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  • Writer's pictureCJ

MV's & iPhones

So what do Olivia Rodrigo, NewJeans, and Lady Gaga have in common? That would be a MV filmed entirely on an iPhone. That's right, that tiny little computer in your pocket you use to browse reddit and TikTok is actually perfectly capable as a camera, and with the right tools and techniques it can look almost as good as a more professional camera.

I really want to emphasize that "right tools and techniques" part. This isn't like Olivia asked her friend to follow her around a park with a cracked iPhone 5 that hasn't been cleaned in a year. No, there was money poured into these music videos. Lighting, costumes, sets, props, and a heavy dose of VFX (rotoscoping for ). Go take a quick look at the 'get him back' MV for me, I'll wait.

Ok you've watched it hopefully and I know what you're going to say. IT WAS BLURRY AND SHAKY, it's not exactly the clean vibe I was expecting and ... well yeah you're right. I don't think Apple made the right choice choosing Olivia to get their point across. Her grunge/indie aesthetic makes sense to be shot on an iPhone. She has this DIY vibe about her so no one can be super shocked that it was filmed on a phone... speaking of super...

NewJeans of 'Super Shy' fame released their MV for 'ETA' in partnership with Apple last year. Not only did they use the iPhone to shoot but they cleverly incorporated the UI design into the story.

There's no mention of anything other than the 3rd party waterproof case and professional editing being used. The Apple commercial for it even makes it look just that easy, but we know it's not. Something we can take from both of these videos though is spectacle and movement. Most of the shots are fast, a lot is going on, and flying plates and confetti are pretty exciting and distracting. Smoke and haze is a bit overdone these days but definitely think about what to incorporate things like this. Bubbles anyone? (Or if you're in Vancouver like me, it is cherry blossom season so get out there quick before the petals turn into brown mush on the side of the road!)

Lady Gaga released 'Stupid Love' in 2020 with its own iPhone video. A hundred dancers, amazing, costumes, a set that looks like you just traveled to the Hellfire Peninsula... this video is DRAMATIC and has the style of Power Rangers, Y2K, and Sailor Moon. Again, another great music video shot on a phone and a $100K budget.

So I guess the moral of the story is that yes, you can film a great music video on an iPhone, and an even better one with a huge budget for all the gimbals, and rigs, and lights, etc. But what do I know? I deal with music videos but making them is out of my depth, so this time I'm giving you homework.

If you're really going to try this you need some help from the experts and in this case it's Jordan Orme. He breaks down popular music videos and shows you how and why things are done. Check out his breakdown of 'ETA'.

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