'Tangerine' filmmaker shoots entire movie with iPhone

Sandy Kenyon Image
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
'Tangerine' filmmaker shoots entire movie with iPhone
Sandy Kenyon has the story.

NEW YORK -- The mean streets of Los Angeles and edgy subject matter seem like the perfect way to answer the question: Could an entire feature film be made using an iPhone?

Well one filmmaker, Sean Baker, took the task for heart for his latest movie, called "Tangerine."

"There were doubts across the board," he said. "Not only did I have to convince my cast and crew this was the way to go, I had to convince myself."

"Tangerine" is Baker's fifth feature, and he admits shooting on a smartphone felt like a step backwards, until he realized the small size of the device was actually an advantage.

"I hope it gives the film an energy, a vibrancy," he said. "Something we wouldn't have been able to capture with a huge 35-millimeter camera."

The story of a transgender prostitute was shot with a small mount to steady the phone, a wide-screen adaptor that slips over the lens and an app that anyone can buy for about $8.

"It really just has a bunch of bells and whistles that allow you to capture video footage at a better quality," Baker said.

A sound person was required, but Baker kept his crew to a minimum and did much of the shooting himself, some of it from his bike.

"A lot of the benefits of the iPhone revealed themselves to us as we were shooting," he said. "So I realized we could get very fluid shots."

And the way it was shot also has big implications for the future.

"Where people don't even have to raise a dollar," Baker said. "They can take their iPhone out, try something and see if it works."