iPHONE X VIDEOS: SHOOTING LIKE A PRO
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.