight filming kit does not hinder creativity and quality.

With just two pieces of gear, the iPhone and a iKan Fly-X3 gimbal stabilizer, the team was able to cleanly capture iconic downtown destinations from above in a helicopter. According to Schneider, the Filmic Pro app allowed them to shoot at 100 MB/s which is double the production they get out of their usual filming cameras, the Panasonic GH4.

You can find more information about the project on the Planet Unicorn blog.

[via Resource Magazine Online]

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Mitchell Krog's picture

Absolutely people should not underestimate cellphone camera's. Too many photographers are way too afraid to even reach for their cell phone to take a shot. I recently got asked to review the LG X Cam which has a beautiful wide angle lens and I am blown away with it because it shows we are entering a new era of smart phone camera's which for me is exciting because many of us are not always able to grab a chunky camera from the back seat but our cell phone is always well within reach.

Ryan Mense's picture

I eventually got rid of it because I couldn't handle the hugeness, but when I had an iPhone 6 Plus I was amazed just by the optical image stabilization. In a phone! It's just incredible when you take a step back and see that we already have powerful tools right in our pockets.

revo nevo's picture

So much moire :S

I don't think this is pro video quality. Grading looks nice other than that it's not that good. Too much macroblocking, moire and video is not fluid as it should be (it's not the 24fps problem).
Almost everything in this video is pro. But video quality is not!

They did everything they could to make it look good and there are still problems with the video.
So yeah it proves that iPhone Is NOT Capable of Professional Quality Video :)

Filthy 13's picture

Cool vid to show to family and friends, but definitely not pro level. Horizon drifting all over the place (though that's probably a fault of the gimbal). The warp stabilizer is painfully obvious in several of the shots. Shooting from a heli is challenging even with pro level gear. This one fell short of "pro". But I guess everyone has different expectations. I'm just puzzled as to why anyone would fork out all that money for heli time and yet resort to wasting time capturing footage on a phone (any phone).

antoine amanieux's picture

even with a lot of work in post, quality is not there, a night shot on such a small sensor what did they expect ?

Anonymous's picture

It's nice to see one of these that isn't the here's what I shot with my iPhone and $20k of stabilizers and other gadgets films. I thought the daylight stuff looked pretty good, but as Antoine says, it fell apart in the night shots, which is expected.

A vdS's picture

For some kind of use I think smartphone can give great results and this is an example of it. I have an lg g4 and with the cinema 4K app I can shoot flat at 200mbps and have full manual control. I have use a few times and I was very pleased by the results. That said I would not use it on any professionnal shoot (except as hidden camera) as you don't have the same ease of use when you need full controle on what youre doing. Also even if the quality is fine, it's not up to what you get with modern camera.

Carl Irjala's picture

I did my first iPhone 5 video at 2013 with zero editing knowledge. With today's knowledge the editing would be on a higher level (I hope :). The cell phone was and is a good tool for shooting and I glued my iPhone 5 on the fuselage with tape and filmed the flight until the battery ran out. It was a great fun and at the last landing, I was one iPhone 5 poorer. The video is available at:

M D's picture

Very cool video, but not "professional quality". I couldn't use this in network television - which is what I would consider professional quality as a baseline standard. A broadcaster would not accept it. There is too much macro blocking, warping, and stuttering in the image. Also, it would not cut with an Alexa, Sony or Red camera. GH4 footage has been accepted now for a lot of drone shots and the Sony A7S footage is also being allowed for a lot of professional uses. These are better options that are also economical.

That said, it is amazing that you can get this kind of image out of a phone with an accessory. I know a DP who recently shot a music video with an iPhone and some cinema lenses and it is really impressive. I never get tired of seeing great images from my iPhone on a daily basis. It's really impressive technology to have in your pocket.