iphonematteI was going to run a little April Fools gag this year, and never got round to it: basically, put an iPhone into a full 15mm rails system with a nice big matte box and 35mm DoF adaptor, as the ultimate cinema verite rig. And of course Alex Lindsay has done just that in the latest edition of MacBreak: http://www.pixelcorps.tv/macbreak227.

But it has got me seriously thinking about the iPhone as a video device.

Sure there’s better cameras (video and stills), there are better cameras on phones, but here is a device that trims and publishes as well as shoots. But if it were to roll several trimmed clips together… That’s going to be quite a killer feature. There have been devices that purport to edit clips ‘in camera’ but frankly it’s been too painful to get beyond a proof of concept. But tie in a cut-down version of iMovie into a device that you slip into a pocket, and you’ll be more tempted to polish and publish little video postcards than ever before. IMovie is great and very quick, but you still feel like you’re starting a mega project as you ingest your footage and scan through your rushes.

Often a snap is transformed by a little cropping, some finesse with the levels and perhaps even a caption. A video that contains an Establishing Shot, a master shot, some cutaways, and a couple of captions and even a voiceover, is a programme. Not a very complex programme, but completely watchable. Which is the crux.

Sometimes the enemy of good is ‘better’ – when we lose the plot and get hung up on production values and gear and everything, when the moment is now. Transient. Fleeting. You can shoot it on a little solid state mini camcorder, but then you’re in search of a laptop to download it to, and a power outlet to feed it whilst you edit. Meanwhile, the iPhone movie has been topped and tailed and is working its way up to YouTube (albeit slowly via 3G).

I’m not going to sell my EX1 and start making movies on an iPhone. But I still think that this could be a new genre of film making. The sort of ‘Bar Camp’ to the usual ‘Moscone Keynote’.

Well, that’s my excuse for buying a 3GS. What’s yours?

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