iPHONE X VIDEOS: SHOOT­ING LIKE A PRO

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With such up to date tech­nolo­gies, the fact that iPhones have al­most com­pletely re­placed stand­alone video cam­eras has come as no sur­prise. How­ever, many con­tinue to ar­gue that you can still dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween a video that’s been shot on a phone and one that’s been shot with the ded­i­cated pol­ish of a DSLR, for ex­am­ple. While that may be partly true, the rea­son that iPhone videos ap­pear lack­lus­ter is largely down to bad habits.

In the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of the iPhone X launch tech blogs were un­der­stand­ably flooded with ‘iPhone X cam­era ver­sus [in­sert de­vice here]’ ar­ti­cles. Re­gard­less, does a re­view such as this re­ally demon­strate the true ca­pa­bil­i­ties of what a cam­era can do when it’s put in the hands of some­one who knows what they’re do­ing? With only a few tips, tricks, apps, and ac­ces­sories, you’d be sur­prised at the level of cine­matic ex­cel­lence you can achieve.

MOVIES IN­DIS­TIN­GUISH­ABLE FROM CIN­EMA

The iPhone hasn’t ex­actly been a stranger to the cin­ema in re­cent years. Late last year it was an­nounced that Stever Soder­bergh, the Os­car-win­ning di­rec­tor be­hind Ocean’s Eleven and Traf­fic, would make his re­turn to the big screen with a film shot en­tirely on Ap­ple’s most pop­u­lar prod­uct. The film, ti­tled Un­sane, is a psy­cho­log­i­cal hor­ror in which an un­sta­ble bank em­ployee (Claire Foy) is trapped in a men­tal fa­cil­ity against her will. On shoot­ing with an iPhone, Soder­bergh claimed that it is “the fu­ture” and that “Any­one go­ing to see this movie with­out any idea of the back­story to the pro­duc­tion will have no idea this was shot on

the phone.” Many crit­ics have hailed Un­sane as Soder­bergh’s best movie to date, whether this is be­cause of his ex­per­i­men­ta­tion with the iPhone or not, is still up for de­bate.

Mov­ing for­ward – while there were plenty of videos demon­strat­ing the 4K video ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the iPhone X in the run-up to its launch, there were videog­ra­phers that didn’t shy away from putting it to the test. One in­cluded Tris­tan Pope, who cre­ated the three­minute short movie Smoke and Mir­ror­less. This no-frills set up puts to ques­tion whether you can make a “real” video with an iPhone X. On the movie, Pope said: “To me, the 240FPS on iPhone has al­ways been a huge tool in my arse­nal of equip­ment. To achieve these frame rates on any other cam­era would A: be very ex­pen­sive and B: be a large for­mat cam­era. To have this in the palm of your hand has al­ways been the big­gest draw to mo­bile film-mak­ing for me.”

Sim­i­larly is an­other three-minute short film that fol­lows the life of a French pas­try chef. Aptly ti­tled Made in Paris, this one was shot by pho­tog­ra­pher Ryan Earl and film­maker Nick Ar­civos of Am­ne­siArt who pro­duced, cre­ated, and edited the film in only four days, en­tirely on an iPhone X.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, the iPhone X is bet­ter at pre­vi­ous mod­els than record­ing 4K videos. When it was com­pared with the Pana­sonic GH5, a cam­era that de­liv­ers DSLR per­for­mance, it was able to de­liver an on par ex­pe­ri­ence al­though the GH5 still out­per­formed on tasks such as zoom­ing in and low-light con­di­tions.

THE FU­TURE OF MO­BILE GAM­ING

Mo­bile gam­ing is big busi­ness. Smart­phone gam­ing apps ac­count for $50 bil­lion of the $115 bil­lion gam­ing mar­ket, with 80% of all App Store rev­enue com­ing from gam­ing re­leases alone. It all started back in 1997 when Nokia shipped the Snake game with its mo­bile phones, and ever since, con­sumers have been look­ing for new ways to re­lax and un­wind with a new gam­ing dis­trac­tion.

For Ap­ple, gam­ing is one of the big­gest sell­ing points for its iPhone and iPod Touch ranges, with the Cu­per­tino firm reg­u­larly de­vel­op­ing more ad­vanced hard­ware de­signed to take gam­ing to the next level. But de­spite su­per­pow­er­ful A11 chips and new de­vel­op­ments in aug­mented re­al­ity, PC gam­ing is still king, with new ti­tles such as Far Cry 5, Mon­ster Hunter: World and State of De­cay 2 dom­i­nat­ing this year’s gam­ing head­lines.

For mo­bile gam­ing to catch up, it needs to of­fer cross-plat­form game­play, sim­i­lar to the block­buster suc­cess of Fort­nite, which is avail­able to play on iOS, PlayS­ta­tion 4, Xbox One, Mi­crosoft Win­dows, and macOS. The mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar suc­cess of the ri­val Fort­nite game, which has al­lowed one suc­cess­ful gam­ing streamer to make $500,000 a month, has opened up new pos­si­bil­i­ties for bet­ter re­la­tions be­tween PC and mo­bile gam­ing - and Steam could be the bridge be­tween the two.

Valve, the $4 bil­lion com­pany be­hind Steam, re­cently sent a new app, Steam Link, to the iOS App Store - but after it was ini­tially ap­proved by Ap­ple, the firm made the de­ci­sion to re­ject it. To­day, we’re delv­ing deeper into the

Ap­ple-Steam re­la­tion­ship and ask­ing whether a com­pany tie-up could change how we play video games for­ever.

HOW AP­PLE TRANS­FORMED THE MO­BILE GAM­ING MAR­KET

Since the in­tro­duc­tion of the App Store al­most ten years ago, gam­ing has played a huge role in Ap­ple’s iOS ecosys­tem. Games like An­gry Birds, Clash of Clans, Flappy Bird and more re­cently Poke­mon Go have all made mil­lions of dol­lars and spawned movies and mer­chan­dise, bring­ing ca­sual gamers to the fore­front. On­line gam­ing, once con­sid­ered for nerds and geeks, was now ‘cool’ and the ‘in thing’.

Ap­ple was unique in that it gave de­vel­op­ers easy ac­cess to its plat­form and full use of users’ pow­er­ful touch-screen hard­ware. Un­like PC gam­ing, Ap­ple’s closed-off ap­proach meant de­vel­op­ers were de­sign­ing soft­ware for just one de­vice - ev­ery­one had the same specs and ca­pa­bil­i­ties, so games could be op­ti­mized to max­i­mize play and de­liver the ul­ti­mate ex­pe­ri­ence.

In fact, Ap­ple was con­sid­ered so ahead of its com­peti­tors, An­droid and Win­dows, that many pre­dicted the firm would launch their own con­sole to com­pete with Mi­crosoft and Sony, but these ru­mors never lead to any­thing con­crete.

In the early days of smart­phone gam­ing, the App Store was the place to be. The Store of­fered just 500 apps on launch but man­aged to boast an in­cred­i­ble 100 mil­lion down­loads in the first three months alone. That fig­ure grew and grew as new apps, like Tap Tap

Re­venge and Sega’s Su­per Mon­key Ball were re­leased. And from there, the mo­bile gam­ing rev­o­lu­tion was born.

Freemium gam­ing apps have changed the way de­vel­op­ers think about their prod­ucts, al­low­ing them to in­vest mil­lions of dol­lars in free-to-play games. As well as in-app ad­ver­tis­ing, Ap­ple’s in-app pur­chases op­tion means that de­vel­op­ers can charge for add-ons, time-sav­ing fea­tures, and other nice-to-have ben­e­fits, while the core func­tion­al­ity of the game can re­main free for all play­ers. This ap­proach to busi­ness is vastly dif­fer­ent from old-fash­ioned PC games, that were reg­u­larly sold in boxes for up­wards of $50. Now, con­sumers can try out a game for free and re­move it as soon as they want - there’s no need to in­vest or feel short-changed.

But the big­gest thing that Ap­ple brought to mo­bile gam­ing was the masses. In quar­ter one of 2011, Ap­ple sold an im­pres­sive 15 mil­lion iPhones; but by quar­ter two of 2016, the com­pany had sold 51.19 mil­lion.

Tim Sweeney, CEO and of Epic Games, said Ap­ple was partly re­spon­si­ble for bring­ing “3.5 bil­lion new com­put­ing de­vice own­ers into the mar­ket in the form of smart­phones and tablets and bil­lions of new gamers” and added that it was “one of the great­est events in the his­tory of the game in­dus­try.”

STEAM HAS REV­O­LU­TION­IZED PC GAM­ING

While Ap­ple has played its role in revo­lu­tion­iz­ing mo­bile gam­ing, Steam has done a sim­i­lar job for gam­ing on the Mac and PC. De­vel­oped by the Valve Cor­po­ra­tion and re­leased in 2013,

the idea of the plat­form is to pro­vide gamers a ‘hub’ to buy and down­load new re­leases to their com­put­ers. And it worked; to­day, the plat­form is used by more than 67 mil­lion gamers.

As well as part­ner­ing up with big gam­ing houses to re­lease games, the com­pany’s Steam Green­light ser­vice al­lows in­die de­vel­op­ers to sub­mit early beta ver­sions of their games to give users the abil­ity to beta test new games and fea­tures. Not only does this im­prove de­vel­op­ergamer re­la­tions, but it helps small busi­nesses make their first steps in the gam­ing mar­ket.

One of the big­gest ben­e­fits of Steam over other on­line gam­ing op­tions is the price. Be­cause games can be down­loaded and up­dated right from within the Steam app, there’s no need for a phys­i­cal CD or DVD, so pro­duc­tion and re­tail costs can be low. Award-win­ning Mid­dle-earth: Shadow of Mor­dor, for ex­am­ple, is of­fered on Steam at 60% off its orig­i­nal RRP - a con­sid­er­able dis­count. It’s just one of the rea­sons why Steam now con­trols an es­ti­mated 70% of the PC gam­ing mar­ket.

As well as price, Steam al­lows users to down­load games on what­ever de­vices they choose. The has­sle of in­stalling your fa­vorite game on a new com­puter is no more, as Steam will port over progress and achieve­ments that you’ve made, so long as you have an in­ter­net con­nec­tion.

And an­other rea­son why Steam has in­no­vated the mar­ket is its com­mu­nity. With tools de­signed to in­ter­act with other gamers, and an im­pres­sive Work­shop fea­ture that al­lows de­vel­op­ers and ama­teurs to cre­ate mods and add-ons for their fa­vorite sand­box games, there’s noth­ing quite like Steam.

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