One week ago we were getting ready to find out what Apple had in store for us…and it’s only now it’s starting to make some sense!
On the face of it, last Monday’s Scary Fast from Apple was just another event – or to be even more precise, it was just another Mac event.
As it turns out, the event’s name had as much to do with the speed with which Apple cracked through the event as it did with the more obvious link to the speeds on the new Macs.
There were a couple of firsts last Monday – it was the first nighttime event from Apple and the first time that they had launched a complete family of new silicon at a single event. We got it all M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max – the Ultra was the only silicon member missing, but as that is essentially two Max chips bonded together, the boffins out there can work out what we can expect when it does come along.
Apple playing a fast one
The range of Macs that benefited from the new silicon confused me a bit though – in fact, the release schedule this year has been odd. In January, normally a month where the tumbleweed blows through, we got M2 Pro & Max silicon in the Mac mini and MacBook Pros – both 14-inch and 16-inch.
Many believed that these Macs were due to be released in the fall of 2022 but the supply chain failed them – whatever, it was only 10 months ago that the MacBook lineup was refreshed but already those are outdated. In all of Apple’s history that must go down as one of the shortest durations of a range of Macs ever – and I think you’d have every reason to feel just a tad peeved if you bought a MacBook in January for it to be an ‘old’ model already. For some reason, there is the warm fuzzy feeling you get knowing that the Mac you are working on is the latest – tell me I am not alone in that! But unlike in January, this time there was no Mac mini as this time we got an iMac instead.
However, as odd as the release schedule has been, I still enjoyed the event – I know I seem to be almost the lone voice, but I loved the fact they cut the BS and just delivered us what we were there for. And yes, I did weaken and bought that M3 iMac which will be with me tomorrow – more of which later.
Over the weekend I re-watched the event (yes…I am that person) and also watched & read some other Apple press release videos and blogs too – and that is when it dawned on me what Apple had just done.
This wasn’t a Mac event – well at least not purely a Mac event but rather a cleverly disguised iPhone event.
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Let me explain
Last week’s earnings call was not setting a blaze and Apple seems to be fairly low-key about the upcoming holiday season forecasts as well. M2 turned out to be a damp squib and sales were not great. Prices have just been raised on services to bolster the bank accounts and sales of wearables have plateaued.
So, with all that in mind, what can Apple do to generate some income and keep their investors happy? The answer – push their best seller – iPhone – back into the limelight.
And last week, with one simple sentence at the end of the event Apple did just that, when they casually mentioned that the whole event had been edited on Mac and shot on iPhone everyone was buzzing.
Never one to miss a trick, Apple were quick in capitalising on the inevitable wave of interest that they damn well knew it would generate and had some BTS videos ready to devour on their YouTube channel. Like everyone else, I sat there watching it live and didn’t give it a second thought. It was just the typical, beautifully shot Apple event – the kind we’ve become accustomed to since lockdown. The lighting was awesome, and the transitions and drone shots were seamless. The editing, audio and soundtrack were all on point.
Okay – with hindsight and if you’ve watched the event as often as I have, then possibly there are one or two tale-tale signs that they weren’t using their normal Arri camera rig – but you’d still be hard-pressed.
Credit where credit’s due
I’ve read all the critics online saying that it’s not fair for Apple to say ‘shot on iPhone’ after watching the BTS (behind the scenes) videos.
Sure, I’ll be the first to admit that the term implies that it was just some guy standing there with an iPhone shooting Tim and the event – but come on… that’s not fair is it – surely?
This was a hugely important event made by the wealthiest company on earth. As with any production, it’s the people we don’t see or give credit to who are the actual stars of the show – the colourists, sound engineers, lighting technicians and cameramen – they are the ones who make these events pop and shimmer. To think that Apple could make this happen with a hand-held iPhone is just naive and ridiculous.
Yeah, sure, there were huge sky panels and downlights that cost around $25,000 each, purpose-adapted drones, one-off rigs and massive dollies with a crew that looked to number around 50 or 60. But that crew would have been on set to record this event had it been shot with a $100,000 Arri or the iPhone – so I don’t see how that argument holds up.
What everyone seems to be overlooking is that at the centre of all these rigs was an iPhone 15 Pro Max – no lenses, no bolt-ons, no clever Hollywood tricks just an iPhone 15 Pro Max – the same as the one sitting in front of me.
And that is where Apple has played a blinder.
I am kind of involved in the tech space and am meant to be wise to the clever marketing tricks that Apple gets up to – but you know what, this time I am more than happy to admit that they’ve got me hook, line and sinker this time.
What to do?
Since starting my YouTube channel cameras and filming have become a little bit of a passion and hobby for me.
I bought the 14 Pro last year with 1 TB of storage on it with the sole intention of using it to shoot video. As it happens just after that I bought a Canon 90D and have used that ever since. I am far from being any kind of expert – if anything I am just past being a rank beginner, but the art of videography has me hooked.
There is the old saying that good glass will always beat an iPhone – but you know what, I am starting to question that at the moment – and it’s all because of Apple’s clever stunt from last week.
I’ve spent all weekend thinking should I be using the 15 Pro Max instead of my Canon? The Canon is now 4 or 5 years old and was only ever an entry-level camera – all be it a good one. The improvement in quality on my channel was clear to see from the first video I used it for. The more I have gotten used to it, explored its features & functions and improved my lighting, the better results have got.
But…the iPhone is bang up-to-date tech, it shoots ProRes in the log profile and now that it shoots directly to an SSD I am thinking and wondering if it would give me better results than a basic DSLR camera.
I’ve watched numerous videos this past week from some of my favourite and respected creators saying this is the best camera a beginner can use right now for sub $3000 – so now I’m torn.
The perfect storm
With the M3 iMac arriving tomorrow – I have an obvious video to shoot this week and my creative brain has started to wonder if it would make sense for me to shoot the whole video on the 15 Pro Max and make it a complete Apple video.
Sure, I don’t have the knowledge and level of expertise of the assembled crew at Cupertino, but equally, I do have an idea of what I am doing. The video will be shot under good lights in a controlled environment with good audio. My go-to lens on the Canon for talking headshots is a ƒ2.8 24mm pancake lens – decent but nothing special. It does give me some depth of field which looks great, but I’m seriously tempted to try out the 24mm ƒ1.8 main camera on the 15 Pro Max.
I have a Samsung T7 SSD that I can shoot it directly onto and have bought some conversion LUTS ready for editing.
The final part of the jigsaw came to me over the weekend when I downloaded and started to play around with the Blackmagic Cam app. Interestingly, when I pulled back the curtains on Apple’s event this is the app they used to shoot Scary Fast with. The basic camera app offers very few options, but the Blackmagic app raises the bar of what can be achieved on the iPhone.
You can choose your FPS, whether to shoot with a shutter angle or lens speed, the ISO and white balance – from what I can see, it’s all there and the best bit is this app is free!
And although Apple said the event was edited on Mac – they didn’t say in Final Cut…surprisingly from what I can see it looks like they used a mixture of Premiere (which is what I edit in) and DaVinci for colouring.
So, tomorrow I have choices to make…should I make the jump and put my iPhone 15 Pro Max to work and lay the Canon down to one side – if only for this one week? Making a video about my new iMac gives me the perfect opportunity to go all in with Apple.
What do you think – should I make the jump? I have everything here I need, and if was good enough for Apple…
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