Mashable shoot short 4K film with iPhone 6S Plus and DJI Ronin-M

By site editor Dan Chung:

Alan Haburchak from Mashable dropped us a line today to point out a new iPhone 6S Plus video that they have just posted. Keith Hopkin and Jon Lynn took the phone and used it mounted to a DJI Ronin-M brushless gimbal to create an entertaining short film, following a BMX cyclist doing some pretty impressive stunts. It was shot in 4K video at 30 frames per second (fps) and HD slow motion at 120fps.

Even allowing for YouTube’s poor 4K compression the iPhone seems to have held up quite well. They don’t say, but it looks like they used the default camera app and not FiLMiC Pro with its higher bitrates. There is no sign of ND filters or additional lenses either and it would be interesting to have seen just how much of a difference these would have made to the motion.

You can read more about how they did it here.

Mashable are not the only online news organisation to have been using the iPhone 6S. RYOT had early access to the phones to shoot the piece below using a DJI drone, Ikan handheld stabiliser and a 35mm adapter with SLR lenses. The results are fairly impressive.

It’s fun to see the iPhone being used with gear like the DJI Ronin-M, but as I’ve said before, this kind of production isn’t the iPhone’s strength. Yes, the results are impressive – but if you can afford to rent or buy a MoVI, then you can certainly get hold of a Sony a7S or GH4 instead. Why make life complicated for yourself by shooting on a phone? Indeed, the iPhone isn’t cheaper than a good 4K compact like the Panasonic LX100 and the excellent Sony RX10 II is just a little more than the top end iPhone 6S Plus. In the behind the scenes video below the guy from RYOT describes the 4K footage from the 6S with 35mm adapter as being “just as good as some of the footage we are getting out of really high-end more expensive cameras” – I’m not sure which cameras he is talking about but from a technical standpoint the 6S just doesn’t beat a GH4 or a7R II.

Where the iPhone excels is as a spur-of-the-moment camera to grab fleeting shots. It is also good for shoots where you need to keep a low profile or for extremely sensitive subjects where the presence of anything that even looks like a camera could endanger your ability to shoot (or even the people you’re filming). It’s also the camera you have in your pocket for any breaking news that might happen right in front of you. The ability to stream video reports live from the iPhone is becoming almost routine at some broadcasters – although the new 6S and 6S Plus don’t really offer much improvement when used this way, as the resolutions are usually low for bandwidth reasons.

I’m sure that these two iPhone movies will enjoy some high audience figures in the coming days. That’s great for the content creators, but when the dust settles, I expect we’ll start to see some more hard-hitting journalism from users of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.

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