That didn’t take long: As Apple’s latest iPhone models went on sale around the world Friday, a small independent media company released what it claims is the first documentary film shot on the new iPhone 6s Plus in 4K Ultra HD resolution.
Working with Apple, L.A.-based RYOT used the faster smartphones, which feature 12-megapixel cameras, to produce “The Painter of Jalouzi,” the story of Duval, a man in one of the largest slums in Haiti who together with the help of neighbors paints bright colors all over town in an effort to lift the spirits of the impoverished community.
Typically, capturing video in 4K has required far more expensive gear that’s much bulkier than an iPhone. RYOT co-founders David Darg and Bryn Mooser used the 6.8-ounce iPhone 6s Plus phones (which retail starting at $300 with a two-year carrier contract) to capture their footage in less than one week. They did, however, use a special lens attachment and tripod for some shots.
The 5 minute, 39 second film — available in 2160p resolution on YouTube — demonstrates “the great ability to tell a story miles away with just the telephone in your pocket,” the RYOT team said. The company has 40 employees in Los Angeles, with more than 100 correspondents worldwide.
YouTube way back in 2010 launched support for 4K Ultra HD video, which provides 3840 by 2160 pixels of resolution — four times the resolution of standard 1080p HD. To get the full effect of YouTube 4K videos, users must have a high-resolution monitor capable of rendering the video as well as a PC that supports the VP9 codec Google now uses for Ultra HD.
The use of smartphones by filmmakers isn’t a new phenomenon, but they’re still rarely used in professional movie productions. At the Sundance Film Festival this past January, Sean Baker premiered “Tangerine,” a dramedy about two transgender prostitutes, revealing that he shot the low-budget movie entirely on an iPhone 5s.
Watch the short film here: