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29 January, 2017

Film and edit 4K Log footage on your iPhone

Just in time for my filmmaking visit to Cairo, Filmic Pro's COO Kevin Buonagurio sent me the super-secret beta of his company's flagship app.

I am here with a load of new 360° and cinematic MOJO gear to test.


This is the test footage - all of it shot and edited in iOS.

I am not allowed to share screengrabs of the actual app interface just yet, but let me assure you there are many great UIX upgrades in the beta of Filmic Pro.

Smart touches that make filming with a smartphone feel much more like operating a pro video camera.

One of the killer features is the ability to record in an Log gamma profile.

I know that sounds ultra-geeky, but bear with me.

This tech offers a way to capture more cinematic shots using just an iPhone. That is astounding.

This feature of offering a Log profile is something usually found only on much more expensive (and dedicated) cinema cameras.

It is the motion-picture parallel of a still photog's 'RAW' file format. A mode of filming that captures the maximum amount of information from a scene that gives you the maximum flexibility with color correction later in the edit suite.

Richard Lackey, an expert in these matters tells me "Non-linear encoding such as 'flat' or 'log' assigns values (from the sensor) unevenly. More steps or values are assigned to shadows and mids, and fewer to extreme highlights."

By way of comparison, shooting in "Linear is kind of the opposite, linear assigns values 0-255 perfectly evenly between black and 100% white."

I know this technical, but the approach is practical.

Filming in 'Log' is a great choice when filming a high-contrast scene because it allows you to capture a wider range of exposure information. Which means you can preserve more details from the highlight and shadow areas.

In this beta version of Filmic Pro, the developers offer a gamma curve called "Flat" and it is fantastic.

Note: Filming in this mode is a less than an ideal setting for filming in low-light scenes (because of noise) so keep that in mind.



I have filmed and directed several documentaries across Egypt with dedicated cameras before and it is safe to assume that the Cairo often presents a high-contrast lighting environment.

Desert environments are quite severe in many respects - and especially when it comes to natural light.

I have also been documenting my filming and editing process and will include the workflow in new tutorials in the Smart Film School. (once the app comes out of Beta!)

This cinematic scene was filmed with a beta version of the @FiLMiCPro app in the app's 'FLAT' gamma setting at 4K resolutions, 24 FPS, and with an Moondog Labs anamorphic lens and the digital (in-app) de-squeezing of the optical anamorphic compression.

The clips were graded on the iPhone using VideoGrade app and cut together with the Splice app.

Here is the the news: No laptop is needed to get this result.

(Of course, I did add a watermark and animated titles in FCPx before uploading this instructional edit)

Additional gear used: MoondogLabs anamorphic lens mounted to a Beastgrip Pro. K&M desktop mic stand, Røde micro mic, Oakley waterproof backpack.