When Canon first announced a DSLR Camera with video capture capabilities, Canon had no idea what kind of a monster they had unleashed. The first year of the 5D Mark II’s existence was riddled with firmware upgrades that never seemed to fully satisfy the needs of the market it had inadvertently created. Professional Cinematographers needed the system to be more capable and the consumers just wanted to have something they could understand. Canon listened and rather successfully accommodated everyone, considering it was merely a side option they had originally added for simple documentation purposes.
Now, with the recent Oscar win of the Documentary “Searching For Sugar Man” one of the biggest stories surfacing is the fact that some of the film was shot with an iPhone. Serious budget issues had left the filmmaker out of film, and out of money to buy more, so he turned to the only thing he could afford – the Smartphone App “8mm”. I had first heard of this App a little over a year ago when iPro Lens System’s 2X Tele lens was announced and Rodney Charters, ASC called me to inquire about the lens for use on an upcoming TV pilot he was working on. As he talked about the project he mentioned that he was using his iPhone for a few of the shots so that he could utilize the 8mm App. Before our conversation ended I had already uploaded it and now I love it!
For the Still Photographers Hipstamatic had been the catalyst for Pro Photographers to pick up their phones and start creating. They were drawn to the old square format and film-like color qualities that we have loved for decades. Then more apps came along to boost the Photog’s capabilities, such as Photo Shop Express, Camera +, and Almost DSLR. Soon the term “Phonography” started being used as more artists were using their Smartphones to create Digital Art. (See our previous Blog interview with Mark Hirsch.)
More and more I hear from friends, colleagues, and customers that they are using their phones for their projects because of the readiness of always having their phone with them and how budget conscious it can be. Most professionals scoff at the idea that a Phone can be a serious tool, but many artists are proving that with the combo of creativity and ingenuity you can produce a high quality and unique piece of art. As long as the Smartphone companies continue to develop the science for the Creative community, as Canon has, and as App developers bring us new tools, it will certainly be interesting to watch the expansion of Phoneography over the next few years.