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We are inherently big dreamers in a world of endless possibilities. Living in the 21st century, we have access to a cornucopia of resources and tools for us to achieve every single goal we set for ourselves. Much is true in the realm of filmmaking wherein advanced technology, expensive equipment, and staggering production budgets are required to create stunning films… Wrong! As a matter of fact, all you need is a compelling story and a smartphone. Say what? That’s crazy!

Nope, little did you know that some of the highly acclaimed movies that appeared on the big screen were merely shot on an iPhone. Various filmmakers have defied the norm by proving that creativity knows no boundaries.

What went down in the history of filmmaking

$332 catapulted Sean Baker to one of the best film festivals…

While shooting on an iPhone is not uncommon for creating short films and personal videos, it only recently turned heads when it was attempted to replace professional cinematic cameras in making feature-length films.

In the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, Director Sean Baker revealed that his remarkable film, Tangerine, was the first motion picture shot on the iPhone 5s, rapidly creating a buzz in the industry. Creative executives and film buffs internationally were stunned with his ingenuity that won not only hearts but also tons of nominations and awards from respectable festivals and associations. It earned seven times more than the allotted budget and its impressive track record in the box office got the attention of The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and requested that the iPhone used should be preserved in their memorabilia alongside Hollywood classics.

Overall, the film was produced using a $175 anamorphic adapter lens, a $149 steadicam smoothee, and an $8 film app for post-production. $332 catapulted Sean Baker to one of the best film festivals, easily bagging the cream of the crop filmmaker status. Where will your $332 take you?

Another attempt was recently made by veteran filmmaker, Director Steven Soderbergh, who just released his film entitled Unsane and entirely filmed it with an iPhone 7 Plus. The award-winning director has blockbuster movies attached to his name, but it didn’t stop him from exploring other means of filmmaking, recounting it as one of his most liberating experiences as a filmmaker.

“Unsane proves that a great filmmaker can make a movie on the iPhone, even if the film isn’t great.” – The Hollywood Reporter

While the script received mixed reviews in terms of plot and story, Steven Soderbergh’s approach utilized his limited resources by playing around with the phone’s built-in features and additional lenses, as well as strategically framing every shot to make it look as cinematic as possible.

Why limitations bring out the best in your imagination

Every filmmaker’s dilemma whether they’re a student or an expert would always revolve around finding the most appropriate device to bring their creative ideas to life. Some would instantly give up on their dreams because they let their limitations get the best of them instead of making the most of what they have. We are fortunate to have the most basic recording device fully equipped with high-resolution cameras in the palm of our hands, which gives us the avenue and the power to tell the most amazing stories anytime and anywhere with a push of a button.

We are fortunate to have the most basic recording device fully equipped with high-resolution cameras in the palm of our hands…

Others would argue that the cons heavily disrupt the creative and visual impact of the narrative, and yes, some aspects will be compromised, but your true artistic talent will shine through when you exhaust all means to turn obstacles into opportunities, just like how the above-mentioned filmmakers transformed a low-budget film into a cinematic and visually compelling masterpiece as if it were shot with a professional camera gear. When we work around our imagination, no amount of limitations could hinder us from achieving the impossible.

There are so many things happening around us that could potentially be the next best story ever told, which you could tell, only if you keep a positive mindset and reach for that phone in your pocket. Skeptics would say you’re delusional for making such a move, well I’d say, at least you’re living the dream.

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