(iPhone) video killed the DSLR

camera-iphone-6SQN’s Digital Marketing Executive Rob Horne @rch_93 talks about the shift in production value with the advent of iPhone 6 and other high-quality, small footprint cameras for capturing video. 

Mixing work with pleasure is something of a holy grail but when it comes to technology, it’s an absolute must. I’ve always been intrigued by the camera capabilities of newly launched smart phone products. As a graduate in media production and digital lead for a communications agency, I use cameras on a daily basis but it has been increasingly important for me to get the same high quality when I am taking video in my downtime.

I have come to accept – admittedly with some concern – that my iPhone 6 shoots better video and takes better pictures than my DSLR. Of course there is not as much control over the settings on my iPhone especially in terms of shutter speed and aperture, but is this really such a bad thing?

The point and shoot nature of smart phone cameras enables us to retain flexibility and capture fleeting moments instantly, but crucially with the same quality as if the moment has been staged. From a personal perspective, this taps nicely into the now established area of citizen journalism, but for work, it enables specialists to translate their creativity and skill in a more cost effective manner.

There will always be a place for high end production pieces – and that is where smart phone tech will retain limitations – bit for online purposes and social media campaigns, the rapid rise of smartphone tech can really drive down client costs. We are not trying to do ourselves out of a job by suggesting that anyone with a smartphone can do what we do, but professionals can showcase their talents across a broader spectrum of projects – from top end quality to more disposable social campaigns with shorter shelf life.  

The production team on US sitcom Modern Family have recently shown what can be achieved using smartphones and laptop cameras. The latest episode of the Sofia Vergara-fronted show was shot entirely using iPhone 6 and iPad air cameras, demonstrating the real potential that this tech now has. These are professionals who have used consumer tech to produce a full scale TV show seen by millions around the world. That’s certainly not to say anyone in the street could repeat that impressive feat but it could see the price of “higher level” production equipment fall which is a good thing for everyone in the production industry – and especially those that have to be very careful where and how much they invest.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAADiAAAAJDRhMjdkYzAxLTg0NGYtNDYzNC05MTM0LTcyMzIwY2ZmNDYxZgUltimately it is all about knowing what equipment to use where, and a more “professional” approach, like the one we at Sine Qua Non offer, will still be in order. I am sure we will soon be producing smartphone generated content (hopefully seen by as many as watch Modern Family!) where previously we have used DSLR cameras. Has smartphone tech killed the DSLR? Not quite, but it’s forcing us professionals to constantly refresh our offering – and that is a great thing for our existing and future clients.