Shooting Unsane

Backstory-Shooting Unsane-Soderbergh

Inverse published this write-up on Steven Soderbergh’s use of an iPhone 7 Plus to shoot his latest feature, the psychological thriller Unsane. The article itself is a little lean on details and generally goes over the advantages of shooting with the smartphone such as the portability and reduction in time from creative impulse to execution. However, the article does detail he utilized 18mm, 60mm and fisheye lenses from Moment on three iPhones.

I personally utilize the 16mm and 60mm lenses for Indievisual related photography such as covering the Osaka Asian Film Festival. In 2017 I brought both my iPhone & Moment lenses in addition to my Nikon D90 with 50mm prime lens to cover the event. I found lugging the DSLR both unwieldly to use at the spur of the moment and burdensome when not in use. Had a brought my 18mm-105mm lens for wide and telephoto situations, the nuisance would have been doubled. This year, I only took my iPhone and Moment lenses which completely changed my experience. While I am still mastering the subtleties of each lens as well as the Moment app (which I hear will be undergoing drastic improvements soon), I was very satisfied with the photos I took of the event, the people, as well as Osaka while doing some sightseeing. More importantly, as the article mentions, the immediacy provided by the small footprint of the iPhone made shooting Q&A sessions as well as candid shots much easier. It’s also interesting to note how people tend to react to cameras pointed in there (general) direction. A DSLR or similar camera is usually met with suspicion followed by aversion–sometimes anger. People seem to be more accepting or at least unaffected by mobile phone cameras taking pictures in their vicinity thus making candid shots easier to take.

Of course, a DSLR will produce far higher spec results, but the point of the matter is the quality difference on the web is practically neglible. As I have already begun shooting portraits of people featured in the magazine with the iPhone, the DSLR is hardley ever touched these days. I’ll keep it for particular situations, but ultimately, I want to take my proficiency with Moment lenses to a level people will begin taking notice.

By the way, the folks at Moment seem to be taking iPhone cinematography quite seriously and have initiated a new Kickstarter campaign to help fund production of their new anamorphic lens. If you’re interested, take a look at the amazing results in the below video, then back the project (it met it’s funding goal in 41 minutes!!). I certainly don’t regret doing so to acquire my lenses.

Unsane making-of image via Fingerprint Releasing / Bleecker Street