Editor’s note: this is a guest post by James Miller.
With the arrival of 4K ultra HD displays, professional media makers and hobbyists alike are scrambling to get the gear to deliver the kind of quality content that will become standard in the very near future.
As the new iPhone 6s boasts the capability to capture photo and video content in this ultra hi-def format, some documentary filmmakers decided to take a look at whether or not it’s worth all the fuss. The verdict: Whether you’re a hobbyist or a pro, the iPhone 6s (plus a few add-ons) can deliver a surprisingly film-like viewing experience on a shoestring budget.
4K video is twice the pixel density of HD and delivers the “feel” of film for the sheer fact that it meets the same standards as the film you’d watch on the real big screen. Here’s the touching short film produced and shot entirely with the iPhone 6s:
Pretty impressive, right? There is a cinematic quality about this film, no doubt. The audio and visuals are all supportive of the story and had you not been informed in advance, you might not think twice about how the production team actually captured this footage. Thankfully, they took the time to show us how they did it using everything from XLR lenses to drones. The list of accessories is somewhat long, but we identified the three essentials you’ll need to create epic films iPhone 6s videos.
1. mCAM by Action Life Media
So you’ve enabled 4K video capture via your phone’s settings and have begun to dabble in shooting some photos and videos but you’re hitting a wall in terms of being able to get that shot you’ve imagined in your head.
This little accessory will take you a step in the right direction. If you’re done “just messing around” with 4K video and possibly want to get paid for your work, the mCAM by Action Life Media will start to bridge that gap. And for $99.95-$109.95 for the starter kit, it’s a pretty good deal.
Straight out of the box it comes with a 37mm wide angle / macro combo lens that allows you to shoot wide or close-up. This offers slightly more versatility than the factory iPhone 6s lens, but it will only whet your appetite for better. That’s a good thing, because you probably won’t feel right mounting this on a tripod without a bigger lens on it. The best part is that mCAM is compatible with both Canon and Nikon lenses, making it a total powerhouse that possibly rivals even the Red camera.
2. EnCinema SLR Adapter
Building off the mCAM as a foundation, the EnCinema SLR adapter attaches to enable you to use any Canon lens. Add the Nikon adapter, and you Nikon shooters can also use your lenses with this.
The EnCinema adapter gives you the ability to shoot DSLR-like photos and video with your iPhone 6. It’s compatible with Canon SLR lenses, as well as Nikon lenses (with the Nikon Adapter Ring). Take a look at these test shots with the Canon 200mm.
3. iKan Gimbal
The third and possibly most awesome accessory you could add to your iPhone 6s 4K rig is the iKan Smart Phone Gimbal. It’ll set you back about $350, making it also the most expensive of the three. Worth every penny. If you want to create those silky smooth motion shots like you see on the big screen, the kind that use epic looking expensive rigs like the Ronan, the iKan will give. This one is pro quality.
Like any gimbal, it stabilizes your shot, keeping it level by using something iKan refers to as 3-Axis Active Stabilization. Why “Active?” It’s battery powered and after a quick calibration, the iKan Gimbal will keep your iPhone oriented at exactly 90 degrees to the ground. With the iPhone 6s’s digital image stabilization working in tandem, you’ll never worry about being able to capture a smooth shot with that track-like cinema feel under almost any circumstances. Check out the sample footage towards the end of this video to see capabilities.
Compare the iKan footage to the Ronin and see if you can tell a difference:
Yeah, we couldn’t either.