Unfortunately, most of the past seems to be lost on humankind and we seldom use the past to look forward to what may be coming (for good or otherwise). Not that long ago creating video content was expensive and complicated. Today, there just isn’t much you cannot do with a Mac and an iPhone.
Past. Present. Future.
Last week I read about film producer and director Steve Soderbergh.
He is best known for directing Hollywood films including the crime comedy Out of Sight (1998), the biographical film Erin Brockovich (2000), the crime drama film Traffic (2000) (for which he won the Academy Award for Best Director), the 2001 remake of the comedy heist film Ocean’s Eleven and its two sequels—known collectively as the Ocean’s Trilogy, the medical thriller Contagion (2011), the comedy-drama Magic Mike (2012), and another heist comedy, Logan Lucky (2017).
Soderbergh also produced two highly acclaimed films using an iPhone. Soderbergh:
I’d have to have a pretty good reason not to be thinking about that first… There’s a philosophical obstacle a lot of people have about the size of the capture device. I don’t have that problem. I look at this as potentially one of the most liberating experiences that I’ve ever had as a filmmaker, and that I continue having. The gets that I felt moment to moment were so significant that this is, to me, a new chapter.
Why would an acclaimed and successful Hollywood producer-director want to shoot movies on an iPhone? It’s that good. When it comes to creating video content, a Mac and an iPhone are two exceedingly powerful devices that come with all the tools you need to get started (other than a decent microphone).
An an example, the iPhone X captures video in 4K; a resolution not found in broadcasting these days, despite 4K HDR televisions being all the rage. A Mac comes with Garageband for audio production and iMovie for video production, and while it’s likely Soderbergh uses more professional gear to edit his iPhone movies, both are extremely capable applications, and combined with an iPhone, can produce video content for a few thousand dollars that exceeds what was capable a few decades ago with hundreds of thousands of dollars.
An iPhone and a Mac can produce video that rivals professional gear with price tags we cannot imagine. What hasn’t changed, of course, are the basics. Writing, lighting, and acting. And sound. The microphones on iPhone and Mac are not sufficient for Soderbergh-like results, but a few hundred dollars yields a massive improvement in audio capture.
Video production in the past was expensive and complicated. Today, high quality video production is available to hundreds of millions of Mac and iPhone users who simply need to learn the technology and the techniques. We have the tools already. What of tomorrow?
It may not be more than a decade or two before we’re able to record audio and video of every waking moment, and have apps with artificial intelligence edit the day’s activities to a more easily digested version for future reference.
That’s an enormous amount of power and capability in a few small devices. Will humans be able to use them for good? For that, I worry. The information superhighway was intended to advance the good in humanity. The misinformation superhighway it has become seems to have moved in the opposite direction.