NZPhotographer Issue 27, January 2020


Whether you’re an enthusiastic weekend snapper or a beginner who wants to learn more about photography, New Zealand Photographer is the fun e-magazine for all Kiwi camera owners.

While working in the field, I had the privilege to see some

amazing men and women creating their visual magic.

Yes, the fancy camera will help you to create a better

image technically but it won’t do the framing or create

the idea on its own. You know what your passion is,

and once you demystify the tools and understand the

tricks, you will be able to achieve a high creative and

technical level.



In 2014, a director/friend of mine from Tristan Pope invited

me to work on the short fiction movie titled “Romance in

NY”. He wanted to shoot an entire project on an iPhone

4. My role was to record behind the scenes video, take

production stills and design lightning for the scenes. At

the time, the iPhone camera was the cutting edge of

technology, and people waited in line in front of the

store to get their hands on a new model.

For the behind the scenes shots, I used a Canon 5D mark

2. Like the iPhone 4, the flagship Canon 5D was packed

with new technology and multiple improvements over

previous model. One could ask “why didn’t you use the

new DSLR to shoot the movie”? Well, at the time, we

saw a very successful promo campaign called “shot on

iPhone”, focused mainly on the still photography. Making

movies on a smartphone was still a pretty new thing, and

we wanted a piece of that action.

The director had an idea to make the entire movie from

the point of view of a guy in love. The form factor of the

phone allowed us to position the camera right in front

of the protagonist’s eyes, mimicking the width of human

vision for close up’s and, using a small Gorilla tripod, we

secured the camera on the directors shoulders and

head. The camera position followed the movement of

the body, so the footage looked pretty natural without

any additional stabilization. For wide angle fast moving

shots we used a smartphone steady cam rig.

While reading this, remember that any photography skills

are easily applicable to moving images. The principal

rules of aperture, focal length, exposure and sensitivity

work the same way except for shutter speed.

In controlled lighting conditions, such as diffused light

and with a dynamic range of about six stops, the iPhone

footage was beautiful. With the help of third-party

software, the sensor could be pushed to seven stops

of dynamic range without any visible loss of quality or

the introduction of grain. Nevertheless, that still wasn’t

good enough for cinema-style visuals, so we had to use

additional light sources to raise the overall exposure and

balance the scene.

We also purchased a set of snap-on lenses made

for the iPhone. The set included: a wide-angle lens,

telephoto lens, and a circular polarizer filter to be able

to partly remove the reflection from glass surfaces. We

also prepared a few other pieces of equipment – In the

apartment, we used a fog machine to create a mist

resembling waking up from a dream and in the night

scene at the Brooklyn bridge park, I followed the action

with a small bi-coloured/dimmable LED light.



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