Yet another challenge for you, gear fans. There is a nice short film shot with an iPhone 7 Plus and a RED Weapon. You watch one of the versions. Can you tell if it's shot with a $50,000 camera or with a sub-$1,000 one?
I know this feeling where you think to yourself, "I can't tell the difference, but I need to find an argument to prove I desperately need a $50,000 camera." It's the situation when you've got decent gear and you want to get something better. You try to find a use case where your existing gear falls apart visually, and this justifies your next expensive purchase. You are 99-percent sure your next video projects will fall into that difficult lighting situation, so surely you need expensive toys. Yeah? Not so much.
Telling a story with what you have is always possible if you know the limitations of your gear and do not pass beyond them. Parker Walbeck knows that and shows his audience how making a high-quality short film with an iPhone 7 Plus is quite a possible mission.
Walbeck uses a MoVi M5 where he mounts a RED Weapon which shoots alongside a Duct-Taped iPhone 7 Plus. The RED Weapon shoots in 6K while the iPhone in
just 4K. He's using the Filmic Pro app on the smartphone. Both versions of the film are edited Adobe Premiere and color graded to match each other as closely as possible.
The Right Way to Compare the Results
When comparing such pieces of gear, we have to know the limitations of the weaker equipment. The iPhone has a fixed focal length lens (OK, two prime lenses), limited ISO range, and a small sensor. You can't expect to have the same amount of data in every pixel as on a camera that costs much more than your car (unless you drive a Lamborghini). However, on the devices we normally use, we see a much smaller picture than has been actually recorded on both devices. So, instead of comparing pixels, we should sit back, grab popcorn, and see the footage as a normal viewer. In this context, the results from the iPhone are quite stunning.
Look at the amount of data in the shadows when there's direct sun light. Check for blown highlights too. These are the most common things to look for when comparing high-end camera footage to not-so-high-end footage.
Last but not least, the storytelling in the short film itself is great. The video is beautifully shot and puts a smile on your face at the end. Have a look yourself and see if you've noticed which is which.
To see more videos from Parker Walbeck, visit his YouTube channel.