The Most Unfair Camera Comparison Ever: iPhone vs $250K TV Camera

 Apple, Cinematography  Comments Off on The Most Unfair Camera Comparison Ever: iPhone vs $250K TV Camera
Dec 182019

You’d have to look long and hard to find a more absurd camera comparison than this. After putting together a very useful video that explains why broadcast TV cameras are so huge and expensive, YouTuber Zebra Zone pit this $250,000 setup against its most obvious rival… the iPhone 11 Pro.

As a quick refresher, the broadcast “camera” that is being used is a combination of several very expensive elements:

  • BlackMagic Ursa Broadcast Camera – $3,000
  • Fujinon UA107 Box Lens – $212,000
  • Tripod and Fluid Head – $20,000
  • Remote Control Handles – $9,000
  • Camera-to-Lens Adapter – $7,000
  • Monitor – $1,800
  • Fiber Optic Transmission Module – $3,000

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Apple Unveils 16-inch MacBook Pro with Up to 64GB of RAM and 8TB of Storage

 Apple  Comments Off on Apple Unveils 16-inch MacBook Pro with Up to 64GB of RAM and 8TB of Storage
Nov 132019

The long-awaited, long-rumored 16-inch MacBook Pro has officially landed, and it promises to fix all of the gripes that users had with the previous flagship 15-inch MacBook Pros while increasing performance by “up to 80%” for designers, photographers, video editors, and everyone in between.

The point of the 16-inch MacBook Pro seems to be two-fold.

First, Apple wanted to address many of the complaints that users have voiced about the previous flagship 15-inch models: a poorly designed keyboard that broke easily, no escape key, insufficient cooling, and maximum specs that had fallen behind the competition. Second, Apple wanted to try and pack in as much power as possible, putting the top-of-the-line specs of this machine into a league of their own, at least compared to every other Apple notebook ever made.

We haven’t yet had the chance to test this computer ourselves (stay tuned for that…) but Apple seems to have succeeded on both counts.

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What Is Apple’s Semantic Rendering and How Does It Affect iPhone 11 Photos?

 Apple, Gear  Comments Off on What Is Apple’s Semantic Rendering and How Does It Affect iPhone 11 Photos?
Oct 102019
What Is Apple's Semantic Rendering and How Does It Affect iPhone 11 Photos?

Apple has made a lot of noise with its camera-festooned iPhone 11 models, but beyond the lenses and hardware is a lot of interesting software. It’s arguably that software that’s driving the biggest changes to photography to date.

Some of that software isn’t available yet, such as “Deep Fusion” AI which Apple’s Marketing Chief described as “computational mad science,” or marketing speak for “I’m not really sure what this is yet, but it’s got a cool name.” But one of the technologies that is available right now is “semantic rendering,” which according to an article from Digital Trends is basically an editor in your phone touching up each individual part of your image.

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Apple Watch Series 5 hands-on: Always-on display is a keeper

 Apple  Comments Off on Apple Watch Series 5 hands-on: Always-on display is a keeper
Sep 112019
Apple Watch Series 5 hands-on: Always-on display is a keeper

There’s probably a long German word for the act of refining something which is already at the top of its segment, and if I knew what it was I’d be using it for the Apple Watch Series 5. Despite the best efforts of Google, Samsung, and others, the Apple Watch tends to be the go-to in smartwatches, not least for its combination of fitness tracking, design, and app functionality.

Now, it’s getting an update. As someone who has been wearing the Apple Watch Series 4 since it launched last year – something of a record for my wrist and any one wearable – I was curious to see whether Apple could coax enough out of the replacement to capture my interest.

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iPhone 11 Pro a very tempting upgrade. But should you?

 Apple, Gear  Comments Off on iPhone 11 Pro a very tempting upgrade. But should you?
Sep 112019
iPhone 11 Pro a very tempting upgrade. But should you?

There might be some wisdom to Apple’s once-a-year launch cadence and seemingly more modest upgrades year after year. Android OEMs launch twice a year or more, making the gaps between each flagship model smaller and the features so much closer to each other. 

When Apple finally does make big changes, it makes huge changes. That happened with the iPhone X and we might be seeing the same revolution with the iPhone 11 and especially the iPhone 11 Pro. While the new camera bump is the center of attraction, it’s not the only reason iPhone fans and users will be thinking hard about upgrading to this year’s latest.

What’s New This Year

It’s hard to deny that the cameras are the star of Apple’s 2019 iPhones and, fortunately, they’re not as terrible as leaks made them out to be. Going beyond appearances, the new cameras are definitely worth talking about and considering.

Of course, they still have to be tested in the wild but Apple has not been one to terribly disappoint in that arena. The 12 megapixel front camera is also a groundbreaking jump from a company that has been rather stingy when it comes to FaceTime iPhone cameras.

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Apple Reveals Entry-Level iPhone 11 with Dual Cameras and Night Mode

 Apple  Comments Off on Apple Reveals Entry-Level iPhone 11 with Dual Cameras and Night Mode
Sep 102019

Today at a “Special Event” at Steve Jobs Theater, Apple revealed what it has in store for the much-leaked iPhone 11, and the news is good for smartphone photography lovers who were hoping Apple would catch up with Android phones like the Google Pixel 3.

The iPhone 11 is the next generation of the entry-level iPhone XR model, and it adds much more capable photography features to what was previously a single-camera smartphone. The new dual-camera setup on the rear ditches the telephoto camera for dual 12MP wide-angle and ultra-wide angle cameras, giving you a lot more versatility in the photos you can capture. 

The 12MP wide-angle camera uses a 26mm f/1.8, 6-element lens with optical image stabilization and 100% on-sensor PDAF pixel coverage. The 12MP ultra-wide angle camera goes a lot wider, giving you a 13mm f/2.4, 5-element lens with a 120° field of view. From what we can tell, this one will NOT be optically stabilized.

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Apple Unveils iPhone 11 Pro with Triple Camera and ‘Deep Fusion’ Technology

 Apple, Gear  Comments Off on Apple Unveils iPhone 11 Pro with Triple Camera and ‘Deep Fusion’ Technology
Sep 102019

In addition to the dual-camera, “entry-level” iPhone 11 that Apple introduced today, the electronics company also revealed the much-anticipated triple camera smartphone that everyone has been expecting. Called the iPhone 11 Pro, it is the first iPhone to get the “Pro” monicker previously reserved for the company’s computers.

The iPhone 11 Pro will come in two flavors: a 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Pro and 6.5-inch iPhone 11 Pro Max. Both phones feature Apple’s latest A13 Bionic processor and an impressive new ‘Super Retina XDR’ OLED display that offers a reported 1,200 nits peak brightness and a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio while somehow also being 15 percent more energy efficient.

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Jan 052019

Apple is reportedly collaborating with Sony to deploy 3D cameras in its next-generation iPhone, also rumoured to be called the iPhone XI.

First reported by Bloomberg, Apple will apparently be using Sony’s long-range 3D Camera based on Time of Flight (ToF) technologyThis technology, which uses invisible laser pulses to measures the time before they bounce back to build detailed 3D models of objects, has the potential to transform photography, security, and gaming in the 2019 iPhones.

Image: Reuters

Further, these long-range 3D camera sensors by Sony will apparently also help in mapping rooms and objects for AR and VR experiences. Currently, Apple uses a TrueDepth sensor, which is a short-range 3D technology. However, Sony’s technology could really change the game for the 2019 iPhone users.

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I Bought the New iPad Pro So You Don’t Have To

 Apple, Gear  Comments Off on I Bought the New iPad Pro So You Don’t Have To
Nov 132018

I’m no stranger to the iPad. In fact, it once caused me not to get a job at an Apple store shortly after college. I was asked in an interview, “What do you think of the new iPad,” and I answered honestly (mistake number one in a job interview I would learn).

“I’m not sure how I feel about it, it doesn’t really do what I would want it to do.”

I didn’t get a call back for a second interview. Little did I know this would be the start of my rocky relationships with tablets.

In 2012, I bought refurbished a 32GB “New iPad.” With its retina screen, I told myself it would be the perfect portfolio alternative, and I could make myself look so cool by bringing a digital device to a client meeting, instead of a printed book.

“Who prints photos anymore? Clients will see me as cutting edge!”

That device currently is sitting on the floor next to my bed, unable to be updated past iOS 9, with a dead battery. I rarely use it anymore because of how slow it has become. And it certainly didn’t win me any clients. I think I may have used it professionally once or twice to have someone digitally sign a contract or a model release.

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The Seven Year Itch – FCP X, Zero to Hero?, by Matthew Allard ACS

 Apple  Comments Off on The Seven Year Itch – FCP X, Zero to Hero?, by Matthew Allard ACS
Jun 212018

Seven years ago today, Apple unveiled FCP X, the successor to Final Cut Pro 7. FCP X was billed as being a revolutionary new version of the world’s most popular Pro video editing software which completely reinvents video editing with a Magnetic Timeline that lets you edit on a flexible, trackless canvas. 

On launch, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing Philip Schiller said,  “Final Cut Pro X is the biggest advance in Pro video editing since the original Final Cut Pro. We have shown it to many of the world’s best Pro editors, and their jaws have dropped.” Unfortunately for Apple, a lot of their existing Final Cut Pro users didn’t see it that way. By changing the whole concept of how editing should be done, Apple was taking a massive leap of faith and they were hoping their loyal Final Cut Pro user base would follow suit. The problem was that whenever you take a platform that people are familiar with and suddenly change it around there is always going to be blowback. Whether Apple actually expected this blowback or not is something we may never actually know.

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Moment Introduces an Anamorphic Lens For Premium Smartphones

 Apple, Gear  Comments Off on Moment Introduces an Anamorphic Lens For Premium Smartphones
Apr 022018

Moment presents their new Kickstarter campaign: The Filmmaker Collection for smartphones which includes some goodies to transform your phone into a “filmmaking machine”. We all know that a real anamorphic lens costs a fortune and as the pursuit for flares never stops, maybe now we can afford it – at least for our smartphone – as the crown jewel of their kit is the anamorphic lens. 

The Filmmaker Collection

The Filmmaker Collection by Moment, which is now on Kickstarter, includes an iPhoneX battery case, universal gimbal counterweight, filter mount and an anamorphic lens. I must admit that every product in the collection looks solid and when combined it looks rather cool, but of course the highlight of this kit is the supplied anamorphic lens. 

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Honest MacBook Pro Review Says the New Laptop is Apple’s 5D Mark IV

 Apple  Comments Off on Honest MacBook Pro Review Says the New Laptop is Apple’s 5D Mark IV
Jan 242017

In a single sentence, photographer and reviewer Jaron Schneider summed up the problem with Apple’s new MacBook Pro: it’s basically Apple’s 5D Mark IV. Too much time and build-up meant insanely high expectations, and Apple didn’t come close to matching them even if they did release a good product.

Schneider’s MacBook Pro review is one of the best we’ve seen. It does a great job of staying neutral, starting out on a positive note, explaining what it is Apple “fanboys” are chasing and why they’re willing to put up with so much, and then giving Apple a well-deserved lashing for the ways in which the new MBP falls short.

The question he’s really trying to answer is: is the MacBook Pro really “Pro,” and the answer seems to be “sort of.” The ultimate problem is that Apple tried to please everyone, and in the process didn’t really satisfy anyone. In Scheider’s words, “[The MacBook Pro] is a wonderful, beautiful product… that is in constant disagreement with itself.”

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Apple Announces the 2016 MacBook Pro with new Touch Bar

 Apple  Comments Off on Apple Announces the 2016 MacBook Pro with new Touch Bar
Oct 312016

The release of the new 2016 MacBook Pro marks the 25th anniversary of Apple’s first laptop computer. As always, the refresh brings a reduction in weight and size, a boost in performance, but this time also introduces the new Touch Bar. But what does it mean for video editors?

The October Apple event came right on the heels of their recent launch of the iPhone 7, but many already had a clear idea of what was to be announced. With the current series of MacBook Pros overdue for a refresh, it was fairly obvious that it was their turn to take centre stage.
The new range of MacBook Pros is quite a bit thinner and lighter than the previous generation, challenging even the dimensions of the MacBook Air. In terms of connectivity, the 2016 MacBook Pro features Thunderbolt 3 ports only, offering incredibly fast speeds of up to 40Gbps. Even when using any one the ports for charging the machine, the rest make up for it due to the to the daisy chaining functionality of Thunderbolt. What is a bit of a downer for video shooters, though, is that Apple has completely left out the SD card reader on the new 2016 MacBook Pro. Oh, and it still features a 3.5mm headphone jack, just in case you were wondering…
In terms of performance, the 2016 Macbook Pro features an Intel Core I7 processor, AMD Radeon Pro graphics card with Polaris Architecture (for the 15 inch model) and faster SSD drives. Apple claims all of these improvements boost performance far beyond the previous generation in important areas for video production. The Retina display is also capable of quite a lot more contrast ratio and colour, responding to the ever increasing demand for higher dynamic range and wider colour gamut of today’s professional video industry. The graphics card included in the 2016 MacBook Pro was also mentioned to be capable of driving two 5K external monitors in addition to the MacBook Pro Retina display. Nice!
The feature that stole the show, however, was the new Touch Bar. This Retina-quality, multi-touch strip – located where the escape and function keys used to be – is a content-aware interface that allows you to control system and application settings with familiar gestures such as tapping and swiping. 
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We Compared the iPhone 7 Plus Camera to a Nikon DSLR

 Apple, Gear  Comments Off on We Compared the iPhone 7 Plus Camera to a Nikon DSLR
Oct 122016

Another iPhone has hit the market and once again Apple has claimed that its camera creates “DSLR quality pictures.” I never believe when any cell phone manufacturer makes this claim, so I decided to put it to the test.

The iPhone 7 Plus has two cameras on its back: one 12 MP sensor has a wide-angle lens with optical stabilization and excellent ISO performance, and the other has a standard/telephoto lens with poor ISO performance. Our iPhone cost us around $1,000 but we certainly can’t claim the camera itself is worth that much. It’s one of many included features of this smartphone and therefore we couldn’t compare it to a $1,000 DSLR. We decided to compare this phone to a Nikon D300s and a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens. Both cameras shoot 12 MP files and both of them have a wide to standard “zoom” range. On eBay this kit sells for around $500. Honestly this is still too expensive to be a “fair” comparison because the camera in the iPhone certainly isn’t half of its value, but it’s what we had available.

Image Quality In Ideal Light

Winner: Nikon D300s

I expected the Nikon to absolutely destroy the iPhone in this test and I was shocked to see how well the iPhone’s wide-angle camera performed. If you printed both of these files out, I’m not totally sure you would be able to pick out which is which, but if we zoom in to 100% on a computer we could tell the iPhone had more grain and noise than the Nikon.

Camera Speed

Winner: Tie

The Nikon D300s shoots at 7fps but the iPhone seemed to shoot around 15fps. That being said, the iPhone didn’t give us manual control and chose a slow shutter that produced blurry images. In short, the iPhone is faster but the Nikon got the better shot.

Shallow Depth Of Field

Winner: Nikon D300s

Once again the iPhone lost but was still quite impressive. The new “portrait mode” on the iPhone allows you to create a fake shallow depth of field that looks quite convincing, especially for web use. One major downside is that the longer lens on the iPhone used in this portrait mode does not perform well in low light.

Video Quality

Winner: iPhone 7 Plus

This test wasn’t even fair. The D300s was one of the first DSLRs to ever shoot video and it can shoot a very poor 720p. The iPhone shoots an incredibly crisp 4K. It’s amazing to see just how far technology has come in seven years.

ISO Performance

Winner: iPhone 7 Plus

This was the biggest shock to me by far. I never would have believed that a cell phone could beat a DSLR, even if that DSLR was seven years old. Well, the iPhone was extremely impressive in low light and easily beat the ISO performance of the D300s.


Winner: Tie

This is a tough one to judge. A DSLR will obviously give you access to unlimited accessories like lenses and flashes, but the iPhone has access to the App Store. Currently, many apps are allowing you to shoot raw on your iPhone 7. If you want to shoot a long exposure, a DSLR is your best bet, but if you want to do almost anything else, an iPhone probably has an app available.

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PSA: Apple to Update Retina MacBook Pros This Month, Hold Off Buying One

 Apple  Comments Off on PSA: Apple to Update Retina MacBook Pros This Month, Hold Off Buying One
Oct 042016


Apple’s powerful, photographer-friendly line of Retina display MacBook Pros are overdue for an update. But if you’re thinking of getting one anyway, don’t! Reliable reports claim Apple will announce an update to these laptops at the end of the month.

According to MacRumors and Bloomberg, both the 13 and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro models are scheduled for an official update at the end of October, possibly at a press event on October 24th.

“Apple plans to introduce completely revamped 13 and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros in the fourth quarter of 2016,” writes MacRumors. “The machines could debut as soon as October, and based on upcoming software release plans for macOS 10.12.1, Apple is aiming to finalize the software with features for the new MacBook Pros on October 7, suggesting a late October launch for the new machines.”

Here’s a quick roundup of “What to expect” that MacRumors posted a couple of months ago:

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iPhone can now shoot RAW photos, here’s why it’s a big deal

 Apple  Comments Off on iPhone can now shoot RAW photos, here’s why it’s a big deal
Sep 152016

Apple and Google have finally agreed on something: RAW photography with DNG files. With the launch of iOS 10, Apple adds RAW support to select iOS devices with DNG (iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, SE, 7, 7 Plus, and the 9.7-inch iPad Pro), the same file format many Android users have had access to since the launch of Lollipop 5.0 over a year ago. But what exactly is RAW photography and DNG anyway – and what’s the big deal?

Smartphones traditionally snap the very familiar JPEG file that’s easily (and instantly) shareable. JPEGs are automatically edited and adjusted by the software built into the camera or smartphone so they’re ready to go. The downside is that JPEGs are heavily compressed. RAW file types, such as DNG, on the other hand, are untouched by that automatic software, leaving more of the photo’s data intact. The untouched RAW file, whether opened on a desktop program or a mobile photo editor, offers more flexibility in retouching than a JPEG that’s already been processed. As you might suspect, the tradeoff is that RAW files tend to be very large.

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With the iPhone 7, Apple Changed the Camera Industry Forever

 Apple  Comments Off on With the iPhone 7, Apple Changed the Camera Industry Forever
Sep 152016

Camera companies, like traditional phone manufacturers, dismissed the iPhone as a toy when it launched, in 2007. Nokia thought that the iPhone used inferior technology; the camera makers thought that it took lousy pictures. Neither thought that they had anything to worry about. Of course, neither anticipated the value of having a computer in your pocket, and what the camera folks, especially, didn’t anticipate was that, as the photographer Chase Jarvis puts it, the best camera is the one that’s with you.

The iPhone didn’t really start to cannibalize the camera business until the iPhone 4 came out, in 2010. That year, Instagram was born and a hundred and twenty-two million digital cameras were sold—a record, according to the Camera and Imaging Products Association, a Japanese camera makers’ trade organization. By 2015, however, that number had shrunk to about thirty-five million. Since that time, the iPhone has bulked up its photographic capabilities and formed a symbiotic relationship with social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and, especially, Instagram. The better the phone camera became, the more photos we started to snap and share. There are now nearly a billion smartphones worldwide capturing selfies, birthday smiles, breakfast sandwiches, Tuscan villages, and cats. In the past, such photos were taken by a point-and-shoot camera. Even today, the interchangeable-lens cameras and high-end cameras have their fans, so demand for these monsters still exists. But for how long?

We don’t know the digital-camera industry’s own answer to that question, but as of Wednesday the time frame certainly shortened. That was the day Apple announced its new iPhone. While in most ways the device launch was predictable, the iPhone 7 Plus, with its souped-up camera, made a big impression on serious photographers. The iPhone 7 Plus, which retails for seven hundred and sixty-nine dollars (or higher) has two lenses—a 28-mm.-equivalent, 12-megapixel lens and a 56-mm.-equivalent, 12-megapixel telephoto lens. Apple has managed to pack a lot of premium features—longer exposures, better aperture, and the ability to shoot digital negatives, which professionals call DNGs. A DNG is, essentially, a photo file that captures all the visual information possible for further manipulation, such as enhancing shadows or removing highlights. The new iPhone uses circuitry, software, and algorithms to create images that look and feel as if they came out of high-end cameras. Tellingly, Apple’s presentation of the camera’s abilities was the one aspect of the biennial iPhone rollout that wasn’t mercilessly mocked on social media.

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iPhone 7 and 7 Plus Announced: Dual Cameras for Zoom and Bokeh

 Apple  Comments Off on iPhone 7 and 7 Plus Announced: Dual Cameras for Zoom and Bokeh
Sep 092016


Apple just announced the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, a smartphone it calls “the world’s most advanced smartphone.”

The phones feature a new aluminum body that comes in shiny black, matte black, gold, silver, and rose gold.

Both phones are now officially water and dust resistant, boasting an IP67 protection standard that means your iPhone will be safe from splashes.

iPhone 7

The iPhone 7 has a new camera system that features optical image stabilization system that lets you shoot longer exposures while reducing shake, larger f/1.8 aperture that lets in 50% more light, a 6-element lens that delivers sharp images, a new 12-megapixel sensor that’s 60% faster and 30% more energy efficient.


The flash is a Quad-LED system that True Tone flash, 50% more light, and Flicker sensor that compensates for the flickering in artificial light. Here are a couple of sample photos shot using the new flash:



The image signal processor at the core of the phone has 2x the throughput compared to previous iPhones. It uses machine learning to detect objects and people. The system then sets exposure, focus, color, white balance, tone mapping, noise reduction, and multiple image compositing. Everything is done in 25 milliseconds.

Here are sample photographs shot using the iPhone 7:

Apple’s Bokeh-filled iPhone 7 Event Invite Hints at Camera Upgrades

 Apple  Comments Off on Apple’s Bokeh-filled iPhone 7 Event Invite Hints at Camera Upgrades
Aug 312016


Apple sent out invites to journalist this week for an event in San Francisco on September 7th — presumably to announce the iPhone 7. The invite itself is covered with colorful bokeh, perhaps hinting at major camera upgrades coming to the phone.

Smartphone cameras generally aren’t known for offering an extremely shallow depth of field and smooth bokeh (the quality of the out-of-focus points of light). One upgrade that might help the iPhone 7 achieve these things is the addition of a second camera module with another lens and sensor.


A dual camera has long been rumored to be a major feature of the iPhone 7 Plus, and if it is announced, Apple would be following in the footsteps of Chinese phonemaker Huawei and its new P9 phone with dual Leica cameras.

In addition to multiple leaked photos showing the purported dual camera system, some people are pointing to the invite image itself as proof that the twin cameras are coming.

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In the Frame: Eleanor Mannion on shooting a 4K doc for RTÉ on an iPhone

 Apple, Cinematography  Comments Off on In the Frame: Eleanor Mannion on shooting a 4K doc for RTÉ on an iPhone
Aug 032016

The Collectors tells the stories of six regular people who all share an enthusiasm: an all-consuming passion for very specific stuff, whether that’s Lego, Barbies or Coca-Cola memorabilia. The project was directed and shot by Eleanor Mannion for Irish state broadcaster RTÉ and airs tonight. It was mastered in 4K for HD delivery, and unusually for the station everything was shot on an iPhone 6S+.

Mannion pitched the idea for the doc as part of a secondment to the station’s documentary unit, and made a sizzle reel to demonstrate her idea had legs. “I filmed it on my iPhone and presented it to the commissioning editors… they were really impressed and they couldn’t believe it was done on an iPhone.”

After the initial footage was recorded in HD, for the doc itself the team decided to shoot in 4K, reasoning that “If that’s the best quality you can film in using Filmic Pro on the iPhone then why not do it?”

A 128GB iPhone 6S+ dedicated to filming gave Mannion two to three hours of recording time, which actually suited how she dealt with her subjects. “You can’t really film for much longer than two hours with someone before they start to tire… and that was part of my decision as a director was that you have to know when that person needs a break.”

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