Apple’s Scary Fast special event on October 30 was a showcase of innovation, including the new MacBook Pro with the M3 family of chips and the 24-inch iMac with M3. However, behind the scenes, there was another hero – the iPhone 15 Pro Max, a preferred choice for creative professionals and filmmakers. Renowned documentary film director Brian Oakes, celebrated for works like “Jim: The James Foley Story” and “Living with Lincoln,” directed the Scary Fast production with the iPhone 15 Pro Max taking center stage.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max is equipped with a camera system that rivals professional video cameras, making it an invaluable tool for creatives. It can capture ProRes video at up to 4K60 fps with Apple Log encoding, preserving intricate details for post-production color grading. Notably, it’s the first smartphone globally to support the Academy Color Encoding System (ACES), a standard for color workflows.
Oakes explained, “We were able to achieve complex shots with the iPhone 15 Pro Max. It offers everything needed to complement one’s vision or personality. The image quality of the iPhone democratizes access.”
Guidance for the production came from Apple‘s Jon Carr, a Pro Workflow video specialist with credits like “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Terminator: Dark Fate,” and Jeff Wozniak, known for productions including “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” “Avatar,” and “Iron Man 2.” Wozniak highlighted the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s ability to record ProRes to an external drive and support Apple Log, aligning it with high-end digital cameras.
Carr added, “It’s remarkable how you can put this in the hands of a professional director, and they don’t have to alter their equipment or routines.”
The production team harnessed multiple iPhone 15 Pro Max devices in conjunction with the Blackmagic Camera app and Tentacle Sync, ensuring seamless synchronization of timecode across all devices on the set. Additionally, Beastgrip accessories, such as cages and rigs, were utilized.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max’s new USB-C connector facilitated high-speed data transfer, supporting workflows like ProRes video recording directly to an external SSD drive. This allowed real-time footage review and adjustments. Moreover, the enhanced dynamic range enabled by Apple Log provided greater control and flexibility during post-production color grading.
Filming at Apple Park under the cover of night, Scary Fast showcased the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s improved low-light video performance. With ProRes Log encoding, it excelled in both high and low light conditions, offering superior dynamic range and enhanced flexibility for color grading.
Stefan Sonnenfeld, CEO of Company 3 and a distinguished colorist, lauded the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s image quality, emphasizing its capabilities.
The crew made use of the Blackmagic Camera app, an iOS exclusive, which provided digital film camera controls and Apple Log encoding support. Available for free on the App Store, the app facilitated access to the same tools used in feature films, television shows, and documentaries.
On set, traditional filming techniques, including drone use, were seamlessly combined with the iPhone 15 Pro Max to capture scenes featuring the new MacBook Pro. Oakes described the set as vibrant and lively, offering all the tools desired by filmmakers.
Reflecting on the iPhone’s versatility and ease of use, Sonnenfeld underscored its role in democratizing access to technology and information, making it accessible to professionals and novices alike.
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