If "the best camera is the one that's with you," then you always have a pretty damn good camera if you own an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus. To give you more options than Apple provides, Filmic has just released a beta version of its Pro app that lets you shoot 4K video in a "log" or flat profile, a feature found on pricey cinema cameras like the Red Weapon. Filmmaker Matteo Bertoli got his hands on it and showed exactly why you'd want video output that, at first, looks fairly drab (above, top). The idea is that you can then adjust the video so that it really pops (above, bottom) without losing details in the shadows and highlights.
"Of course the footage will look weird at the beginning, but this is totally normal," wrote Bertoli in PetaPixel. "Once we start grading the clips in post production we'll be able to apply a look-up table (LUT) ... [and] capture those details in the shadows and in the highlights that would otherwise be lost."
To prove his point, Bertoli shot 4K test footage in downtown Salt Lake City using the beta log profile and produced one of the more filmic looking iPhone videos you'll ever see. At the same time, he made the original, ungraded footage available for download, so you can see the stark difference with the original and try some color correction tricks yourself.
The main problem with the app, he said, was that the darker areas of the image tended to be noisy, so he had to "crush" the blacks (reduce to a single black tone) to avoid it. "This happened probably because the app is still a beta or maybe just because the sensor on a phone is super small," he said. "What is sure is that you will notice way more noise shooting log on any camera."
That's a fairly small quibble, though, and as mentioned, the app is still in beta for now. Mainly, if you're a student filmmaker with an iPhone 7, the app will let you "experiment in post production without spending a fortune for a camera," Bertoli wrote. There's no date for when the feature is coming, but Filmic Pro wrote on Twitter that it's "coming soon ... stay tuned for the official release announcement."