It’s a rare thing to have your movie screened and to be able to host a Q&A about it at an Alamo Drafthouse, so I decided to use my iPhone XS Max to try to capture my recent experience in Virginia. I wanted to see how the new smartphone held up to as a vlogging camera, especially without any of the other accoutrements I’d typically need to shoot something like this (e.g. external recorder, gimbal, etc.).
In making this, I developed a much greater appreciation of what it takes to shoot a good vlog (iJustine makes it look totally effortless). In particular, I don’t think I shoot enough b-roll to transition from location to location. I also just generally didn’t have enough coverage — I tried to make this as a one-man band, but there are definitely a few moments that could’ve benefited from alternate angles. Overall, I optimized for enjoying the evening rather than shooting as much as possible, and unfortunately I think that definitely shows in the final product.
That said, how did the iPhone XS Max fare? Not too bad. I think when you have a decent amount of light (e.g. outdoor), it’s a fantastic vlogging camera. The image is solid and it gives you decent normalized stereo audio. But in low light conditions and in most indoor situations, the phone’s camera jacks up the ISO and provides some pretty aggressive noise reduction. There’s lots of detail loss and the colors and skin tones don’t look great (See: how this camera is really different than the old one). Without a camera app that gives you manual control of the settings, it can even be difficult to use with a decent light — just compare the first and last shot of the above video.
For this specific situation, the XS Max worked out great. I could travel light and shoot quickly. But if I wanted something more professional looking and sounding, I’d definitely go with something with a larger sensor like an Sony RX100, Sony A6000-series, or a Fuji X-T-series, coupled with an external recorder. It makes a difference, particularly if you’re viewing the video on anything bigger than a mobile device.
- In my most recent entry, I linked to Alison Willmore’s review of A Star Is Born. For different perspectives on this film, I’d also recommend Britt Hayes’ review at Screencrush, as well as Lindsey Romain’s piece about it. Be sure to check out my Periscope broadcast with Lindsey about the film too.
- Angie Han thinks Gus Fring is the worst character on Better Call Saul. I’m hoping to share some of my thoughts soon on the show’s fourth season, which just came to a conclusion (overall, I thought it was great). But while I don’t fully feel the same way as Han, I think she captures one thing that’s been frustrating about the show: It often assumes providing us the origin story of a character or object in Breaking Bad carries dramatic weight in and of itself. Call it the Solo: A Star Wars Story Syndrome.
- For The Baffler, Soraya Roberts has written a critique of Hannah Gadbsy’s Nanette that is worth considering.
- I’m a little bit behind on reading this week due to traveling but I loved this Fast Company piece on Oxo’s vegetable peeler. It’s easy to forget a time when peelers were terrible and painful to use. The Oxo Swivel helped to change all that.