iPhone cameras are great–within reason

Video cameras  are evolving and becoming more powerful and more convenient. Smartphones may be as well. So it’s no surprise that the video camera in your average smartphone is becoming surprisingly powerful. Add in the ubiquity of the device, and you’ve got (at least) a decent video camera nearby at almost all times. The hip video platform Wistia posted this video to illustrate some great results they got using only iPhone cameras:

It looks great, doesn’t it? But there are some caveats. As their post goes on to say, the recipe involved more than just a few iPhone cameras. To achieve these results they also used:

  • An application that gives superior control, FilmicPro
  • Diffuse lighting
  • A tripod adapter
  • A super-quiet room to avoid background noise with the omni-directional mike
  • A slider rig
They also note that the digital zoom on iPhone cameras produces icky results on video.

A quick Google search will net you tons of results for people using camera phones and their like, to make videos. Director Spike Lee, for example, actually filmed a significant portion of his latest film, Red Hook Summer, using an iPad and other lower-tech devices. Yet since most of these videos are produced by amateurs, the quality will vary widely from markedly well-executed to remarkably awful.

But even those who swear by the devices are usually only doing so for the convenience. While iPhone cameras can look good, they still falls flat in a few areas. For one, smartphones simply aren’t as powerful or feature-laden as today’s video cameras. They also don’t have as many manual controls (though this can be somewhat remedied with applications like FilmicPro), and peripherals for smartphones are less plentiful (such as the tripod and slider rig Wistia’s team used). Lighting, audio, and other similar issues are significant, and the video simply won’t look as professional as with a pro camera.

But the most important point in making a video is not the device, but the person. Wistia and services like it naturally have a stake in video production seem accessible. And it is, much more than ever before. You might even want to use it for little informal videos on your website. But when you’re communicating with stakeholders, or showcasing work at your gala, or basically doing anything that’s important, professionalism still makes a difference. A video by a pro with an amateur device may look passable (or even good), but a video made by an amateur with a pro device will still look amateur. While the technology has advanced considerably, talent and experience are still requirements for a good video. So while the iPhone may be a tempting consideration, the major consideration should be who is behind it.

If MiniMatters can help you use this tip or serve your other video needs, we’d love to talk with you at 301-339-0339 or via email at videos@minimatters.com.