Dark and moody … an image from the music video Dark Waves shot entirely on the iPhone.

IF you were given the job of shooting a movie in the ocean, your first step would probably be to grab a waterproof camera.

Los Angeles-based filmmaker Sven Dreesbach instead reached for his iPhone 6S.

Dreesbach partnered with Robot Koch & Delhia de France to create a music video for their song Dark Waves, which recently featured in the mid-season finale of the hit show How to Get Away with Murder, to create a moody film full of slow-motion shots of the power of the ocean.

For Dreesbach, choosing to shoot a film which was largely in the water came down to two factors: it would be cheaper using his phone, and easier.

“I got excited about the latest generation of iPhones when I heard about their improvements in capturing video,” he said.

Apple’s latest smartphone lets you shoot 120 frames per second in full 1080p HD video which, as Dreesbach said, “can be a really pricey way to shoot usually.”

“Obviously there are limitations compared to professional cameras, but the flexibility is hard to beat, besides the fact that owning the entire hardware needed would still be cheaper than renting a professional camera system which I would have needed for a single day.”

If you’re thinking of shooting your own ocean-based video with your iPhone, the first step is to think again — or at least get a waterproof phone for your case.

Needing something more than a basic tough case, Dreesbach used a Watershot Inc professional underwater housing for smartphones, and took his land-based video to the next level with a Beastgrip camera cage that lets you attach conventional SLR lenses onto the front of a smartphone.

“If there’s anything I really like about the iPhone next to its overall flexibility, it’s the nearly infinite amount of (compressed) video that you can take with it,” Dreesbach said.

When shooting with a normal film camera, Dreesbach would usually have a stack of batteries on hand to replace them as they went flat. Shooting with the iPhone with a non-replaceable battery, he had his charger close at hand and a second iPhone for when he ran out of juice.

“Obviously due to its compressed nature the video footage captured by the iPhone hasn’t much dynamic range, but the images it renders natively are very strong,” he said.

“There’s not much room, but also not necessarily much need for extensive colour grading luckily. The main trick to achieve a look like in Dark Waves for example is simply de-saturating the images.”


By Adam